2022 Horizons Summer Concert Series
The Horizons Summer Music Series is delighted to present six extremely varied and exciting concerts on Sundays in June and July of 2022. From jazz to recitals to chamber music, there is something here for everyone to enjoy and appreciate. After two years without live concerts, the thirst for events like this is palpable. It may seem like an entire eon ago, but the Spring of 2019 brought about the auspicious completion of the Kitt Recital Hall at the NAU School of Music (now the Kitt School of Music). What better way to celebrate the advent of such a splendid concert space than to establish a summer music series in this wonderful acoustical environment? The Horizons Summer Music Series was born from this inspiration and, after two years, it rises again!
I look forward to seeing you at Kitt Recital Hall this June and July.
Cris Inguanti —Director, Horizons Summer Concert Series
Tickets for all 2022 Horizons Concert Series are available here.
Your support helps ensure the continuation of the Horizons Concert Series.
All gifts should be made directly to the NAU Foundation.
Please note that several title page sponsorships are available.
Premier sponsor $3,000 (only one per concert)
Patron sponsor $1,000 (up to three per concert)
June 5: Borealis String Quartet Accordion Closed
Performing at 3pm in Kitt Recital Hall
One of the most dynamic and exciting world-class ensembles of its generation the Borealis String Quartet— Comprised of Patricia Shih and Yuel Yawney on violins, Nikita Pogrebnoy on viola, and Sungyong Lim on cello, has received international critical acclaim; praised for their fiery performances, passionate style, and refined, musical interpretation.
String Quartet in G minor, Op. 27 (1877-78) Edvard Grieg
Grieg’s String Quartet In G minor, Op. 27, is the second of his forays into this genre; his first, early quartet from 1861, has been lost, while his third, in F major (1891), is incomplete. The work is largely autobiographical in its cyclical use of the melody of his Ibsen song, entitled Spillemaend, whose text meditates upon a poet’s separation from his beloved. The theme appears in all four movements of the work in various guises, tying the Quartet together into a unified whole. When Grieg presented the Quartet to his publisher, Peters, it was rejected as being too heavily textured for a string quartet, given its frequent use of double-stopping. After gaining popularity, however, Peters relented and belatedly published the piece. Grieg wrote of the work, “I have recently finished a string quartet which I still haven’t heard. It is in G minor and is not intended to bring trivialities to the market. It strives towards breadth, soaring flight, and above all resonance for the instruments for which it was written.” In its innovative musical language, the G minor Quartet acts as a bridge between the late Beethoven quartets and Debussy’s Quartet.
String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110 (1960) Dmitri Shostakovich
Shostakovich wrote his eighth string quartet in C minor, Op. 110 over the period of three days, from July 12-14, 1960. The piece is intensely personal in its relentless use of the “Shostakovich motive” – the notes D, Eb, C, B – which in German notation cryptically spell his name – Dmitri S(Bb)C(Eb)H(B)ostakovich. This motive occurs only in the most personally descriptive of his works, including his 10th and 15th symphonies and the violin and cello concertos. Given that the piece was written after Shostakovich was reluctantly made to join the communist party, such an anguished use of musical autobiography comes as no surprise. In addition to the DSCH motive, the quartet is filled with self-quotes from his symphonies, chamber music, and operas. He dedicated it to “the victims of fascism and war”, clearly including himself within that group. Although the Quartet is set in five movements, they are played without pause. Shostakovich privately described the work as a “eulogy for himself”, having written a piece that can certainly be counted among the most powerful and profound of the 20th century.
June 12: THE GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK Accordion Closed
Performing at 3pm in Kitt Recital Hall
What are we referring to when we talk about the “Great American Songbook”? Well, included within this rather imposing title are the most influential American songs and jazz standards from the mid 20th century. These songs, which were written predominately for Hollywood and Broadway, became the core repertoire for jazz musicians from the 1920’s to the 1960’s and are a cornerstone of the American cultural experience. Key to the Great American Songbook were standards by George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, and Richard Rodgers, amongst others. Singers who immortalized the Songbook were the legends Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, etc etc etc, and this great tradition of song is kept alive in the present by singers like Diana Krall and Michael Buble. New York vocalist and composer Ashley Pezzotti brings her own personal slant on these great classics and more, backed up by the region’s finest jazz musicians, comprising the AZ All-Star Quartet.
