American Composers Orchestra

 

Sonidos de las Américas: Cuba

 


view Sonidos: Cuba
schedule of events

essay:
Sources in Cuban Music

A history of Cuban concert music

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"One of the most significant features of Cuban music is the blurring of lines between folk, jazz and classical traditions and the unique blending of cultural influences from Africa, Europe and the U.S."

--Composer Tania León

 


view Sonidos: Cuba
schedule of events

essay:
Sources in Cuban Music

A history of Cuban concert music

Español

aco homepage


for tickets
to CARNEGIE HALL
events call
CarnegieCharge:
212-247-7800
Or visit
Carnegie Hall’s
Box Office

FOR OTHER EVENTS
call the appropriate
box office listed
for that event

FOR GENERAL INFO
CALL ACO
at 212.977.8495


view Sonidos: Cuba
schedule of events

essay:
Sources in Cuban Music

A history of Cuban concert music

Español

aco homepage


 

 

 

 

 


view Sonidos: Cuba
schedule of events

essay:
Sources in Cuban Music

A history of Cuban concert music

Español

aco homepage


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Festival brings together
Cuban & U.S. musicians,
March 2 - 14.

Delegation of composers to participate in landmark series of performances and international exchange activities

 

The music of Cuba is the focus of Sonidos de las Américas, a festival which takes place March 2 - 14, 1999 at Carnegie Hall and other venues around New York City. Presented by the American Composers Orchestra in conjunction with several New York cultural institutions, Sonidos de las Américas includes more than a dozen performances presenting the full spectrum of Cuban music from folkloric traditions, to Afro-Cuban jazz, to chamber and concert music. The festival culminates on Sunday, March 14 at Carnegie Hall with a performance of Cuban orchestral music by the American Composers Orchestra under the baton of Music Director Dennis Russell Davies.

Participating in the festival are more than 50 artists from Cuba and the U.S., including the largest delegation of Cuban and Cuban-born composers ever assembled in the United States, with such award winning contemporary composers as Harold Gramatges, Aurelio de la Vega, and Tania León. Also represented is music by such revered national composers as Ernesto Lecuona, Alejandro Caturla Julian Orbon, Ignacio Cervantes, and Amadeo Roldan. In addition to concerts, musician-delegates participate in a number of educational, cultural exchange, and professional development activities, such as symposia, master classes, pre-concert talks, and composer-to-composer sessions, which foster communication among artists as well as audiences.

"One of the most significant features of Cuban music is the blurring of lines between folk, jazz and classical traditions and the unique blending of cultural influences from Africa, Europe and the U.S." says ACO's Latin American Music Advisor, the Cuban-born composer/conductor Tania León. "We hope to explore the wide range of Cuban musical invention during the course Sonidos." ACO executive director, Michael Geller, concurs, "Cuban musicians are amazing! In doing our research for the festival we examined hundreds of scores and tapes. We spent time in Havana, where we heard classical musicians who also improvise in the jazz style, and pop musicians who were conservatory-trained. We've found any and all of these sources tapped in Cuban music." "The festival marks the presence of a magical Caribbean world in the context of a very important cultural event," says Harold Gramatges, one of Cuba's leading composers. "I think it is a unique opportunity to explore how Cuban classical music has developed and how it continues to be written in relation to our popular music which is, of course, much better known," Gramatges adds.

more than a dozen performancesphoto by Hazel Hanken

The festival opens on Tuesday, March 2 at Weill Recital Hall, when the New York Festival of Song presents "Dance Date with Cuba" featuring popular song, art songs and zarzuela arias by Lecuona, Roldan and Caturla, as well as more recent works by Odaline de la Martinez and Tania León.

The focus shifts to Havana's early piano masters Ernesto Lecuona and Ignacio Cervantes, and their living legacy with a cabaret-style "Noche de Piano: Lecuona, Cervantes y Mas" on Friday, March 5 at Joe's Pub at The Public Theater. Lecuona and Cervantes combined traditional Cuban dance forms with European salon music. This performance explores their music and their modern-day legacy with more piano interpretations of Cuban "danzas" from later composers including Felix Guerrero, Enrique Ubieta, Marco Rizo, and Juan Piñera. Featured pianists are Huberal Herrera, Nohema Fernandez, and Thomas Tirino.

Cuba's sophisticated jazz-folk a cappella singing tradition, known as "Bembe," will be explored by Catarsis, a group from Havana that is among the most adventurous practitioners of this intoxicating musical form. Joining them is the Havana Ensemble, a cutting-edge group made up of alumni from the famous Irakere band. The performance is at Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture in the Bronx on Saturday evening, March 6.

photo credit: Marc GellerCuban drumming, both traditional and avant-garde are intermingled in a program entitled "Ritmos Electricos" at the Knitting Factory in downtown Manhattan on Monday evening March 8. Master percussionist Orlando Rios leads the festivities with his ensemble Nueva Generación. This program explores Cuban percussion from African roots to the electronic.

Interest in Afro-Cuban jazz has reached fever-pitch in the U.S. and the festival includes important concerts featuring top performers from Havana and from New York. Saturday evening, March 13 at Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture, Adalberto Alverez y su Son performs with the Harbor Conservatory Latin Big Band. Alvarez is one of the kings of son, the hottest of Cuban popular forms. And on Sunday night, March 14 at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe downtown, Oriente Lopez y Patrulla Click officially wraps-up the festival's activities with a late-night Afro-Cuban jam session.

Traditional and contemporary Cuban chamber music will be explored in several forms and venues during the festival. On Tuesday, March 9 at the Americas Society, the Quintet of the Americas offers woodwind music by Harold Gramatges, Guido Lopez-Gavilon, José Raul Bernardo, Calixto Alvarez, and Paquito d'Rivera. A program of "Cuartetos Cubanos" features the Herencia String Quartet, a group of young professionals dedicated to Latin American repertoire on Wednesday, March 10 in the Newman Theatre at The Public Theater. Friday, March 12 at 8pm at Weill Recital Hall features the ACO Chamber Players in a program juxtaposing contemporary Cuban national and expatriate composers. The concert features music by Orlando Garcia, José Loyola, Juan Piñera, and Keyla Maria Orozco. On Saturday, March 13, The Bronx Arts Ensemble appears with Dave Valentin, flute, featuring Cuban composers Danilo Aviles and Ernesto Lecuona in a program that brings together Latin jazz and chamber music.

aco at Carnegie Hall, March 14

For the American Composers Orchestra, Sonidos de las Américas: Cuba could not be complete without a thorough exploration of country's orchestral music, and ACO will do that in the festival's grand finale, Sunday, March 14 at 3pm, when the American Composers Orchestra takes the Carnegie Hall stage under the baton of Music Director Dennis Russell Davies, to perform music by five of this century's most influential Cuban composers: Harold Gramatges, Aurelio de la Vega, Leo Brouwer, Julian Orbon and Ernesto Lecuona. Lecuona, known as the Cuban Gershwin, is represented by Rapsodia Negra for Piano and Orchestra, a bright splashy work, featuring Cuban-born pianist Santiago Rodriguez. Mr. Rodriguez, a 1981 Silver Medalist in the Van Cliburn Competition, has is known for his eclectic repertoire which ranges from Bach to Ginastera.

Mr. Gramatges, head of the Music Division of the Composers Union and Cuba's leading composer, will be heard in his Serenata for String Orchestra. World renown composer and guitarist, Leo Brouwer, also the conductor of the Cordoba orchestra of Spain and music director of Havana's Symphony orchestra, contributes his Cancion de Gesta. Two large orchestral works, Adios by Cuban-American composer, Aurelio de la Vega, and Trés Versiones Sinfonicas by Julian Orbon, perhaps Cuba's greatest composer, and certainly one of the leading Latin American composers of the latter part of the century, complete the varied program. The composers, Gramatges, Brouwer, and de la Vega, will participate in the festival and appear at a pre-concert discussion of their works at 1:45 pm in Carnegie Hall.

For tickets for the Carnegie Hall concerts on March 12 and 14, call CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800. For information on other Sonidos de las Américas: Cuba festival events call appropriate box office for that event. For a complete schedule of festival events, or further information call ACO at 212-977-8495.

about the sonidos festivals

This is the sixth annual Sonidos de las Américas festival presented by the American Composers Orchestra. Five previous Sonidos festivals (devoted to the music of Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Puerto Rico and Argentina) have already introduced U.S. audiences to over 150 Latin American works in more than 40 concerts. Over ninety composers and performers from Latin America have traveled to New York for the festivals. Concerts have been recorded for radio broadcast throughout the U.S. and Latin America. Sonidos de las Américas has garnered international media attention and overwhelmingly positive testimonials from all festival participants. It has effectively reopened cultural ties between the Americas. ACO's music director Dennis Russell Davies and Latin American music advisor, composer/conductor Tania León, conceived the idea for the festival through a desire to showcase the abundant and rich body of Latin American music, which like the music of U.S. composers, is infrequently performed on concert programs in the United States.

The American Composers Orchestra is the world's only orchestra dedicated exclusively to performing symphonic works by American composers. Through its concert series at Carnegie Hall, recordings, radio broadcasts, educational programs, new music reading sessions, and commissions, ACO identifies today's brightest emerging composers, champions this country's prominent established composers as well as those lesser-known, and increases regional and national awareness of the infinite varieties—stylistic, geographic, and ethnic—of American orchestral music. The Orchestra has programmed 400 works by 343 American composers, including 108 world premieres and 87 commissions, generating more new American Symphonic works than any other orchestra. Recordings by ACO are available on ARGO, CRI, ECM, Point, MusicMasters, Tzadik, and New World Records.

presenting partners & supporters

Sonidos de las Américas: Cuba is presented by the American Composers Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, Americas Society, ASCAP, BMI, Joe's Pub, Bronx Arts Ensemble, Caribbean Cultural Center, Cuban Research Institute of Florida International University, Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts at Boys Harbor, Hostos Center for Arts & Culture, Joe's Pub, The Juilliard School, King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center at New York University, The Knitting Factory, Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, New York Festival of Song, Nuyorican Poets Café, The Public Theater, and Quintet of the Americas.

Sonidos de las Américas: Cuba is made possible with a major support from the Ford Foundation, and Mr. Thomas Buckner. Support of the American Composers Orchestra is from Alliance Capital Management L.P., the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Booth Ferris Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Geraldine C. and Emory M. Ford Foundation, Mr. Francis Goelet, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, J.P. Morgan & Co., the Virgil Thomson Foundation, and the Helen F. Whitaker Fund. ACO programs are also made possible with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

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