Concerto for piano and orchestra

Instrumentation solo piano; 2(2 dbl. picc)/2/2/2; 4/2/2/0; timp + 2 perc; orchestral strings (min. 10/10/8/6/4)
Percussion requirements (1) vib, mba, high woodblock, anvil, med. tamtam, wooden two-by-four; (2) glock, chimes, med. woodblock, maraca, snare dr, bass dr, 3 tomtoms (h/m/l), log dr

Timing ca. 15′ in three movements

Composed 2010

Commissioned by EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts on the occasion of its 25th anniversary, with assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts

Dedicated to Founders Dr. Martha Cohen, Ms. Sandra LeBlanc and Mrs. Vera Swanson
in celebration of their vision and leadership

World Premiere September 18, 2010, Jack Singer Hall, EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts, Calgary, Alberta. Georgy Tchaidze, piano; Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra; Mélanie Léonard, conductor

Programme Notes


In 1817, Scottish inventor David Brewster patented a new optical instrument “for exhibiting and treating beautiful forms and patterns.” He called his invention a “kaleidoscope,” derived from the Greek kalós (beautiful), eidos (form) and skopeô (to see)–together, “observer of beautiful forms.” Colour, form and pattern play important roles in my music, so this made a fitting inspiration for this new work for piano and orchestra. Of course, such instrumental resources certainly offer a kaleidoscope of possibilities, but “observer of beautiful forms” spoke to me of something greater and broader, of seeing the wonder of beauty and form in all its manifestations, in art and architecture and the world around us.

The first movement, Kalós, opens (perhaps unexpectedly for a piano concerto) with an extended gentle flute solo, from which the solo piano emerges in search of beauty, in a slow song that unfurls over shifting harmonies. The second movement, Eidos, creates structures out of motivic building blocks, in playful dance music reminiscent of an out-of-tune circus calliope. The final movement, Skopeô, opens with a cadenza for the solo pianist, leading into a fast toccata that evokes the swirling, circling shapes and patterns of the kaleidoscope, which shift into new configurations with each turn.

Observer of Beautiful Forms is dedicated to Dr. Martha Cohen, Ms. Sandra LeBlanc and Mrs. Vera Swanson, whose vision and dedication to a cultural centre in Calgary made an architectural Beautiful Form possible.

PDF perusal score

Observer of Beautiful Forms perusal
Observer piano solo perusal

Audio excerpts

Get music

Full-size Score $84 print, $50 PDF
Study score $50 print
Solo part $17 print, $10 PDF
Conductor score + parts available on rental
To purchase or rent, please contact me.