The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will embark on a two-week journey of South American music with conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya (pictured) and the ¡Música Ardiente! Festival, May 27-June 6. The festival, presented by CNN en Español, will feature three programs. The first program, May 28 and 30, 2009, entitled Caminos del Inka, will share the rich musical traditions of the Inca Trail. The second program will feature a special presentation on May 29, 2009 of Osvaldo Golijov’s cello concerto, Azul, performed by Yo-Yo Ma. The third program, June 4-6, 2009, will celebrate the modern evolution of Latin-American song and dance in a program entitled Tangos, Fados, and Dance, featuring vocalist Luciana Souza and the Rosa Collantes Dancers.
The festival will also include two weeks of FREE events to celebrate the music, imagery, and dance of Latin America . Please see below for a detailed listing of concerts and events. For more information, please also visit the Orchestra’s ¡Música Ardiente! Festival website.
The ¡Música Ardiente! Festival was inspired by the concept and programs of conductor and curator Miguel-Harth- Bedoya’s Caminos del Inka Project. The project was created to rediscover, preserve, and disseminate the musical legacy of South America . It is an effort to unearth the forgotten musical gems of the most advanced and complex native civilization in South America, the Inca Empire, and commission new music from these countries by bringing new repertoire and sounds to the concert hall.
The creation of ¡Música Ardiente! comes with thanks to valuable partnerships with musicians, composers, organizations, and cultural institutions that the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has worked closely with to add shape, community relevance, and artistic excellence to the ¡Música Ardiente! Festival. For more information on the community organizations that helped make this festival possible, please visit the Orchestra’s Festival website.
Program I — Caminos Del Inka
May 28 and 30, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. audiences will experience breathtaking images of Machu Picchu, floating island villages and the expanses of the Peruvian plains matched to stirring and moving music from the ancient sounds of El Condor Pasa, to recently rediscovered brilliant music from the time of the Conquistadores, and the thrilling sounds of the first new classical voices of the 21st century in Latin America. It is a journey of the heart and soul through timeless landscape and memorable music.
Although the origins of the song El Cóndor Pasa (The condor passes) date back to the age of the Incas, the popular form of the melody we hear today was composed in 1913 by Daniel Alomía Robles for the finale of his Zarzuela, El Cóndor Pasa. In the musical play, the Andean condor stands as a symbol of freedom in a conflict between a Peruvian miner and his European boss. It was a huge hit at a time of emerging national identity and ran for some 3,000 performances.
Between 1782 and 1785, Baltasar Martínez Compañón y Bajanda, the bishop of Trujillo , made a number of official visits within his diocese, resulting in a record of nine volumes of watercolors illustrating the natural landscape, daily life, and architecture of his bishopric. In this codex, known as the Trujillo del Perú, we also find some twenty musical works that were collected in the streets of the villages he visited. The twenty pieces of music in the Trujillo codex, called the “Collection of Vice-Royal Music” —interspersed among the more than 1,400 illustrations—represent the popular music of the streets and festivals that was traditionally passed down from generation to generation. In this transcription by Miguel Harth- Bedoya, the Orchestra will play three of the 20 pieces: Baile de Danzantes, Baile del Chimo, and Lanachas Para Bailar.
Responsorio by Diego Luziraga (b. 1955) began life as the second movement of Liturgia for shinobue (Japanese bamboo piccolo) and orchestra, commissioned by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and premiered in 2000. In Responsorio, Luzuriaga has translated the sounds of the Andean flutes of his youth first to the Japanese instrument and now, in this version, to the Western piccolo.
Gabriela Lena Frank’s (b 1972), Illapa depicts a moment in the life of the powerful weather god from ancient South American Andean culture. In addition to drawing on Andean influences for this piece, Frank was also inspired by the music of Béla Bartók. Flautist Jessica Warren-Acosta accompanies the Orchestra.
Composer Osvaldo Golijov wrote Mariel in 1999 when he learned of the death of his friend Mariel Stubrin. In this piece he attempts to capture the, “short instant before grief, in which one learns of the sudden death of a friend who was full of life: a single moment frozen forever in one's memory, and which reverberates . . . in the waves and echoes of the Brazilian music that Mariel loved."
Alfonso Leng, composer of Preludio No.1, was a post-romantic composer of classical music and dentist! He wrote the first important symphonic work in Chilean tradition, "La Muerte de Alcino,” a symphonic poem inspired by the novel from Pedro Prado. He composed art songs in different languages and a number of important piano pieces, like the five "Doloras" (1914), which he later orchestrated and are normally played in concerts in Chile and Latin America . He won the Nacional Art Prize in 1957. As dentist, he was the main founder of the Dentistry Faculty of the Universidad de Chile, and he was eventually elected as the first dean.
Jimmy Lopez (b. 1978) originally composed Fiesta! for chamber orchestra in 2007, on a commission from Miguel Harth-Bedoya to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the Lima Philharmonic Society. As López writes about this work, which he subtitles "Four pop dances for orchestra: "Fiesta! draws influences from today's pop music. It utilizes elaborate developmental techniques while keeping the primeval driving forces still latent in popular culture. Movements one (Trance 1) and three (Trance 2) are connected to each other in spirit and form. They both feature slow passages and open ends, whereas movements two (Countertime) and four (Techno) are conclusive in character and keep high levels of energy all the way through. Latin rhythms also play an essential part in this piece; therefore, the percussion section rises to prominence on several passages.”
Jessica Warren-Acosta gave her New York Recital debut in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in January of 1998. She has concertized on three continents and appeared as a soloist at numerous international festivals including the Spoleto USA Festival in Charleston, South Carolina where she gave the American Premiere of Pascal Dusapin's Concerto for Flute and Orchestra "Galim,” the Academie du Nicel Recital Series in Nice, France, Temporada Flautística in Lima, Perú, Festival en la Mitad del Mundo in Quito, Ecuador, and the National Flute Association Conventions in Chicago and Atlanta,where she performed in the Gala Concert with William Bennett. She has toured Latin America as an artistic ambassador to the United States Embassy soloing with orchestras and giving recitals to rave reviews. She has been named a winner in several international competitions including the Artists International Competition and the International Music Competition “Citta di Padova” and has also appeared on several radio broadcasts including Karl Haas’ syndicated program “Adventures in Good Music.” In addition to her classical training, she has a great interest in the music of South America and has made numerous trips to Perú and Ecuador to familiarize herself with the Andean instruments and performance techniques as well as with the compositions of the region. Ms. Warren-Acosta's CD of South American music for flute,"Acentos" has been released on the Filarmonika label and is available at www.filarmonika.com.
Christopher Rex joined the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra as Principal Cello in 1979, the same year in which he became the first cellist ever to win the string prize in the biennial Young Artists Competition of the National Federation of Music Clubs, and since then has appeared as recitalist and chamber musician across the nation. He took up the cello at age eight, completing a family string quartet in his hometown of Winter Park , Florida . Following his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music with Orlando Cole and at the Juilliard School with Leonard Rose, he was a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra under director Eugene Ormandy for seven seasons. Mr. Rex has taught at Gettysburg College , the New School of Music in Philadelphia , Georgia State University, and the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro , North Carolina , and is now the Cello Chair of the McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in Macon.
Program II – The Soul of Argentina and Brazil
May 29, 2009 at 8:00 p.m., cellist Yo-Yo Ma, one of the true multi-genre superstars, collaborates with the Argentinean-born and Atlanta School composer Osvaldo Golijov and conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya in an evening of stirring Latin-American music. The program includes Golijov's Azul, for cello and orchestra, which Mr. Ma world premiered several years ago, and works by Villa-Lobos and Piazzolla.
The fourth cycle of Heitor Villa Lobos’s Bachianas brasileiras represents what lies beyond the gates of the Rainforest. The Preludio, though it is formally akin to the stately openings of a Bach suite, places us squarely in a most un-European setting. Here we have an atmospheric rendering of a mysterious twilight world. Early settlers of northeastern Brazil show up in the final Dansa, a popular folk dance entitled "Tiny steps. Its formal antecedents in the Baroque dance-suite are not obvious or intrusive, though they provide both a formal backbone and an ironic counterpoint to the lush foliage of the forest and the rich heritage of folklore.
Astor Piazzolla, a brilliant and innovative tango musician and composer, is considered a national hero in Argentina and a cult figure for classical and jazz lovers alike. An immensely innovative player of the Argentinean bandoneon (a close relative of the accordion), Piazzolla has brought tango music to the concert stage without diluting its working-class roots. In 1954, Piazzolla was awarded a scholarship to study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger. At first, he hid his compositional “past,” attempting to focus on composing classical music. When he played one of his tango inspired works for Boulanger, her recommendation changed the course of his life: “Astor, your classical pieces are well written, but the true Piazzolla is here, never leave it behind.” Tangazo is considered Piazolla’s orchestral tango masterwork, fully living up to the exhortation of Nadia Boulanger.
Esteban Benzecry (b. 1970) creates an original musical language in the conventional contemporary symphonic style. La Cruz del Sur (the Southern Cross) is a constellation that can be viewed only from the Southern hemisphere and Colores (colors) alludes to the different shades that appear in this composition, Colores de la Cruz del Sur.
Azul began as a way of looking at the world from different points of view. In September 2000, after returning from Israel during a new wave of violence, Osvaldo Golijov (b. 1960) took his son to the new planetarium in New York City , where they saw the earth simply as "a beautiful blue dot in space." Golijov wanted to write a piece "that could be listened to from different perspectives." The result was Tenebrae, a short work for string quartet influenced by music for Holy Week by the French baroque composer François Couperin. Composing the new piece for performance at the Tanglewood Festival, where Golijov was a composition fellow in the 1990s, he wanted to evoke the stillness he remembered from listening to concerts there, lying on the grass, staring at the sky. Azul (blue in Spanish), named for the color of the deepening summer sky, was premiered at Tanglewood on August 4, 2006, and then played two days later at the Ravinia Festival, with Yo-Yo Ma joining the Chicago Symphony.
The many-faceted career of cellist Yo-Yo Ma is testament to his continual search for new ways to communicate with audiences, and to his personal desire for artistic growth and renewal. Whether performing a new concerto, revisiting a familiar work from the cello repertoire, coming together with colleagues for chamber music or exploring musical forms outside of the Western classical tradition, Mr. Ma strives to find connections that stimulate the imagination.
Yo-Yo Ma maintains a balance between his engagements as soloist with orchestras throughout the world and his recital and chamber music activities. He draws inspiration from a wide circle of collaborators, each fueled by the artists' interactions. One of Mr. Ma's goals is the exploration of music as a means of communication, and as a vehicle for the migrations of ideas, across a range of cultures throughout the world. Expanding upon this interest, Mr. Ma established the Silk Road Project to promote the study of the cultural, artistic and intellectual traditions along the ancient Silk Road trade route that stretched from the Mediterranean Sea to the Pacific Ocean . By examining the flow of ideas throughout this vast area, the Project seeks to illuminate the heritages of the Silk Road countries and identify the voices that represent these traditions today.
Program III – Tangos, Fados, and Dance
June 6-8, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. celebrated mezzo-soprano Luciana Souza, guitarist Scott Tennant, and tango dancer Rosa Collantes and her ensemble, grace the Symphony Hall stage in an evening of dance and song. From the Tangos of Argentina , the Bambucas of Columbia , the Marineras Trujillanas of Peru , to the Sambas of Brazil , Tango, Fados and Dance! will transport us to the steamy nights of Buenos Aires , Bogotá, Lima and Rio de Janeiro .
Blas Galindo was born in a remote village in the Mexican state of Jalisco, and did not begin to study music until he attended the Mexico City Conservatory. Here he was instructed by Carlos Chavez, Mexico ’s most famous composer. Galindo formed a group of four composers who sought to promote traditional Mexican music. Galindo promoted his works in the United States when he composed a piece for a concert at the New York Museum of Modern Art. In 1940 he conducted the first version of Sones de Mariachi. In this piece, popular Mexican tunes and styles are blended within the exuberant mariachi style.
Ernesto Lecuona y Casado was a Cuban composer and pianist of Basque descent, and worldwide fame. He composed over six hundred pieces, mostly in the Cuban vein, and was a pianist of exceptional quality. Among his most popular works Malaguena is one of those works which is short, characteristic, radio and 78rpm length friendly! These orchestral works evoked Cuba and its many cultures coming together. The mix of African, Spanish and native melodic, harmonic and rhythmic qualities made his music quite often irresistible on the dance floor. He was wildly popular in his heyday of the 1930’s and 1940s. With matinee-idol good looks and a fluent piano technique, he was labeled the George Gershwin of Cuban music.
Astor Piazzola’s (1921-1992) Fuga y Misterio introduces the Rosa Collantes dancers, who have created a brand new choreography for Astor Piazolla’s symphonic tangos, a tantalizing blend of counterpoint and driving rhythm.
Enrique Soro (1884-1954) is credited with composing Chile ’s first full-length symphony—his Sinfonia romántica in 1921. The title of this work gives a clue to the style of his entire output, which is based on the Romantic tradition of Tchaikovsky, Dvořák, and Verdi that was favored in Chile during his formative years. He also drew on native elements, particularly in some of his piano pieces, which feature Chilean melodic and rhythmic devices. Danza fantástica, composed in 1916, is a short, exuberant work that contrasts two main themes—the first with its pounding repeated notes, dizzy scales, and comic flitting touches and the contrasting second with its tuneful, Hollywoodesque lyricism.
Antônio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim (1927-1994) was born in Rio de Janeiro and died in New York . He was Grammy Award-winning Brazilian songwriter, composer, arranger, singer, and pianist/guitarist. A primary force behind the creation of the bossa nova style, Jobim is acknowledged as one of the most influential popular composers of the 20th century. His songs have been performed by many singers and instrumentalists within Brazil and internationally. A Jobim Tribute including Passarium, Águas de Março, Modinha, and Pato Prieto will be performed by vocalist Luciana Souza.
Silvestre Revueltas was a violinist who studied at the Mexican National Conservatory, at St. Edwards College in Austin , Texas , and at the Chicago Musical College . In Mexico , he conducted and taught at the National Conservatory. Sensemayá, chant to kill a snake, is based on a poem by Nicolas Guillen, an Afro-Cuban poet. The title seems to have been a word invented by the poet purely for its sound. The poem begins “Mayombe--bombe--Mayombe! /The snake has glossy eyes /The snake comes and coils itself around a tree /with its glossy eyes around a tree.” Revueltas's original setting in 1937 was for voice and small orchestra, but he revised it the next year for large orchestra. Its suggestions of paganism and primitivism accorded well with the spirit of much early twentieth century music.
It is not known exactly when Ángel Villoldo (1861-1919) composed his internationally renowned tango El choclo. The piece was premiered in 1903 at the elegant restaurant "El Americano" on 966 Cangallo Street by the orchestra led by José Luis Roncallo, who had to disguise it by titling the number "danza criolla,” because the owner of the local pub did not like tango music! Why "El choclo?” Irene Villoldo, sister of the composer, once explained, "El choclo was a pimp that was based in the surroundings of Junín and Lavalle. He was called by that name because of the color of his hair. When Villoldo wrote the first lyric of that tango he was careful not to allude to the pimp in it!” The Rosa Collantes Dancers will perform.
La Cumparsita by Gerardo Rodríguez (1897-1948) is one of the most famous and recognizable tango songs of all time. The title translates as "The little parade" and the original lyrics begin: "The little parade of endless miseries..." It was composed in the music room of Club Nacional de Football, and played for the first time in Confitería La Giralda, a cafeteria located where the Palacio Salvo now stands in downtown Montevideo . Among other appearances in popular media, it was included in a ball scene of the film Sunset Boulevard (1950) where it was danced by Gloria Swanson and William Holden, and could be heard in Take the Lead with Jenna Dewan, Dante Basco and Elijah Kelley. The Rosa Collantes Dancers will perform.
