Dos Coyotes:

Recital with Anssi Karttunen and Magnus Lindberg


Dos Coyotes performances:

Musica Nova, Helsinki, 7.3.2002
Ars Musica, Brussels, 20.3.2002
Konserthuset, Stockholm, 13.11.2002
Cornell University, Ithaca, 17.11.2002
Weill Auditorium, Carnegie Hall, New York, 19.11.2002
Perth Festival, Australia, January 2003
Biennale di Venezia, 15.09.2003
Theatre de Bouffes du Nord, Paris, 20.10.2003
Tokyo Opera City, 27.05.2004
Concertgebouw, Bruges, Belgium, 4.6.2004
Casa da Musica , Porto, Portugal, 20.11.2005
Santa Fe Chamber Music festival, USA, 30.7-4.8. 2006
La Jolla festival, USA, 7-8.8.2006
Flanders Festival, Brussels, 11.9.2006
Festival Musica, Strasbourg, 30.9.2006
Suvisoitto, Finland, 30.6.2007
Helsinki Festival, Finland, 31.8.2007
Philharmonie, Cologne, 10.9.2007

San Francisco Performances 9.5.2008

Konserthus, Oslo, 21.8.2010

Baryshnikov Arts Center, NY 10.5.2011

San Francisco Performances, 15.5.2011

Teatro Colon CETC, Buenos Aires 12-14.9.2013

Pictures of Dos Coyotes:

Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires

Bouffes du Nord, Paris

Biennale di Venezia

Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival

Tokyo Opera City

Strasbourg, Musica

Music Centre, Helsinki

Dos Coyotes is a recital of Anssi Karttunen and Magnus Lindberg performing Magnus Lindberg's works for cello solo, piano solo and duos for cello and piano. This recital celebrates a collaboration that has lasted already over 30 years. The first piece Magnus wrote for Anssi was Zona, in 1983 and the two have worked and performed in many ways over the years, in Toimii ensemble, in Dos Coyotes recitals, improvising, arranging Stravinsky and Lindberg and leading workshops for composers and performers.

The Dos Coyotes recital has, in its various versions, been heard on many continents; Tokyo, New York, Venice, Paris, Stockholm and San Francisco are just few of the cities Karttunen and Lindberg have performed in. The most recent Dos Coyotes performances were at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires in September 2013.

The programme spans works of Lindberg from 1984 (Stroke) through Santa Fe Project (2006) to improvisations by Dos Coyotes.

Another part of the Dos Coyotes repertoire are pieces by Igor Stravinsky. Lindberg and Karttunen jointly made a transcription of movements from Pulcinella in 2007 which is often included in the recital with Stravinsky's own transcription of the Russian Maiden's Song. A CD of the Dos Coyotes repertoire was issued in August 2012 issued by Ondine, it received a nomination for the Gramophone Awards in 2013.

Works for Cello by Magnus Lindberg:

Espressione I           Cello Solo (version for 2 cellos by A. Karttunen), 1978, 4min

Zona                          Cello and 7 instruments, 1983,  17min

Stroke                       Cello Solo,1984, 4min

Kraft                          5 soloists and Orchestra,1985, 30min

Steamboat Bill Jr.    Cello and Clarinet,1990, 10min

Moto                          Cello and Piano,1991, 10min

Duo Concertante      Cello, Clarinet and Ensemble,1992, 13min

Cello Concerto No 1 Cello and Orchestra,1999, 24min

Dos Coyotes             Cello and Piano (transcr. A. Karttunen and M. Lindberg), 2002,11min

Partia                         Cello Solo, 2004,14min

Etude I                       8 cellos (transcription A. Karttunen), 2001, 4min

Etude II                      8 cellos (transcription A. Karttunen), 2005, 4min

Santa Fe Project       Cello and Piano, 2006,15min

Duello                        Cello solo, 2010, 3min

Cello Concerto No 2 Cello and Orchestra, 2013, 21 min

Works for keyboards by Magnus Lindberg:

Musik för två pianon     2 pianos, 1976, 10min

Klavierstück                   Piano Solo, 1977, 15min

Tre sma pianostycken   Piano Solo, 1978, 3min

Play                                  2 pianos, 1979, ˜15min

Ground                            Harpsichord, 1983, 20min

Kraft                                5 soloists and Orchestra,1985, 30min

Twine                              Piano Solo, 1988, 7min

Piano Concerto No 1     Piano and orchestra, 1991, 27min

Related Rocks               2 pianos, percussion, electronic,1997,17min

Jubilees                          Piano Solo, 2000, 15min

Etude I                            Piano Solo, 2001,4min

Etude II                           Piano Solo, 2004,4min

Piano Concerto No 2     Piano and Orchestra 2012, 30min


Don't be fooled by all the lightness

August 10, 2006

By Mark Swed, Times Staff Writer

...Sunday afternoon and Monday and Tuesday evenings, SummerFest 2006, which opened last week and continues through Aug. 20, presented the premieres of three works by internationally important composers ; Leon Kirchner, Bright Sheng and Magnus Lindberg ; that it had commissioned as part of the festivities for its 20th anniversary. Each premiere proved a rich, original, powerful piece, brilliantly performed. And each took place in an interesting cultural context that also included riveting, revelatory performances of well-known masterpieces.

TUESDAY night, back in Sherwood, Lindberg and the phenomenal Finnish cellist Anssi Karttunen played a new work for cello and piano that is as yet untitled. It had its premiere last week at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, but Karttunen told the La Jolla audience that composer Lindberg had still been making changes Monday.

Lindberg, who with Esa-Pekka Salonen and Kaija Saariho has been putting Finnish music on the map for a new generation, is a composer with a visceral sense of harmony. But the physical power of his sound has been softening of late. The new 15-minute work has thick chords and delicate trills that seem to fill the air with heady, languid sensuality.

Yet it still has power, and the virtuosity on display was arresting, given that Lindberg is a superb pianist and Karttunen perhaps the most impressive cellist on the scene today. 

The program was mostly Finnish and full of Lindberg. He began it with an elegant small etude for solo piano, which was followed by the 1980 piano quintet " … de Tartuffe, je crois," a gripping work that was based on incidental music he wrote for a play about Molière and that launched Lindberg's career when he was 22.

It would have been interesting to have heard Karttunen and Lindberg play Grieg's Cello Sonata, the one non-Finnish work on the program, but the pianist was Schub, whose sparkling tone stood in striking contrast to Karttunen's dark, restrained playing with its occasional volcanic eruptions.

After the performance, I thought of Chandler dying in La Jolla, where not all is as light and breezy as it first appears but where real substance can survive the beating sun.

SummerFest: Scandinavian Romance: Magnus Lindberg, Grieg, Sibelius

by David Gregson

August 9, 2006

Finally, thanks to SummerFest, we finally get a newly commissioned work by a contemporary composer of major stature.

Of course, as tempting as it is to say such a thing -- especially after having heard Finnish composer Magnus Lindberg's magnificent music -- one has to remember we have also had Leon Kirchner in our midst. His intriguing String Quartet No. 4 (jointly commissioned by SummerFest, the Orion String Quartet, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Santa Fe Music Festival and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center &endash; whew!) received its world premiere here last Sunday. And Kirchner, a former student of Arnold Schoenberg, Ernest Bloch and Roger Sessions, is no small potatoes.

But what about Bright Sheng? Appealing, but certainly lacking the depth of any work by Magnus Lindberg, was Sheng's Three Fantasies for Violin and Piano, premiered Monday at the Stephen and Mary Birch North Park Theater.

Last night's absurdly titled "Scandinavian Romance" concert in Sherwood Auditorium was introduced by Lindberg's close friend, cellist Anssi Karttunen, who explained that the Lindberg works we were about to hear span 25 years of the composer's career.

Lindberg himself acted as soloist in a piano Etude composed around 2001. It was an extremely interesting piece, but the winners were yet to come: Lindberg's oddly named " Tartuffe, je crois" ("It's about Tartuffe, I assume"), a quintet featuring Cho-Liang Lin, Ani Kavafian, violins; Cynthia Phelps, viola; Karttunen, cello; and Lindberg, piano.

The piece, which has it roots in incidental music written for Mikhail Bulgakov's play, Moliere, or the Conspiracy of Pietists, is a virtual encyclopedia of the best 20th-century influences, yet it possesses its own vital integrity and is infused with a high sense of drama. To my way of thinking, the greatest composers since 1790 have always had a sense of theater.