Ashley discovered her love for music when her Dominican father would sing her classic Spanish songs to sleep. She began taking voice lessons at only 4 years old, and in 2018 she completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music with a full tuition scholarship.
At the young age of 25 years old, Ashley has performed with renowned artists such as Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra, Arturo Sandoval, Joey Alexander, Dave Holland, Jon Secada, and country star Keith Urban. In the spring of 2019, Ashley participated in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program where she was mentored by Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jason Moran, Casey Benjamin, Marcus Printup, and Peter Martin and performed her original compositions at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.
Her 2019 critically acclaimed debut album “We’ve Only Just Begun” features an array of original compositions inspired by the Great American Songbook. Ashley also showcases her superb ability to tell a story through some of the great jazz standards featured on the album. The album features a world class band including Emmet Cohen on piano, Alex Weitz on tenor saxophone, Bob Bruya on bass, and Kyle Poole on drums. The release was accompanied by a national tour including performances at Birdland Jazz Club, The Velvet Note, The Nash, The Jazz Showcase, and Dizzy’s Club at Jazz At Lincoln Center.
Ashley is featured on Wynton Marsalis’ 2020 album release on Blue Engine Records, The Ever Fonky Lowdown, along with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. The album is a sweeping Marsalis suite that captures the artist’s insight on culture and society.
June 19: Inna Faliks, Piano Accordion Closed
Performing at 7pm in Kitt Recital Hall
Ukrainian-born American pianist, Inna Faliks, presents some of the most profound and exquisite music in the piano repertoire by Beethoven and Ravel. This concert is jointly sponsored by the Flagstaff Piano Festival.
“Adventurous and passionate” (The New Yorker) Ukrainian-born American pianist Inna Faliks has made a name for herself through her commanding performances of standard piano repertoire, as well genre-bending interdisciplinary projects, and inquisitive work with contemporary composers. After her acclaimed teenage debuts at the Gilmore Festival and with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, she has performed on many of the world’s great stages, with numerous orchestras and in solo appearances. Faliks is currently Professor of Piano and Head of Piano at UCLA. Critics praise her “courage to take risks, expressive intensity and technical perfection” (General Anzeiger, Bonn), “remarkable insight” (Audiophile audition) “poetry and panoramic vision” (Washington Post), “riveting passion, playfulness” (Baltimore Sun) and “signature blend of lithe grace and raw power” (Lucid Culture.)
Her recent releases recorded during the pandemic, Reimagine Beethoven and Ravel – 9 premieres on Navona Records, and The Schumann Project Volume 1, on MSR Classics, have received rave reviews internationally, made numerous best of 2021 lists, and played on numerous radio stations, including NPR’s Performance Today. After her all-Beethoven CD release on MSR, WTTW called Faliks “High priestess of the piano, concert pianist of the highest order, as dramatic and subtle as a great stage actor.” Her first CD on MSR Classics, Sound of Verse, was released in 2009, featuring music of Boris Pasternak, Rachmaninoff and Ravel. Her discography also includes “Polonaise-Fantasie, Story of a Pianist” for Delos – an autobiographical monologue-recital of short piano works from Bach and Chopin to Gershwin and Carter.
Faliks is the founder and curator of the of the Manhattan Arts Council award winning poetry-music series Music/Words, creating performances in collaboration with distinguished poets. This has been described as “surreal, impactful, and relevant” (Lucid Culture). Her long-standing relationship with WFMT radio has led to multiple broadcasts of Music/Words, which she had produced alongside some of the nation’s most recognized poets in performances throughout the United States. An artist known for his versatility, Faliks is equally at home with standard repertoire, rare and new music, and interdisciplinary performances. She recently co-starred with Downton Abbey star Lesley Nicol in “Admission – One Shilling” ,a play for pianist and actor about the life of Dame Myra Hess, the great British pianist. She tours with her autobiographical recital-monologue, “Polonaise-Fantasie, the Story of a Pianist” throughout the US and Canada. Constantly in dialogue with today’s composers, she has had works composed for her by Timo Andres, Billy Childs, Richard Danielpour, Paola Prestini, Ljova, Clarice Assad, Peter Golub, and many more. She was the winner of many prestigious competitions, including Hilton Head International Piano Competition and International Pro Musicis Award.
Faliks is internationally in demand as an Artist Teacher, and frequently adjudicates competitions gives masterclasses and travels to Artist Residencies in major conservatories and universities around the world. In March 2019, Faliks was Artistic Director of Classical Music for YoungArts LA, working with the nation’s top young musicians and composers, as well as directing concerts, panels and masterclasses. As a writer, she has been published by LA Times and Washington Post. During Covid, she started a weekly online recital series, Corona Fridays, featuring childrens concerts, new music, and poetry. Her musical memoir, “Weight in the Fingertips,” will be out in 2023, published by Globe Pequot.
Inna Faliks is a Yamaha Artist. www.innafaliks.com
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, one of the definitions of a bagatelle states that it is “a short literary or musical piece in a light style”. Beethoven wrote his op.126 Bagatelles in 1825, during his late compositional period, and dedicated them to his brother, Nikolaus Johann van Beethoven. So, although they may indeed be short in duration, they in no way adhere to the first of Merriam-Webster’s first definition of the term, which labels a bagatelle as a “trifle”. Rather, these are six exquisite pieces of great variety, each of which describes a mood or character with the greatest economy of means. In fact, upon their completion, Beethoven wrote to his publisher, Schott, that in this genre they “are probably the best I’ve written”, and he clearly intended them to be played consecutively, as he wrote in the margin of the first bagatelle that they were a “cycle of little pieces”.
Maurice Ravel wrote his “Gaspard de la Nuit” in 1908, and each of the three movements of the work is based on a poem by Aloysius Bertrand. The piece was premiered by Ricardo Vines, a great friend of Ravel’s, and is famously difficult, in that it was specifically written to surpass Balakirev’s “Islamey” in difficulty. The title, “Gaspard de la Nuit”, can be loosely translated to refer to a person who guards the things of the night – those that are dark, morose, and mysterious. Ondine, a water nymph, sings to an observer to lure him to her at the bottom of the lake where she lives, and where he will die, in Le Gibet, a bell tolls in a distant city while a corpse swings from a gibbet in the desert; and Scarbo, the most technically challenging of the movements, refers to the night-time mischief of a goblin-like figure.
Inna Faliks has commissioned nine American-based composers to write works for her that comment directly on the pieces that follow them in the program. Peter Golub’s Bagatelle, therefore, was written in response to the first of Beethoven’s first Op. 126 Bagatelles, while Mark Carlson’s Sweet Nothings is a reflection upon the fifth Bagatelle, etc etc. Although each composer wrote independently of the other, the astonishing result of the “Reimagine: Beethoven and Ravel” project is that, without exception, all of the nine composers have written a short work that encapsulates the tempo, mood, character, and architecture of the Beethoven Bagatelle or movement of Ravel that follows it. Although the harmonic language of the originals and the new works that they inspired differ, their connection could not be clearer.
June 26: Steven Moeckel, Violin and Paula Fan, Piano Accordion Closed
Performing at 3pm in Kitt Recital Hall
Works by Elgar, Shostakovich, and Kreisler
Join NAU Associate Professor of Violin, Steven Moeckel (former concertmaster of the Phoenix Symphony), and his marvelous duo partner, Paula Fan, for an afternoon of rarely heard masterworks for the violin and piano.
Steven Moeckel first appeared as concerto soloist at the age of 8. Since then, he has continued to solo with orchestras throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, interrupted only by a two year period as Principal Soprano Soloist of the renowned Vienna Boy’s Choir.
Steven has performed as chamber musician and recitalist with Leon Fleisher and Menachem Pressler at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival and frequently appears in concert with William Wolfram. Notable performances include recitals at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Colorado College Music Festival and the Sunriver Music Festival. With his long time partner pianist Paula Fan, Moeckel has toured Europe and the Americas, and performed the complete cycle of the ten Beethoven Sonatas three times to critical acclaim. Together they have recorded three albums. His most recent album with Indiana University pianist, Joanna Goldstein, celebrates the works of women composers during the time of suffrage.