A suite of songs sung by Luciana Souza with guitarist Scott Tennant includes Ariel Ramirez’s Alfonsina y el Mar, a lament on the death of the Argentine poetess Alfonsina Storni, who threw herself into the sea at La Plata, and Tonada de la luna llena, by Simón Díaz, who is known mainly for his personal crusade aimed at the recovery of the lore and musical traditions of the llanos, the Venezuelan plains. Tonada de la luna llena is one of his most popular songs. Also included is Lúa Descolorida from Osvaldo Golijov’s La Pasion Ségun San Marcos, which is an homage to both Couperin's melismas in his Lessons of Tenebrae, and velvet bells coming from three different churches.
Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) Four Dances from Estancia is the first musico-dramatic work to draw upon the "gauchesco" literary and dance traditions, portraying through characteristic dance and song a "day-in-the-life" of an Argentine ranch. Striking rhythms pervade the suite, especially in "Los trabajadores agrícolas" ("The workers of the land"), "Los Peones de Hacienda" ("The Cattlemen"), and the concluding "Malambo"– the latter a type of dance in which gauchos compete through undertaking ever-more-energetic dance steps. "Danza del trigo" ("Wheat Dance") provides needed lyrical contrast.
Vocalist Luciana Souza is the daughter of poet Tereza Souza and singer-composer-guitarist Walter Santos. She grew up in São Paulo. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston from which she received a Bachelor's degree in Jazz Composition. She then received a Master's degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. She began her career at the age of three by recording jingles for commercials. She has also worked in the field of European classical music, working with the Bach Akademie in Stuttgart, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, composer Osvaldo Golijov, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the New York Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet.
Ms. Souza has been nominated three times for a Grammy Award as best jazz vocalist in 2002, 2003 and 2005. She has appeared and recorded with both renowned jazz musicians and composers of new music, including Danilo Perez, Hermeto Pascoal, Romero Lubambo, Maria Schneider, Kenny Werner, John Patitucci, and Osvaldo Golijov. Ms. Souza is a welcome and frequent guest of the Atlanta Symphony and has chosen some of the most beloved Jobim songs for this special orchestral suite.
Scott Tennant is a founding member of the Grammy-winning ensemble L.A. Guitar Quartet, which is composed entirely of USC alumni, and is himself considered to be one of the world’s top classical guitarists. During his student years at USC (1980-1986), he studied with Pepe Romero, James Smith and was a chosen performer in the USC Segovia Masterclasses of 1981 and 1986. He has authored several books and articles on guitar technique, including the best-seller Pumping Nylon, which has attained a “cult” classic status. It has become a standard text in conservatory and university guitar programs around the world.
Mr. Tennant has made numerous recordings as a soloist on the GHA, Delos and GSP labels, and with the LAGQ he has recorded for GHA, Delos , Sony Classical, Windham Hill, Deutsche Grammophon and Telarc labels. Their Telarc release LAGQ Latin was nominated for a Grammy award, and it was their current Telarc title LAGQ’s Guitar Heroes that won a Grammy as the best classical crossover recording of 2005. Mr. Tennant is best known for his performances of Spanish music, and his recordings of the music of Joaquín Rodrigo.
Rosa Collantes is an internationally renowned performer, choreographer and dance instructor. She has worked and studied with some of the most distinguished names in the Tango and Salsa world. She was part of the musical Camila at the Walnut Street Theatre. She created and co-produced the play Tango Du Jour in NY with great success.
Known for her unique and sensual style, Ms. Collantes has performed live at Manhattan 's illustrious venues, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center , and Madison Square Garden . She has made several TV appearances, including Good Morning America , Regis and Kathie Lee, and Sabado Gigante. She currently teaches Argentine tango and salsa at the UNSRC Ballroom Club of the United Nations and at Dance Manhattan Studios.