Composer Francisco Coll

Francisco Coll

The piece is a fake piano concertino, in which the soprano is the real soloist. The text, by the composer, is a scene played out as an ‘absurdist’ dialogue between the singer and another character, represented by the pianist, who remains verbally silent. Surrealism plays an important role in this piece, not only because the work creates an impossible world in a very realistic way, but also because it seems that the music is filling a lack of hope through humour and irony. The title is a variant of Ceci n’est pas une pipe by René Magritte.

Francisco Coll’s Ceci n’est pas un Concerto premiered 10th December at CBSO Centre, conducted by Thomas Adès, as part of our celebrations for the 25th anniversary of Sound Investment.

Francisco Coll was born in Valencia in 1985. His earliest musical experience was learning the trombone – but he also showed interest and promise in painting.

He came to London in September 2008 initially as a private pupil of Thomas Adès, and studied concurrently with Richard Baker at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He completed a Masters degree in composition with distinction in 2010, winning the Ian Horsburgh Memorial Prize for the best postgraduate composition. He also attended the 2009 Aldeburgh Summer Composition Course and in the same year contributed to the LSO Discovery Panufnik Young Composers Scheme with his Hidd’n Blue which was work-shopped by the LSO and François-Xavier Roth. Hidd’n Blue has since been performed in full concert at the Barbican with the LSO and Thomas Adès, and in 2013 it was recorded by the SWR Sinfonieorchesters Baden-Baden und Freiburg and conductor Pablo Rus.

To date, Coll has composed five works for orchestra, as well as several pieces for ensemble and chamber groups. In 2006, his large orchestral work, Aqua Cinereus, was premiered at the “Palau de la Musica”, by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Valencia University conducted by Cristóbal Soler. Coll’s clarinet quintet, Sguardo verso l’interno, was written for the 2011 Aldeburgh, Aix-en-Provence and Verbier festivals and was performed by the Barbirolli Quartet. Piedras, for large ensemble, was a commission from the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and was premiered at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in April 2011 under the baton of Thomas Adès. The same work attracted considerable attention at its London premiere by the London Sinfonietta under Martyn Brabbins.

In 2011-12 Coll was composer in residence with the Jove Orquestra de la Generalitat Valenciana. Coll’s music is now reaching a global audience and 2013 saw performances in Germany, Latvia and the USA, as well as at London’s Wigmore Hall and the Queen Elizabeth Hall, where the London Sinfonietta premiered his viola concertino Ad Marginem.

Major performances have continued into 2014. In March Coll’s ensemble piece_ Liquid Symmetries_ was premiered by Grupo Modus Novu in Madrid. The same month, his chamber opera Café Kafka (a co-commission from Aldeburgh Music, Opera North and the Linbury Studio – Royal Opera House) was premiered to great acclaim: ‘This could be a classic’ wrote The Independent, ‘Coll is a major talent’ wrote BBC Music Magazine. Summer 2014 saw the UK premiere of No seré yo quien diga nada by Nicholas Hodges and the CBSO, followed by the French premiere of _Hidd’n Blu_e at the Aix en Provence Festival.

Future plans alongside his BCMG commission include the premiere of a trombone concerto by the National Orchestra of Spain and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.