Chamber music concert to feature Latin American music

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Presidential Chamber Music Series concert-goers are in for a very special evening when the 2012-13 season opens at 7:30 p.m. Monday, at New Mexico Tech’s Macey Center, with violist Willy Sucre as musical host for an evening of string quintet selections.

Sucre is the stage host, but the four-part series itself is sponsored by New Mexico Tech President Dr. Daniel H. López, and is free to all.

As he did to kick off the chamber music series last year, Sucre will join members of La Catrina Quartet for the evening’s program: Daniel Vega-Albela and Roberta Arruda, violin; Jorge Martinez, viola; and César Bourguet, cello.

“Once again, the PAS is delighted to have Willy and the Catrina Quartet together for a performance that is sure to draw chamber music aficionados to Socorro and Macey Center,” PAS Director Ronna Kalish said.

“Willy is a gifted musician, of course, who never fails to bring something new to the musical repertoire for which he has such a loyal following,” Kalish said. “And he’s hugely popular with local audiences.”

On the program are works by Mexican composers Javier Alvarez and Eduardo Gamboa – Metro Chabacano and Cananbu, respectively; and Quarteto No. 5 Poco Animato Vivo, Vivo e Energico, Andantino, Allegro, by Heitor Villa-Lobos, an internationally known Brazilian composer. String Quartet No. 29, a rarely-performed work by Beethoven, will close out the evening’s program, one Sucre called “extremely interesting.”

The chosen work of composer Alvarez, Sucre said, reflects the rhythms of Cuba. Composed in 1991, it recreates the breezy atmosphere of island life with sun-filled days and sweltering nights.

Alvarez, born in Mexico City in 1956 and educated in the U.S., is known for works that combine international musical styles and traditions. His works have been performed throughout the world by such ensembles as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Mexico City Philharmonic.

The works of composer Gamboa, on the other hand, are very different from those of his countryman, with their musical rhythms of Mexico, even though Spanish is the primary language of both.

Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887–1959) has become the best-known and most significant Latin American composer to date of both Brazilian folk music and by stylistic elements from the European classical tradition.

“Villa Lobos knows how to write for the string quartet,” Sucre said. “It’s great stuff.”

In closing out the evening, Sucre and friends chose a lesser-known work of Beethoven, String Quartet No. 29, featuring two violas, in this case Sucre and Martinez.

“This is an excellent program for Socorro, with its emphasis on the music and rhythms of Latin American composers,” Sucre said. “We chose a combination of styles for this concert, and we’re very excited about it.”

The violist, now in the 24th year of his affiliation with the PAS, is equally enthusiastic about a youth concert to be given to students at Socorro’s Cottonwood Valley School at 1:30 p.m. on the afternoon of the performance.

La Catrina Quartet and Sucre will perform excerpts from the evening program.

“I believe in the importance of introducing young people to classical music and string music, in particular,” he said. “Seeing the interest (in music) that is going on in Socorro makes me very happy, and I’m very thankful the Catrina Quartet has agreed to do this with me.”

In reflecting on the fact that 2013 will mark his 25th year with New Mexico Tech’s PAS, and a suggestion that the university host a party to mark the event, Sucre didn’t hesitate to respond: “Why stop with just one?”