As a teacher he has served as a coach for the New World Symphony in Miami and in 2019 was invited to participate in the National Alliance for Audition Support, a group that trains minority classical musicians in audition preparation in conjunction with the Sphinx Organization, the New World Symphony and The league of American Orchestras. Other frequent coaching and guest lecturing opportunities include invitations to the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Arizona State University, and Brigham Young University.
A graduate of the famous Mozarteum in Salzburg and Indiana University in Bloomington, IN, Steven’s principal teachers include Helmuth Zehetmeir, Ruggiero Ricci, Leonidas Kavakos and Miriam Fried. He has served as concertmaster of the Ulm Philharmonic in Germany, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, The Phoenix Symphony and in 2019 was awarded the Concertmaster position of the prestigious Santa Fe Opera. Currently he is on the faculty at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
Although Edward Elgar is considered that most English of composers, he abhorred folk music, eschewing even a whiff of their inclusion in his works, unlike his contemporaries Vaughn Williams and Delius. Rather, his works spring from the musical traditions of central Europe during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His Sonata was written in 1918, and he offered the dedication of the piece to his friend Marie Joshua. Elgar was, himself, a very accomplished violinist, and his compositions for the instrument are, not surprisingly, completely idiomatic. He was horrified by the events of WWI, and the pieces he wrote during and immediately after this dark period in European history reflect this emotional upheaval. As a result, his violin sonata, composed in 1918, is a turbulently emotional work – a far cry from his Pomp and Circumstance marches. On the other hand, his pieces “Salut d’amour” and “La Capriciuese”, written far earlier in his career, could not be more charming. Originally titled “Liebesgruss”, “Salut d’amour” was presented to Caroline Alice Roberts as an engagement present, and was dedicated to her. After experiencing poor sales, Elgar’s publisher, Schott, changed the title of the piece from German to the French, after which its fame was immediate. It received its premiere at the Crystal Palace in 1889. Like “Salut d’amour”, “La Capricieuse” is a musical miniature, dedicated to Fred Ward and premiered in 1891. These two works were championed by Fritz Kreisler, one of the greatest of all violinists and the dedicatee of Elgar’s Violin Concerto. The pieces are so abundantly charming that they were instrumental in the creation of Kreisler’s fame.
In addition to his great stature as a violinist, Fritz Kreisler was a very accomplished pianist and also a composer. Liebeslied (Love’s Sorrow) and Liebesfreud (Love’s Joy) comprise two of a group of three highly evocative pieces from his set entitled “Alt Wiener Tanzweisen” (Old Viennese Melodies), published in 1905. Kreisler frequently played these pieces as encores to his performances. His musical training began in Vienna, where he was born, and, after transferring his studies to the Paris Conservatory, he graduated with the Premier Prix gold medal at the age of twelve. Although he lived the majority of his life in Europe, Kreisler moved to the United States at the outbreak of WW2 and became a naturalized citizen in 1943.
Richard Strauss was only twenty-four and at the beginning of his vastly long career as a composer when he wrote his Sonata for Violin and Piano in 1888. At the time he was courting Pauline de Ahna, a soprano he later married, and his Sonata is imbued with the romantic feelings he had for her. Interestingly, Strauss, upon hearing Elgar’s oratorio “The Dream of Gerontius”, toasted his colleague, calling him “the first English progressive musician, Meister Elgar”. The connections between the three composers featured on this program make this concert a fascinating exploration of the intertwining that musical lives so often take, resulting in a shared esthetic sense that ignores geographical borders.
July 10: NAU New Kids on the Block Accordion Closed
Performing at 3pm in Kitt Recital Hall
Works by Ginastera and Schubert
NAU Kitt School of Music celebrates new faculty and distinguished guests in performances of Schubert’s profound Cello Quintet and piano works by Ginastera (Katie McLin and Allison O’Bryant, violin; Jacqueline Schwandt, viola; Mary Ann Ramos and Eric Lenz, cello; Silvan Negrutiu, piano).
Allison O’Bryant hails from Boone, North Carolina, and has studied violin with Ruth Ioga, Glenn Muegel, Donna Fairbanks, and Igor Gruppman. She is a local violinist in Flagstaff, Arizona, and is member of the Dark Skies String Quartet. She is a preschool workbook author, teacher, and mother of four beautiful children.
