Andrew Webb-Mitchell


Violin Concerto Op.5 from ‘Philosopher Concertos’

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Violin Concerto - Excerpt

Cologne New Philharmonic conducted by Volker Hartung. Elizabeth Basoff-Darskaia, violin

Arin Mirkan

Dedicated to Christopher Hitchens

Violin Concerto – Arin Mirkan


I. Acts of Heroism

II. Kobane Starscape

III. No Friend But The Mountains


Flutes I, II
Oboes I, II
Clarinets in Bb I, II
Bassoon I, II

Horns I, II, III in F
Trumpets in Bb I, II
Tenor Trombone I, II
Bass Trombone

Bass Drum, Tam-tam, Snare Drum, Tambourine,
Chimes, Glockenspiel, Cymbals

Violin Solo

29 April 2018
Gürzenich Hall, Cologne Germany
Cologne New Philharmonic conducted by Volker Hartung
with Elisabeth Basoff-Darskaja, violin

Andrew Webb-Mitchell’s Violin Concerto was given its world premiere at the Gürzenich Hall, Cologne Germany on 29 April 2018, performed by the Cologne New Philharmonic, with Volker Hartung and Elisabeth Basoff-Darskaja, violin. Prior to the performance, Andrew issued the following statement about the inspiration behind the work:


“Whilst sketching my violin concerto in the autumn of 2014, western media was saturated by news of the continuing Syrian nightmare and, in particular, events in Kobani. Among the multitude of articles circulating at that time, one story stood out from the others. During the ferocious battle, a young Kurdish fighter reportedly lost her life by detonating explosives attached to her body, killing several jihadists and disabling a tank. This act of heroism had a direct and positive impact on the morale of the Kurdish forces during the battle, and was one of the key events that contributed to eventual victory in Kobani.

Andrew at the Gürzenich Hall, Cologne

With the benefit of hindsight, we now know that the Siege of Kobani was a turning point in the fight against the hitherto undefeated Islamic State and, as such, symbolic of an epic stand against barbarity. Deilar Kanj Khamis, also known by the nom-de-guerre Arin Mirkan, was a 22-year-old mother of two. What had possessed this young woman to put herself in harm’s way, leaving the relative safety of home and family to join an all-female unit of Kurdish fighters? To a certain extent, we can only speculate. What we do know, however, is that during interviews with Kurdish forces in northern Syria, various fighters described the war against the Islamic State as a fight for humanity. As a composer, I felt the need to respond to this. Afterall, Arin and her comrades-in-arms had been fighting for me too.

My concerto is not a requiem for Arin, but rather a celebration of life and humanity, the very things she was fighting to preserve. This is a European composer’s personal response to some of the darkest events in recent history. I respond with music, with light. The sounds of war are occasionally present in the concerto, particularly in the first movement, but they are merely distant echoes. The mood of the music is often heroic, sometimes playful, sometimes pensive; the melodies are lyrical and youthful.

I dedicate this concerto to one of my own personal heroes, the great writer and journalist Christopher Hitchens who was a friend and advocate of the Kurdish people. His voice is greatly missed.”


Violin Concerto – Arin Mirkan

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