Camino Chronicles Arts Series: A Celebration of Mexican and Latin American Music Influenced by California History


Historically, the Camino Real connected the Spanish missions along the state of California. Image by Chandler O’Leary.

How can music reframe the history of the ancient road we know as El Camino Real?

Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz and Americana folk group the Ronstadt Brothers will celebrate California history through their music from October 1-3, during a weekend of activities presented by the College of Humanities and the Arts from San José State University, the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies, TomKat MeDiA, CaminoArts, and Symphony Silicon Valley (SSV). The Ronstadt Brothers will also offer a moderate conversation on the business of music.

CaminoArts celebrates folk and classical music from Mexico and Latin America through an excavation of El Camino Real, the historic indigenous trade route used by the Spaniards to colonize Mexico and what is now the Southwestern States -United and South America, ”said Marcela Davison Aviles, Managing Partner and Executive Producer at TomKat MeDiA, a production company founded by Tom Steyer and Kat Taylor to inspire creativity for the common good.

“We brought this idea to the Center for Steinbeck Studies as a way to catalyze the writing of a new fourth year program on the history of El Camino Real.”

Gabriela Ortiz.

Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz.

Ortiz’s new composition, a concerto for flute and orchestra titled “D’Colonial Californio”, will premiere at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 2, with SSV at the California Theater, and again at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 2 . 3.

His work is a joint commission funded by the TomKat Foundation and presented in collaboration with TomKat MeDiA, SSV, CaminoArts and San José State as part of a larger initiative to examine California history through the arts and l ‘education.

Entrance to the Ronstadt show is free. Tickets for the symphonic performance are on sale through Symphony Silicon Valley.

“The inspired stories and songs of El Camino Real – the transcontinental path forged by indigenous peoples and later colonized by Spanish and European powers – set the stage for the Camino Chronicle Arts series,” said Kat Taylor, director founder of TomKat Ranch. Educational Foundation (TKREF) and one of the sponsors of Camino Chronicles.

“We are delighted to inform the work of Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz, Mexican-American singer-songwriters Peter and Michael G. Ronstadt, concert flautist Marisa Canales, musicians from Symphony Silicon Valley under the direction of Maestra JoAnne Falleta and the musical director of the project. Benjamin Juarez Echenique, “she added.

“And we are doubly delighted to thank San José State University and the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies for believing, like John Steinbeck, in the unique power of harmony, dissonance, cadence and the pace of the diaspora and migration.

The symphony will also perform “New World Symphony” by Antonín Dvořák, a piece that was particularly meaningful to John Steinbeck, added Daniel Rivers, director of the Steinbeck Center and assistant professor of American studies. Canales, who is also a co-founder of CaminoArts, will be the soloist for the Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon performances, under the direction of Grammy-winning conductor Maestra Falletta.

Ronstadt Brothers

The Ronstadt Brothers will perform at the Hammer Theater on October 3. Image courtesy of Marcela Davison Avilas.

The Ronstadt Brothers will perform the world premiere of their new album “The Road”, commissioned by the Camino Chronicles Project and funded by the TomKat Foundation, at the Hammer Theater at 3pm on Sunday October 3rd. The event is free and open. to the public.

“This full Ronstadt Brothers album focuses on the theme of roads, migration and the existential experience of travel,” said Rivers.

Multi-instrumentalists Michael G. Rondstadt and Peter D. Rondstadt describe their music as a “new and fresh interpretation of traditional folk songs from the Southwest and Mexico” that continues the legacy of their aunt Linda and father Michael.

“The Camino Chronicles’ curricular ties to the university are linked to music, history, humanities and education,” said Shannon Miller, dean of the College of Humanities and the Arts.

“Ortiz’s work rethinks the identity of El Camino around issues of migration, while the Ronstadt brothers compose works in the tradition of American folk music while exploring connections to their Mexican heritage and the indigenous roots of the Camino. This introduces many interesting questions related to the decolonization of the curriculum and the arts, ”Miller added.

Visit Symphony Silicon Valley to learn more about the October 2-3 performances of Ortiz’s work.

Learn more about the performance of the Rondstadt brothers and work with the Steinbeck Center.

Discover TomKat MeDia and CaminoArts.

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