Not the Proms: Dude and Yuja will premiere Adams at Edinburgh

Not the Proms: Dude and Yuja will premiere Adams at Edinburgh


norman lebrecht

March 27, 2019

It has been released overnight that the European premiere of John Adams’ new piano concerto, Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes?, will be given this summer by the LA Phil at the opening of the Edinburgh Festival,with Yuja Wang as soloist.

This is a significant F-U to the BBC Proms, which would normally have been given first refusal on a major premiere.

For Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil, it will be their third visit to the Edinburgh Festival. Additionally, Twenty musicians from Dudamel’s signature program YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) and YOLA National (students from diverse regions across the U.S.) will be joining the LA Phil in Edinburgh, participating in a cultural exchange with 60 young musicians from Big Noise Raploch, Sistema Scotland, which will culminate in an open rehearsal conducted by Gustavo Dudamel (August 4). This will be the first time that members of YOLA National will have joined the orchestra on tour.


  • Alexander says:

    “This is a significant F-U to the BBC Proms, which would normally have been given first refusal on a major premiere” – is anyone hinting on the UK collapse or what ? and Yuja as a new Maria Stuarda 😉

    • Viola da Bracchio says:

      The BBC Proms has long since ceased to be a major festival. Major international orchestras are no longer programmed, major new works aren’t commissioned any longer. They stopped promoting concert performances of ‘Proms opera’ works (major pieces which are too costly to stage) The schedule is filled out with conveyer-belt pot-boilers you could hear at the RAH on any other night… Tchaik PC 1, the dull round of LvB and Brahms symphonies, ‘Elvira Madigan’, etc.

      It’s only the old baldies among us who remember Gruber’s Frankenstein!!!, Les Troyens, The Ring, Monteverdi’s Orfeo, Glagolitic Mass, the Mask of Orpheus…

      …. all works that would frighten-off Tarquin & Clarissa from the merchant bank, who just wanted to wave a Union Jack and sing Rule Britannia…

      • Derek says:

        I don’t agree that top international orchestras are no longer programmed. Last season included –

        Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, London Symphony, Budapest Festival, The Philharmonia, St Cecilia, Suisse Romande, Minnesota, Baltimore, Bergen, Rotterdam orchestras as well as most of the other top British orchestras.

      • Edward says:

        This is rather factually inaccurate. Unless you don’t consider the Berlin / Vienna Philharmonics, Boston Symphony etc. major orchestras. There was a stupendous Ring from Barenboim 5 or so years ago. Bychkov did a great Elektra too. Sure, there’s been an increase in “popular” shows – broadway, Dr Who (?!) etc. but let’s not forget the amazing stuff that still exists at the Proms. Baby, bathwater etc.

        • Viola da Bracchio says:

          [[ from Barenboim 5 or so years ago ]]

          As you say – ‘years ago’. The new regime who are programming the Proms have opted studiously for mainsteam potboiler works, enormously less modern music, and greatly downscaled the new commissions (in both number and scope).

          It’s no longer a festival – it’s just a load of concerts placed end-to-end, which isn’t the same.

          [[ but let’s not forget the amazing stuff that still exists at the Proms ]]

          But you have. You’ve forgotten to mention it.

      • fflambeau says:

        “Major international orchestras are no longer programmed [at the BBC Proms]”

        Sorry, that’s factually wrong. I remember the Minnesota Orchestra (with Osmo Vänskä), the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (with Marin Alsop), the Bergen Philharmonic (with a new violin concerto), the Berlin Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra and others and that is just from one year. The Proms are great and so is Edinburgh.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Viola: “Major international orchestras are no longer programmed”

        Actually, overseas orchestras only began appearing in the 1960s (mainly Russian radio orchestras), and even in the 1970s there were years with no foreign orchestras. In the 1980s usually there were only 2-3 orchestras. It is only around 20-25 years ago that the Proms started to invite a lot of foreign orchestras to attend each year, and the number has been pretty fixed ever since.

        As for content, there is much more variety now than there has ever been before. As well as all the traditional concerts it has always done, now there are additional “popular” concerts. It still does one-or-two semi-staged operas. The one thing that has gone (thankfully), is the one-day-each-week devoted to Beethoven and the one-day-each-week devoted to bleeding chunks of Wagner.

        It is easy to Romantisize the past, but the Proms are much better now than they have ever been before.

    • Dave says:

      I blame Brexit

  • Schoenberglover says:

    The same artists are playing the same Concerto on the 18th of November at the Barbican. May be they didn’t want to do two performances of the same work in London in a short period of time?

  • Philippa Ballard says:

    ==This is a significant F-U to the BBC Proms,

    Surely this is conjecture ?

  • muslit says:

    Will Yuja come out naked?

  • Geoff says:

    In the current edition of The New Yorker, Alex Ross reviews the Adams concerto at its premier in LA with the same participants.
    “Adam stares into the storm”

  • Angela says:

    It would be a blow to the BBC Proms *if* the BBC were a co-commissioner of the work since premiere rights typically go with participation in a commission. But the LAPhil is the sole commissioner here (and they’re evidently performing some of the various regional premieres themselves as part of touring that will take in Tokyo, Edinburgh, London and other places).

  • John Borstlap says:

    According to my fly on the wall, somewhere at 13′ into the score the pianist has to take some of her clothes off. That’s where the best tune of the piece sets in, hence the devil reference.

    • Ben says:

      Funny indeed.

      Look at her hand… it looks more like “here’s my breast, in case you are a horny old man who couldn’t see clearly” rather than “from the bottom of my heart” (the hand would be placed lower)