After intermission we heard the West Coast premiere of "New Work for Cello and Piano" (actually still in a state of evolution), featuring the Karttunen/Lindberg pairing once again. Risto Nieminen writes in the program that "Lindberg's music is energetic, and it often builds on a chaconne-like repeated harmonic succession. Based more on rhythm than melody, the music undergoes a continuous transformation during the piece. Lindberg is a modernist who knows what his forebears have done."

Whatever the structural principal of this work, one can definitely sense its order and design. Its debt to the greatest modernists is also obvious -- one reason I personally like the music so much. This is music that combines intellect, drama and poetry in the greatest of mainstream traditions. It is far from exhibiting what I object to in Steve Reich (although I feel I may have overstated my distaste in Monday's review), namely a kind of clinical fascination with tones and contrapuntal patterns.

The Grieg Cello Sonata in A Minor, Opus 36 (Karttunen and André-Michel Schub, piano), was little more than a curiosity, most of its thematic material being bland and uninspired. The performance was largely first rate, although Schub affected a peculiarly clipped attack during some of dramatic/romantic passages which truly demand a more straightforward approach.

Pictures of the flowing world 

Santa Fe New Mexican

August 1, 2006

The Chamber Music Festival performance on July 31, like a similar program during the festival's first week, opened and closed with works by Mozart. In this instance, those works were the String Quartet in C Major, K. 465, and the String Quintet in D Major, K. 593 &emdash; both dating from the composer's final years. They were sandwiched between a pair of contemporary scores, the String Quartet No. 3 in F Major by Dmitri Shostakovich, and the world premiere of an untitled work for cello and piano by Finnish composer Magnus Lindberg.

...All ears, of course, were on the newly composed piece by Lindberg, who himself played the piano part. He was joined onstage by a fellow Finn, cellist Anssi Karttunen. Cast as a single, uninterrupted span that begins and ends in near silence, the music is often taut and turbulent, yet it is also highly Romantic and passionate. If that all sounds like a description of what came out of the Second Viennese School in the early 20th century, you wouldn't be far wrong. Lindberg's music is grounded in the late-Romantic musical dialect, even if its modern angularity and outbursts of clatttering dissonance belie that statement. The musicianship, meanwhile, was breathtaking. Lindberg's keyboard work had a wonderfully liquid, flowing quality to it, while the strength and nuance of Karttunen's cello-playing was riveting and rewarding.

David Prince

A breath of fresh air

Santa Fe New Mexican

August 5, 2006

On Aug. 4, a sparse but appreciative audience gathered in St. Francis Auditorium to hear an all? Magnus Lindberg Modern Masters program, with varying combinations of clarinet, piano, cello, and bass drum. Many in attendance had no doubt been energized by the July 30 and 31 performances of Lindberg's new piece for cello and piano (commissioned by the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and La Jolla Music Society). At the August concert, they were treated to a excellently played recital that contained not only a repeat reading of the new work but also four earlier works by the Finnish composer.

The concert began with Ablauf (written in 1983 and revamped in 1988), for clarinet and a pair of massive bass drums. It turned out to be the evening's most curious and outrageously expressive moment. Clarinetist Chen Halevi opened the proceedings with a series of emotionally wrought split-toned wails on his instrument, akin to what you might expect to hear from a reincarnated Eric Dolphy. Halevi was a galvanizing physical presence &emdash; his body shook and bent along with the tones he elicited from his horn; he held notes for a seeming eternity and then drew a loud and audible breath as he prepared for his next melodic statement. At unexpected intervals, Lindberg and Anssi Karttunen dealt nearly deafening blows to their bass drums in unison, creating a resonant and long-decaying thunder effect. As the piece progressed, the drums took a more prominent part, then receded again to a supportive role, while Halevi switched over to bass clarinet about halfway through and, at one juncture, launched into wordless vocalizations.

Dos Coyotes, which followed, was played by Lindberg on piano and Karttunen on cello. Like his new work for cello and piano, Dos Coyotes (begun in 1991 and finalized in 2002) is rooted in the late-Romantic tradition but takes full advantage of the advances of Schoenberg and his followers. The piece, which plays out in a single span, has lots of cat-and-mouse moments, when one instrument suddenly takes up a motif suggested by the other.

Then the pattern reverses itself, but the hide-and-seek aspect remains intact throughout.

Lindberg's solo piano composition from 2000, Jubilees, gave the audience an opportunity to witness the composer's keyboard technique with no distractions. He proved to be quite a handsome soloist, with a firm and precise touch. Lindberg's writing for piano has a very liquid feel &emdash; as demonstrated in his new work for piano and cello &emdash; and his sharp and clean attack lent the piece a cold and refreshing air.

The 1990 Steamboat Bill, Jr. is a duo for clarinet and cello. Whether the piece is or isn't cartoonish seems beside the point. What it does show is how well the standard B-flat clarinet and cello are suited to each other when it comes to tone and timbre. At times, it was difficult, if not impossible, to tell which instrument was singing which of the intertwining melodic lines.

A combination of fine and considered compositional skill along with uniformly superlative musicianship turned the concert into an unqualified success.

David Prince

A Composer Who Helps Play the Music

New York Times

ALLAN KOZINN, November 26, 2002

The Finnish composer Magnus Lindberg was the subject of an installment of Carnegie Hall's Making Music series at Weill Recital Hall last Tuesday. In these programs the composer typically discusses his works and then sits back as the music is played. Mr. Lindberg spoke casually with Ara Guzelimian, Carnegie Hall's artistic adviser, but instead of taking in the program as a listener, he performed as a pianist, both in solo works and with Anssi Karttunen, a cellist.

Mr. Karttunen opened the concert on his own, with ''Stroke'' (1984), a five-minute work that pushes a cellist through nearly the full range of techniques, from eerily sliding harmonics to warm-hued long notes to pizzicato. But it is typical of Mr. Lindberg's work that even when his scores range so widely in what seem to be purely technical areas, they never seem mere display pieces. For all of its abstraction, ''Stroke'' is a compact, focused drama.

Still, a second solo cello work put Mr. Karttunen's considerable interpretive strengths more fully in the spotlight. ''Partia'' (2001) is a six-movement work in the style of a Baroque dance suite. In this more expansive form, Mr. Lindberg casts his music in long lines, with appealing melodies offset by some of the same timbral effects in ''Stroke.''

Mr. Lindberg, who proved a formidable pianist, played one solo work on each half of the program. ''Jubilees'' (2000), like ''Partia,'' is cast in six movements (although in this case the movement titles are simply tempo indications). This is a tactile piece with harmonies that shift almost continuously. Dissonances never quite resolve; they merely give way to other dissonances. Yet there is something so settled and so nonabrasive in Mr. Lindberg's approach to harmony that a listener never feels lost, no matter how unsettled the music may seem from an analytical point of view. The solo piano work on the second half of the program was a brief Étude (2001) that shared many qualities of ''Jubilees.''

The final work in each half of the program brought Mr. Lindberg and Mr. Karttunen together.

In ''Moto'' (1988-90), the two instruments mirror each other's lines so closely that much of the work seemed less a dialogue than a joint proclamation. The cello and piano lines do eventually go their own way, though, and some attractive rhythmic complications arise from the friction between them.

Mr. Lindberg and Mr. Karttunen closed the program with ''Dos Coyotes,'' an arrangement that Mr. Lindberg made this year of ''Coyote Blues,'' a 1993 work for voice and chamber ensemble. Here the cello line sings plaintively over a sharp-edged keyboard accompaniment, and as in ''Moto,'' the interaction creates its own peculiar sparks.


Programme notes:


"When traveling in the USA during the fall of 1984, I wrote Stroke for cello solo as a kind of diary to keep my hand in at composing. Writing a piece for solo instrument is in a sense impossible - it has to be done by extreme means, either by going beyond frontiers attached to a certain instrument (as Vinko Globokar does in his works), or by using one monolithic idea from beginning to end. Stroke is - as a piece of music - a kind of decomposition.

The powerful gesture (read: normal music) that opens the work is soon shattered to pieces; the organization changes its own shape on a microsecond rather than second scale. Thus this work, in spite of its short duration, can transmit a considerable amount of the expressive world, which I like to think of as belonging to the cello. The piece also represents super virtuosity; Stroke is dedicated to Anssi Karttunen, who premiered it in Paris a day after its completion in 1984."


"In the summer of 1990, having finished the first draft of Kinetics, a piece for large orchestra, I felt the need to write something that in terms of size would be easier to manage than the full orchestra. I had long since promised to write a piece for Anssi Karttunen and Tuija Hakkila. Much of the material in Kinetics had to do with different types of motion, both on rhythmic and harmonic levels and I decided to write a duo based on certain archetypes of motion that I had been using in Kinetics.

