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New Music in Morelia

Morelia (in the State of Michoacan, Mexico) will be hosting its Fifth Contemporary Music Festival from June 1-6. Although relatively young, the festival has gathered prestige and generated enthusiasm in the course of a few years, thanks in part to a list of distinguished composers and performers. Just a few names: Helmut Lachenmann, International Contemporary Ensemble, Robert Platz, Nicholas Isherwood, Carlos Sánchez Gutierrez, Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Manuel Rocha, Dynamis Ensemble.

This year Morelia will be listening to some world-renowned composers and performers such as Philippe Manoury (France), Jack Body (New Zealand), S21-well-known Wilfrido Terrazas (Mexico), Orlando Jacinto García (Cuba), Eddie Mora (Costa Rica), Ekaterina Shatskaya (Russia), Iracema de Andrade (Brazil), and Christophe Desjardins (France). Concerts, lectures, and workshops will be given in the course of the week.

If the musical guests intrigue you, it should be mentioned that Morelia is known to be one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico. Its colonial architecture and rich cultural life make it an attractive destination. But now I’m beginning to sound like a promoter of tourism for the State of Michoacán.

The festival is organized by the Government of the State of Michoacán, the Mexican Center for Music and Sound Art (CMMAS, after its spanish abbreviation and whom I thank for the information) and the Conservatorio de las Rosas. It promises to be another interesting edition.


Comment from contrarian
Time: May 22, 2009, 7:39 pm

Isn’t it disingenous to say that Garcia is from Cuba when he emigrated at age 7?

Comment from Steve Layton
Time: May 22, 2009, 7:52 pm

I suppose it might depend on how much the composer ‘owns’ their origins & heritage. A lot of a person’s personality can be shaped before they’re seven, don’t you think? From there, they can either embrace their new country completely, or highlight their roots for sincere (or cynical) reasons. Hey, I’m 3rd-generation Norwegian and *still* have some weird echo of place (a place I’ve never even been!) inside me.

Comment from Christian
Time: May 24, 2009, 5:36 pm

I think it’s important to respect how composers self-identify. For some, ethnicity of origin is an important touchstone.

I echo Steve’s sentiments: my family came over to the US during the Potato Famine, but my Irish and German heritage are significant parts of my family’s ‘story;’ as are New York City and Long Island!


Comment from Roberto Barnard Baca
Time: May 27, 2009, 2:03 pm


Comment from Roberto Barnard Baca
Time: May 27, 2009, 2:06 pm

El quien por su gusto es güey, hasta la coyunda lame….

Comment from zeno
Time: May 27, 2009, 2:15 pm

This programming sounds very exciting. And the 16th c. urban center of Morelia was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991!


Philippe Manoury (France) and Christophe Desjardins (France) will also be at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. tomorrow night offering an appetizer to the Morelia festival:

– Gerard Grisey: Prologue (1976) 15’ for solo viola and electronic effects

– Sébastien Béranger: Le triangle de Pascal (2003) 10’ for solo viola

– Philippe Manoury: Partita I (2007) 45’ for solo viola and live electronic effects

Comment from Iván Sparrow
Time: May 29, 2009, 10:29 am

Zeno, thanks for the great update!

Comment from zeno
Time: May 29, 2009, 2:36 pm

Ivan, you are welcome.

The concert last night at the French Embassy was fantastic, and Mssr Manoury mentioned the upcoming performance in Mexico, as well other performances in the U.S., including NYC toward the end of the tour.

It was perhaps the best concert here of the past season. As performed exquisitely by Mssr Desjardins, the Grisey was poetic with subtle electronic effects, whereas the Manoury was an increasingly intense and layered, almost full-scale concerto for viola and ensemble (in this case, a well-balanced set of 6 surround sound speakers).

For those who can’t catch the concert in Morelia, New York City, or California, the Kairos label (Vienna) has just released a recording of Partita I, with the work’s commissioner Christophe Desjardins, but with a sound technician from IRCAM (Paris), rather than from GRAME (Lyon).

(Another great concert of the season here was NYC’s Argento Ensemble performing Georg Friedrich Haas’s ‘in vain’ at the Austrian Embassy. It is also available on Kairos.)

Comment from Steve Layton
Time: June 1, 2009, 9:20 am

Michael Lodico also just reviewed this DC concert, here: