Todd Mason to release debut album featuring his Violin Concerto, performed by Tosca Opdam

Thursday 28th September 2023

Composer Todd Mason provides his response to the 21st century Violin Concerto in this new recording that harnesses the technical skill of the soloist and orchestra

American composer Todd Mason brings us his new Violin Concerto and Chamber Suite for String Orchestra, featuring the virtuoso Dutch violinist Tosca Opdam and the Budapest Scoring Orchestra. Set to be released this Friday with the Ulysses Arts label.

During the pandemic, Todd committed to writing a violin concerto, a dream he had cherished for years. Contemplating the significance of composing a concerto in today’s era, the aim was to craft a genuine adventure for the soloist, orchestra, and listeners—an ode to virtuosity, while primarily creating a captivating musical tale. The outcome materialised as a single continuous movement, spanning 24 minutes, which transports listeners through a cascade of sounds and emotions.

In the reworked Chamber Suite for String Orchestra, derived from his original String Quartet No. 2, Todd sought to establish a distinctive musical style, resulting in polytonal and classically tonal elements with surprising chromatic accents. Additionally, numerous rhythmic and technical flourishes are interwoven throughout the composition.

Todd’s first single, “Spirito”, is the 3rd movement from his Chamber Suite, released on 21 July, and gives us a glimpse into his upcoming album, and his full Violin Concerto will be available to audiences soon on all major streaming platforms, including Apple Music Classical.

“The third movement, Spirito, is fast and furious with the voices interchanging rapidly in a dance of weaving motivic development. There’s a brief slower section – a moment of reflection – until the high energy returns with an exciting rush of notes to the end…This piece was wonderfully recorded by members of the Budapest Philharmonic.” – Todd Mason

Mason’s new violin concerto has already received a glowing review: “In terms of 20th century antecedents, the piece is clearly in a line from the concertos of Alban Berg and Béla Bartók…but so far as American compatriots of preceding generations are concerned—aside from the hints of Copland and Barber already noted —Mason’s Violin Concerto seems to me to share much, in its mix of tough-minded near-atonality and unsentimental lyricism, with the great Violin Concerto of George Rochberg” – LA Opus

Praised for her “enchanting musical personality” (De Volkskrant), Juilliard alumni and violin virtuoso Tosca Opdam brings immeasurable charm, skill and magic to this recording, made using her rare Goffriller violin.

As a Los Angeles native and fellow Juilliard alumni, Todd gained his master’s in composition at the esteemed music school, where he studied with Elliott Carter, Peter Mennin and David Diamond. He received the Rodgers & Hammerstein Juilliard Scholarship, Juilliard’s Marion Freschl Award for a composition for voice and orchestra, the First Place Award in the National Federation of Music Clubs, First Place in the Lancaster Summer Arts.