Celebrating Olly


Celebrating Olly is a collection of pieces for cello written to celebrate what would have been 70th birthday of Oliver Knussen (1952-2018). The over 20 pieces are written by Olly's composer friends to be played by his very close friend Anssi Karttunen. It is well known that Olly had a endless appetite for very surprising variety of music as well as very eclectic selection of friends. He was totally committed to both.

Olly passed away suddenly in 2018 leaving his friends with a huge space to fill in their hearts. Now that few years have passed it is possible to remember the musician, magician, librarian - in essence, the worlds largest little boy.

This collection of pieces started spontaneously when Kaija Saariaho finished her Lullaby for Olly. Several other friends asked to join in with homages and before we knew around twenty of his best friends had joined to create an impressive cycle of solo cello pieces to celebrate one of the most immense musicians.

The first peformance of the complete cycle will be, appropriately, at the Aldeburgh Festival on the 24th of June 2022.

Celebrating Olly:

Hans Abrahamsen              New Piece (2022)

Julian Anderson                 Maisema (2020)

Harrison Birtwistle           

Charlotte Bray                     From the Innermost Places (2022)

Philip Cashian                     The Art of Memory (2021)

Tansy Davies                      gem (2022)

Detlev Glanert                     Little Letter for Olly (2021)

Helen Grime                        New Piece (2022)

Jo Kondo                             A Song for the Owl (2021)

Brad Lubman                      For Anssi for OK (2021)

Zoe Martlew                         New Piece (2022)

Colin Matthews                   Three Fragments (2020)

Augusta Read Thomas       Riddle (2022)

Poul Ruders                         Last Post  - a tune for Olly (2021)

Kaija Saariaho                     Lullaby (2020)

Esa-Pekka Salonen             New Piece (2022)

Sean Shepherd                    New Piece (2022)

Mark-Anthony Turnage       Song for Big Owl (2020)

Ryan Wigglesworth             New Piece (2022)

Rob Zuidam                          New Piece (2022)

Here you can listen to the already finished Celebrations for Olly:

Investigator Olly

Equilibrist Olly

Policeman Olly

Doctor Olly

Olly and a friend posing for Japanese autograph hunters

a Friend and Olly