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Council: Gabriel Kahane & Pekka Kuusisto

In partnership with Liquid Music

Tuesday, May 7, 7:30PM

Parkway Theater

After nearly a decade of musical friendship, it seems only fitting that the iconic Finnish musician Pekka Kuusisto and cult American singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane have formalized their collaboration under the moniker Council. Now, they present an evening of intimate and sonically varied songs & chamber music, written during several writing retreats in Northern Karelia and Portland, Oregon.

With this new body of work, Kuusisto & Kahane attempt to locate the universal in the personal, and vice versa: here are stories of individual and collective grief; of nostalgia, adolescence, and memory-play; of the joy, wonder, and perplexity of fatherhood in an era of global instability. As they explore and deepen their own friendship on stage, these two relentlessly searching artists offer a musical tapestry depicting the complexities of life in the 21st century.

The program is rounded out with music by, among others, J.S. Bach and Nico Muhly.
Pekka Kuusisto – violin, voice, harmonium, four-string electric guitar, loops, electronics
Gabriel Kahane – piano, voice, electric & acoustic guitars, harmonium, loops

Presented in partnership with

Gabriel Kahane is a musician and storyteller whose work increasingly exists at the intersection of art and social practice. Hailed as “one of the finest songwriters of the day” by The New Yorker, he is known to haunt basement rock clubs and august concert halls alike, where you’ll likely find him in the green room double-fisting coffee and a book.

He has released four albums as a singer-songwriter, including, most recently, the intimate Book of Travelers (Nonesuch Records), which Rolling Stone called “a stunning portrait of a singular moment in America.” As a composer, he has been commissioned by many of America’s leading arts institutions, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the Public Theater—which in 2012 presented his musical February House.

In 2019, Kahane was named the inaugural Creative Chair for the Oregon Symphony, following the premiere in Portland of his oratorio emergency shelter intake form—a work that explores inequality in America through the lens of housing issues. The piece was released as an album in March of 2020, and is scheduled for performance by half a dozen other American orchestras in the coming years.

Violinist, conductor, and composer Pekka Kuusisto is renowned for his artistic freedom and fresh approach to repertoire. Kuusisto is Artistic Director of the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor & Artistic Co-Director: Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra from the 2023/24 season. He is also Artistic Partner with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, a Collaborative Partner of the San Francisco Symphony, and Artistic Best Friend of Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.

In the 2022/23 season Kuusisto debuted with Berliner Philharmoniker and performed with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. He returned to orchestras such as The Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco, and Cincinnati symphony orchestras, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, and Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Kuusisto makes his debuts as a conductor with the Philharmonia, and Gothenburg symphony orchestras. He is also Sinfonieorchester Basel’s Artist-in-Residence with whom he appears as conductor, soloist, and recitalist.

As a conductor, recent highlights include appearances with Helsinki Philharmonic, Saint Paul Chamber, and European Union Youth orchestras, the Concertgebouworkest, and Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, hr-Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt, Orchestre de chambre de Paris, and Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

“Kahane’s work…is, first and foremost, an exercise in lyric beauty. He sings in a warm, resonant, melancholic baritone, which coasts upward into a plaintive falsetto. He plays the piano with a poetic touch…and his music is suffused with idiosyncratic, enriched tonal harmony…he is one of the finest, most searching songwriters of the day.” — The New Yorker

“Pekka Kuusisto…surely has the most personal sound of any classical violinist now alive” —Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph)