Posts Tagged “Classical Latin American music”

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On Tuesday July 29th, 2014, composer Carlos Jose Castro will be in New York for his World premiere performances of his newest works — Nocturno, for alto flute solo, Tres Bagatelas for clarinet and piano, and Concerto Serenata de la Luna for viola (version with piano). The performance will be part of a concert program titled CONCIERTico held at the Somethin’ Jazz Club on East 52nd Street in New York City and organized by the CRNGNYC.

Edmundo RamirezCONCIERTico is curated by Edmundo Ramirez, a Costa Rican-American violist based in New York City. Ramirez is no newcomer to promoting Latin American music. He is the former Artistic Administrator of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas in Washington DC, as well as the founder and artistic director of Ensamble America in New York City. He continues to promote Costa Rican Classical Music including works by composers Alejandro Cardona, Vinicio Meza and Allen Torres Castillo. Most recently he premiered Castro’s work for solo viola Kerwa  and revived and performed Benjamin Gutierrez’s Concerto for viola and Orchestra with the National Orchestra of Costa Rica and other orchestras in Europe. (watch Edmundo Ramirez performing the Russian Premiere of Benjamin Gutierrez’s Concerto for Viola and Orchestra ). Ramirez will also be performing the World premiere performance of the version with piano of Castro’s Concerto Serenata de la Luna.

Celebrating Costa Rican music, CONCIERTico features works by renowned Costa Rican composers Carlos Jose Castro and Benjamin Gutierrez.

Castro won the Latin Grammy award in 2008 for  Best Classical Contemporary Composition with his Concierto del Sol para guitarra y orquesta  and is three times winner (1992, 2002, 2004) of the Premio Nacional de Música de Costa Rica, Aquileo J. Echeverría, which is the highest award given by the Ministry of Culture. Castro’s music has been performed in the US and many countries including Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, England, Spain, Poland, Germany and Portugal. His compositions range from solo guitar, chamber instrumental works, orchestral works and opera. He has also composed and produced numerous scores for dance, theatre, video, film and radio, including collaborations with Radio Nederland for a series of radio dramas and documentaries. As well as teaching at the Instituto Nacional de la Música and the Universidad de Costa Rica, he has featured in Festivals worldwide as a composer and performer including at the Seminario de Composición Musical de Costa Rica, the Festival Latinoamericano de Caracas in Venezuela, the Festival de Compositores del Caribe in Habana, Cuba, the Iberoamericana Guitar Festival in Washington D.C., and the International Guitar Festivals de Costa Rica and Morelia. Castro is also a Board member of the Asociación de compositores y autores musicales de Costa Rica.

Carlos Jose Castro’s works featured in the concert on July 29th include  Ascenso, Arrullo, Como brisa de montaña, Recuerdas and Parrandera; his new work for clarinet and piano, Tres Bagatelas (being premiered during the concert); the 2nd movement of his viola Concerto Serenata de la Luna (receiving its premiere of its version with piano); and his newest work for alto flute Nocturno receiving its World premiere performance by flutist Laura Falzon

Flutist Laura Falzon

Castro’s Nocturno was written for flutist Laura Falzon. When asked whether he writes new   works with particular musicians in mind as interpreters, Castro explained that, “a composer has to be aware for whom he writes and in what context. That’s essential.”

Described in the London-based Music & Musicians magazine as “an excellent instrumentalist”, Laura Falzon has performed widely across the US and across the globe in countries including England, Scotland, Malta, France, Italy, Greece, Finland, the Jersey Islands and even India. An ardent advocate and passionate performer of contemporary music, Falzon has collaborated with composers from around the world on new works for flute in a variety of combinations, ranging from the conventional flute solo, flute & piano, and flute & orchestra, to works with electroacoustics as well as non-western instruments like the zheng, sitar, tabla, yoruba drums and tanpura. She has commissioned and premiered many flute works including Padma Phool by the Anglo-Indian composer John Mayer (mostly known as the founder of Indo-Jazz Fusion and, in the flute world, for his flute Concerto for Sir James Galway), and works by composers including compositions by Mohammed Fairouz, Bushra El-Turk, Theodore Wiprud, Alice Shields, Jan Gilbert, Shirish Korde, Nickos Harizanos, Dai Fujikura, John Mayer, Geoff Poole, Charles Camilleri. see

To better understand the intentions behind Carlos Jose Castro’s new work, Laura Falzon interviewed the composer and published the conversation on her site (read Interview with Composer – Laura Falzon talks to Carlos Jose Castro). Castro explains that his music “is a voyage of self-discovery,” and that “every piece has to be a window for something beyond music.” For Castro, melody is a very important part of his music and, as he explained to Falzon, he believes that “musical themes are meant to be remembered and treasured” adding that nonetheless “rhythm has to be vital.” The composer tells Falzon that he finds inspiration and ideas from his varied interests and personal experience with nature, literature, arts, drama and other musics. When asked whether there are any particular influences on his music, Castro explained that he “take[s] from everywhere, from Latin popular music, rock, folklore from all over the World, minimalism, expressionism, African tribal music, romanticism, classicism, protest songs, all kinds of jazz, Bach, et al.,” He adds that he does not “believe in barriers, musically speaking, and tries in [his] musical language to integrate as many dialects as possible.” This allows him “to express better the human experience.”
In Castro’s words, “Polyphony is ever present, even in a single line [in his works]. Modality, tonality, atonality, classicism, romanticism, modernism, minimalism, impressionism, all coexist in my music.”

Castro’s other work for woodwind being performed during the evening, Tres Bagatelas, will also receive its World premiere performance by clarinetist Ana Catalina Ramirez, together with pianist Graciela Arguedas who will also perform solo piano works by Benjamin Gutierrez including his Añoranza and Preludio para la Danza de la Pena Negra.

Composer Benjamin Gutierrez, one of the co-founders of the composition school in Costa Rica and winner of many National and International prestigious music awards, studied with Darius Milhaud and Alberto Ginastera. Many of his works reflect literary and historical influences. Divergent tonalities move his music into post-romanticism. Just like Carlos Castro an important characteristic of Gutierrez’s work are the lyrical melodic lines in his music.

Clarinetist Adrian Sandi will perform composer Andres Soto’s Variaciones Patrioticas for bass clarinet and piano and Soto himself, who will be present at the concert, will perform his work Melus Purus for piano solo.

Other performers on the program include Felipe Fournier percussion & composer; Max Esquivel bassist, composer; Andres A. Marín composer, drummer; and, Dani Blau singer/songwriter.

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