Piano Concerto No. 3: Kilauea

  • September 9, 1986
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Commissioned: Honolulu Symphony for Ellen Masaki
Dedicated "to my friend Ellen Masaki"

Premiere: January 10, 1988; Honolulu Symphony; Ellen Masaki, piano; Donald Johanos, conductor


Instrumentation:3(3.pic).3(3.ca).3(3.bcl).2-, tam-t, gong, glsp, vib)-2hp-str

Duration: 24’

Publisher: Schott Helicon Music Corporation (BMI)




Piano Concerto No. 3: Kilauea was premiered on January 10, 1988, by the Honolulu Symphony with Ellen Masaki on piano, at Blaisdell Concert Hall. It was commissioned by the Honolulu Symphony for Ellen Masaki.


Honolulu Star-BulletinJoseph Maltby

"...Tobias Picker was so inspired by a visit to Kilauea that he has bestowed that name upon his Third Piano Concerto...The mode is the 12-tone scale introduced by Arnold Schoenberg."


"Atonal music -- possibly the hardest musical development of this century to listen to -- has nevertheless proven its value as a rich source of inspiration. On first hearing, Picker's concerto seems not merely difficult but unfathomable. Yet, as Picker himself so wisely advised us in a modest and brief talk before the performance, if we open our ears and hearts to it and pretend we've heard it before, it will have its effect."


"Indeed it did. This one-movement concerto is a deeply serious statement, cerebral beyond my understanding at this stage of unfamiliarity, but certainly quite emotional in its appeal. The piano is featured, but less as an opportunity for display by a soloist than as a principal texture in a complex musical tapestry."


"...A definite pulsing beat was evident from the introduction on, and there was enough syncopation throughout to sustain a high level of rhythmical excitement."


"Pianist Ellen Masaki seemed quite up to the challenge...So lei-bedecked did she become during teh audience's warm reception afterward, that I began to hope she might be pressured into playing the concerto again. Certainly another performance in a future season seems called for."

For piano and orchestra

3(3.pic).3(3.ca).3(3.bcl).2-, tam-t, gong, glsp, vib)-2hp-str