Eric Lenz recently joined NAU as Director of the Kitt School of Music, where he is excited to work with colleagues, students, and staff to chart new paths for music and the arts. Lenz’s previous appointment was School of Music Director and Professor of Cello at Southern Illinois University. He has performed with orchestras across the US, including Illinois Symphony, Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Alabama Symphony, and Spoleto Festival. He has performed in venues such as the Banff Centre, the Chinese Central Conservatory in Beijing, Conservatoire d’Angers (France), Festival Suoni D’Abruzzo (Italy), and Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall. Lenz holds degrees from St. Olaf College (music & mathematics), University of Alabama, and Cleveland Institute of Music. His playing can be heard on recordings such as Neoteric Plays Hoffer and Crossings, both on Albany Records.
Hailed as “a startling and authentic pianist displaying rich imagination and brilliant vigor, whose precision and splendor of keyboard sound certainly inspire a transcendental reality” (The Musical News Journal, Bucharest), Silvan Negruţiu has performed on major international stages, from the Kennedy Center in Washington DC to Ireland’s National Concert Hall, the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest, the Xi’an Concert Hall in China, the Showa Recital Hall in Tokyo, and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. His recent albums released by Centaur Records, “Bagatelles” (2021) and “Carl Roskott: Works for Violin” (2018) in collaboration with violinist Akemi Takayama, have garnered rave reviews and a Silver Medal from Global Music Awards. As an artist, a teacher, and a scholar, Silvan Negruțiu embraces the exploration of rare piano literature, along with the advancement of arts entrepreneurship in higher education. He holds degrees from Shenandoah Conservatory in Virginia (D.M.A.), the Royal Irish Academy of Music and Dublin City University in Ireland (M.Mus.), and the Romanian National University of Music in Bucharest (B.Mus.). Silvan Negruțiu serves as Associate Professor and Director of Piano Studies at Northern Arizona University, and Artistic Director of Flagstaff Piano Festival.
Dr. Mary Ann Ramos has been on cello faculty at Northern Arizona University since the Fall of 2010.
Dr. Ramos has been involved with the Sphinx Organization since 2000, in various different capacities. She was a semi-finalist of the Sphinx Competition Junior Division in 2000, and of the Senior Division in 2004. Since 2002, Dr. Ramos has been a regular member of the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, and has performed with the Sphinx Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra in concert at Carnegie Hall. She has been on faculty at the Sphinx Performance Academy every summer since 2011.
Dr. Ramos completed her Bachelor’s degree at New England Conservatory as a student of Laurence Lesser, her Master’s degree at Cleveland Institute of Music as a student of Richard Aaron, and her Doctorate at University of Michigan as a student of Anthony Elliott.
Violinist Katherine McLin enjoys an extremely varied and prolific performing career as a concerto soloist, recitalist, and chamber and orchestral musician. Since her debut with the Oregon Symphony at the age of 15, she has made well over 100 appearances as soloist with orchestras across the country on repertoire spanning three centuries, including the recent world premiere performance of Lera Auerbach’s Twofold Dreams, a double concerto for violin and piano with the composer at the piano. Engagements in 2022 include Beethoven Triple Concerto (ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, OH), Brahms Violin Concerto (West Valley Symphony Orchestra, AZ), Mozart Concerto No. 4 (Uruguay National Symphony), and Piazzolla Four Seasons (PCO).
As a member of the McLin/Campbell Duo with pianist Andrew Campbell and frequent chamber music collaborator with colleagues around the world, Katherine McLin performs extensively throughout the United States and abroad. She is a frequent guest artist at summer chamber music festivals, appearing in recent years at the Interharmony Music Festival (Italy), Saarburg Chamber Music Festival (Germany), Festival of the Black Hills (SD), Chintimini Festival (OR), and Rocky Ridge Music Festival (CO), to name a few. She has also been a featured performer in numerous national and international conferences.