The piece is subdivided in 14 sections which all share similar material. The same harmonic progression is used throughout the entire piece, each time realized differently. The motoric material varies from very gestural and contrasted all the way to unison.

Moto is certainly one of the most virtuosic pieces I have written and is dedicated to Anssi Karttunen and Tuija Hakkila who premiered it in Paris within a week of its completion."


"Partia was written as a commission of the Turku Cello Competition. It is a large suite in six movements. The name has its roots in the original manuscript of Bach's Partitas for violin in which he uses the old Italian title Partia. The piece has no direct structural similarity with the baroque Suites, which often consisted of an Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Minuet or Bourree and Gigue. Only some textures are in some way vaguely reminiscent of their namesakes. The names of the movements are borrowed from a period before Bach's time.

As I didn't find a way to incorporate the Allemande, my suite begins with a carousel-like Sinfonia, the movement most complex in form and one that presents the material of the piece. Each of the next five movements gradually filters certain textural solutions from Sinfonia. The second movement is a very motoric Coranto; the third Aria, a slow singing piece. Boria is a scherzo-like, wild, textural piece. The Double refers to the baroque double minuet. The finale, which follows without pause, is called Giga and it culminates by bringing back the ending of the first movement transposed."

Dos Coyotes:

"Dos Coyotes for cello and piano has a chequered background. In 1993 I composed a set of five songs called Songs from North and South for the Tapiola Children's Choir. The Children's Choir is a fine instrument, but it has a narrow register, the situation was new to me and I had to work hard to make my music fit it. The songs turned out to be difficult and only the first has ever been performed. I was soon asked to write a piece for tenor and ensemble; the tenor proved to be too far from my musical ideas, but I decided to look into the choir piece and turn it to a piece for small ensemble. In writing Coyote Blues, I used the material for the choir piece, but enlargened it to fit a chamber ensemble.

When discussing with Anssi Karttunen about the program for this recital, we realized that one more piece for cello and piano was needed. As I didn't have the time to compose a new piece something needed to be transcribed and Coyote Blues seemed to be the most obvious candidate. We decided to transcribe it together. Dos Coyotes was finished just in time for our first recital at the Musica Nova Helsinki festival in March 2002. Arranging the material now for the third time, we have now again reduced it to a smaller format, treating the original piece quite freely." M.L.

Santa Fe Project (2006):

Santa Fe Project was written in July 2006 and is a co-commission of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and La Jolla Summerfest. Karttunen and Lindberg gave the world premiere in Santa Fe on the 31st of July 2006 taking it then to La Jolla, Brussels and Strasbourg.

Magnus Lindberg wrote this piece in a short time immediately after finishing his Violin Concerto. The piece can be divided into three movements which follow each other without break. It is a piece of great architectural dimentions lasting about 14 minutes, making it the most substantial of Lindberg's cello-piano pieces. In 2014, Lindberg developed Santa Fe Project into the 2nd Cello Concerto by orchestrating and elaborating on the original piece. A.K.

Etudes I and II:

"Etude I, premiered by Jay Gottlieb at the Octobre en Normandie festival 2001, is like an extension of Jubilees, even if not related to it. It is a piece in which I continue my study of the piano. It was written immediately before Partia for cello, which explains certain similar textural ideas.

Etude II was written for the 60th birthday of Paul Crossley, who premiered it in 2004 in London. In the future it is likely that the Etudes series will grow.

Both Etudes have also been transcribed by Anssi Karttunen's for 7 cellos."


"Jubilees is a set of six piano works, the first of which was commissioned by the Royal Festival Hall in London as a birthday tribute to Pierre Boulez in 2000. I immediately continued the series and the whole set was completed before the year was out. Jubilees was a challenging assignment because it meant I needed to tackle the problem of short form. Jubilees marks the beginning of a new strand in my output. It is the first work of mine to be made up of short movements, and the six movements together form a harmonious entity. Next in this series of solo suites followed Partia for cello, which was followed by a suite for guitar Mano a Mano.

There are very diverse pianistic solutions in the Jubilees suite. It bears a distant relation to Debussy's and Chopin's Preludes since they too operate on clearly defined textures. There are most events in the first movement; the others are then purified so that in the last the harmony rises to the surface stripped of all else - the overall dramaturgy has been clarified. Writing for the piano is difficult - not least because it is my own instrument - but it is also a healthy instrument for those who have not written much for it. I would define it as a lie-detector for a composer." M.L.


drawing © Huili Raffo