This concert marks an important moment in Nottingham Classics history, being the first performance to feature our resident orchestra’s new Principal Conductor, the prodigious Singaporean, Kahchun Wong. In a marker of his direction of travel he mixes Asian sounds with two western classical masterpieces.

Akira Ifukube began his journey as a composer after hearing Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in a radio broadcast but was also immersed in the Japanese folk music tradition. He later made his name in film music (notably his score for the 1954 film of Godzilla), whose punchy rhythmic energy also drives his Japanese Suite. A true Romantic revolutionary, Liszt delighted in taking the piano into places previously felt to be impossible. His 1st piano concerto is a potent statement of intent that gives the soloist plenty of scope for virtuosity whilst making the orchestra a more active player in the drama.

It took Brahms fifteen years to complete his first symphony, troubled as he was by following in the footsteps of Beethoven. But there’s no sign of this in the gripping opening, with thunderous timpani strokes underpinning the soaring strings. It’s the beginning of a heroic struggle, lightened by a sublime slow movement and eventually resolved in the broad, purposeful tune in the final movement, Brahms’s homage to the Ode to Joy theme of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.