Since 2007, Katherine McLin has held the position of Concertmaster of the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra in Columbus, Ohio, with Music Director David Danzmayr (who also serves as Music Director of the Oregon Symphony) and Creative Partner and Principal Guest Artist concert violinist Vadim Gluzman. With 37 core musicians commuting from sixteen states, including current or former principals from orchestras such as the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, San Antonio, Grant Park, and Columbus Symphony Orchestras, ProMusica maintains a deep commitment to the creation of and championing of new works. Additionally, she has served as Concertmaster of the Brevard Music Festival Orchestra, the Michigan Sinfonietta, and the Aspen Sinfonia Orchestra, as well as Principal Second Violin of the Michigan Opera Theater Orchestra.Katherine McLin appears on 19 compact disc recordings under the Summit, Centaur, and Opus One labels. Her live and recorded performances have been broadcast on NPR’s Performance Today, NYC’s WQXR, and local television and radio stations throughout the country.
A committed and passionate teacher, Katherine McLin is in her 25th year as Professor of Violin at Arizona State University. She was awarded the Evelyn Smith Professorship in Music at ASU in 2016, an endowed position that recognizes a faculty member who demonstrates outstanding leadership in their field. In 2004, she was awarded the Distinguished Teacher Award for the College of Fine Arts at ASU, chosen from over 170 faculty, and was a finalist for the 2007 university-wide ASU Professor of the Year award. Katherine McLin received her doctorate in violin performance from the University of Michigan as a student of Paul Kantor. She holds additional performance degrees from Indiana University and Oberlin Conservatory, and for three years was an orchestral fellowship recipient at the Aspen Music Festival. Her former teachers include Franco Gulli, Josef Gingold, and Kathleen Winkler. She plays on a 1734 Sanctus Seraphin violin, on loan from an anonymous foundation.
Jacquelyn Schwandt enjoys a varied career as a teacher, chamber musician, orchestral musician and recitalist. She currently serves as Associate Professor of Viola at Northern Arizona University, Principal Viola with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, and on the string faculty of the NAU Academy for Music and Dance. She has taught at music camps and master classes both domestically and abroad, has been a featured soloist with several orchestras including the Flagstaff Symphony, the Newport Symphony in Oregon, the Musica Sacra Chamber Orchestra in Denver, Colorado, where the Denver Post praised her “smooth, warm tone.” She has served as violist with symphony orchestras across the US and Europe, participated in several orchestral and chamber music festivals and most recently completed recital tours to Taiwan and Spain. Dr. Schwandt holds degrees from the University of Oregon (DMA), Wichita State University (MM), and Southern Methodist University (BM).
The works of the Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera are divided into three periods, the first of which is called his “objective nationalism period”. Given the early opus number of his three pieces for piano, entitled “Danzas Argentinas”, they fall squarely into the first of the periods, in which Ginastera incorporated indigenous folk melodies into his compositions, largely unaltered. Many of his pieces, as with the third of these dances, are inspired by the Gauchasco tradition, with the gaucho, or native horseman of the plains, embodying the spirit of Argentina.
Danza del Viejo Boyero (Dance of the Old Herdsman) – a driving piece in 6/8 time, in which the left hand of the piano plays only black notes while the right hand plays only white notes, immediately creating polytonality. The dance ends with the chord E-A-D-G-B, the notes used in guitar tuning, and one of Ginastera’s favorites.
Danza de la Moza Donosa (Dance of the Donosa Girl) – a gentle, moderately slow piece predominately set in a minor key, in which the very last, very dissonant chord, erases the sense of melancholy that had been so carefully crafted.
Danza del Gaucho Matrero (Dance of the Outlaw Cowboy) – extremely reminiscent of the first dance, in its relentless feeling, set in 6/8 time. As with the first of the three pieces, Ginastera does not shy away from dissonance, which heightens its dramatic effect. Unlike the first dance, however, Danza del Gaucho Matrero is divided into three distinct sections, with the middle section shifting into a major key tonality, before the reprise of the first section and its aggression. In fact, Ginastera’s markings for the first and third sections include the directions “wild” and “violent”.
