Skip to page content

Bing Wang Plays Saariaho’s Nocturne

Watch & Listen

The Los Angeles Philharmonic has performed many works by Kaija Saariaho, a celebrated composer-friend of Esa-Pekka Salonen. This gave our Associate Concertmaster Bing Wang a way in to Nocturne’s unexpected sounds and textures. Wang helps explain the various techniques that Saariaho uses in her short piece, including ponticello and tasto bowing (including producing a scratching tone, producing overtones), left hand pizzicato, trills with harmonics, and more. Because of the unusual sounds, when you hear a sweet harmony like a third or a sixth, played traditionally with vibrato, it really stands out to the ear. Bing Wang describes the piece as solemn and contemplative, as well as very free rhythmically. “It’s like having a dialog with the spirits,” she says of the piece.