There are a very few pieces of music when, while being discussed amongst musicians, a knowing hush grows within the group, acknowledging the presence of the truly sublime. Schubert’s Quintet in C major, for string quartet with an added cello, is one of that very select handful. This is Schubert’s last work of chamber music, written in 1828 and competed only two weeks before his death. At the time of his death, Schubert was considered primarily a composer of art songs and piano pieces; as a result, the Cello Quintet, as it is commonly known, was published posthumously and was actually neglected until 1853 -its first publishing date. Schubert was only known among a small circle of friends and admirers during his lifetime in Vienna, but gradually, as his works began to be uncovered, esteem for his music grew inexorably. Astonishingly, the first performance of this Symphony #9 in C major (The Great) was only given by Mendelssohn after Robert Schumann pointed out the work to him.
Although Schubert did have compositional models in the string quintets of Mozart and Beethoven, as they had both also written string quintets in C major, the works by those composers used two violas. Instead, Schubert made the decision to use two cellos in his Quintet, enriching the bass sonority of the composition. Schubert did, truly, act as a bridge between the Classical and Romantic eras, in that he adhered to classical compositional forms, but imbued them with endlessly long romantic melodies. The result, with both the Great C major symphony and the C major Quintet, is an expansion of a form in which time seems to suspend. With a typical performance time of fifty-five minutes, the C major Quintet is languorously long, yet, with a work this celestial, all in the audience wish that it would simply go on and on.
July 17: Raul Yanez y Zona Libre Accordion Closed
Performing at 3pm in Kitt Recital Hall
Raul Yañez leads Zona Libre for an afternoon of Latin jazz, blending styles from around the world: Mambo, Descarga, Salsa, Cha Cha, Cumbia, Bolero, and Samba.
Originally from Silver City, New Mexico, Xavier Yáñez has been actively involved in music for most of his life. He has studied and played many different styles of music including jazz, pop, rock, funk, RnB, blues, sacred music, tex-mex, country and currently enticed in Latin music. Xavier graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education Degree and is currently teaching at Santa Maria Middle School in Phoenix, Arizona. As a performer he has played with numerous musicians in a variety of different combinations at night clubs, casinos, music halls, and jazz festivals in New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, and Mexico. Xavier is currently a busy freelance musician in Phoenix performing, teaching, and recording.
What makes jazz Latin, how does it differ from straight-ahead jazz, and where does it all come from? The basis of all jazz are its rhythmic structures, and straight-ahead jazz is characterized by its swing (think “In the Mood”), while Latin jazz is traditionally not swung, but is based upon syncopation, even eighth notes, and generally a lack of a back-beat (think “The Girl From Ipanema”). The other immediately apparent difference between the two is the use of percussion in each genre: straight-ahead jazz generally uses the drum kit for its rhythmic foundation, while Latin jazz, instead, uses instruments such as bongos, claves, timbales, and the conga.
Jazz originated in the Afro-American communities of New Orleans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a “mash-up” of European and Negro music, rooted in the blues and ragtime. Jazz has a huge range of styles of music that fit under its very wide umbrella, and Latin jazz, specifically, is a genre rooted in Latin American rhythms. Afro-Cuban jazz, based upon Cuban popular dance music, and Afro-Brazilian jazz, based upon samba and bossa nova, are the two bedrocks of Latin jazz in general.
The Afro-Cuban style was born in the 19th century with the popularity of the habanera – the first syncopated drum pattern that deviated from a very square-sounding, on-the-beat march; it was the first written-down music based on an African motif. Cuban music is also characterized by the tresillo, which is a three-stroke syncopated pattern, and it is the tresillo, combined with a back-beat, that created the tango. The birth of Afro-Cuban jazz is generally attributed to Mario Bauza and a Cuban jam session that he held in 1943.
Afro-Brazilian jazz, on the other hand, evolved in Brazil in the 1950’s and includes the samba and the bossa nova. Although the two are very similar in feel, the samba, which was born in the poor neighborhoods of Rio di Janeira (the favelas), is percussive and straightforward harmonically (think the “Dance in the Gym” sequence from West Side Story), while the bossa nova, originating from the richer neighborhoods near the beach, is less percussive and more complex harmonically (think “The Girl from Ipanema”).
From a listener’s point of view, no matter the historical underpinnings or theoretical basis of Latin Jazz, what makes it so very enjoyable is its compulsively danceable quality. Raise the roof!