Louisville Latin American Music Festival: Dates, Tickets, Lineup
It’s time for rumba in Louisville.
All the flavor, tempo and swing associated with Latin American music come to life in a three-part Latin American music festival featuring world premieres by the Puerto Rican composer Angelica Negron and Cuban-American percussionist Dafnis Prieto. Special guest artists also include Earth Peoplea timba band young performers, based in New York, who are featured at the first concert and will share their music at community presentations and outreach events across Louisville.
The Latin American Music Festival, which runs from March 4-5, March 11-12 and March 24-26, includes a new work by Prieto, a MacArthur Foundation Fellow genius and multi-Grammy award-winning Cuban composer and performer, commissioned by the Louisville Orchestra.
The world premiere of Prieto’s work entitled “Tentación: A Concerto for People of Earth and Orchestra” is presented during the first concerts of the festival on March 4 and 5.
Also on view is Negrón’s first world commission entitled “Fractal Isles”. The two new commissions are balanced by a Louisville Orchestra commission from nearly 70 years ago: Heitor Villa-Lobos’ evocative overture “Alvorada na floresta tropical.”
Latin American music filtered through the imagination of Leonard Bernstein completes the program in the form of the symphonic dances of “West Side Story”.
And this is only the first weekend. The second weekend includes two North American works of Latin American inspiration: “El Salón México” by Aaron Copland, a tribute to a Mexican nightclub he knew in the company of Mexican composer Carlos Chávez, and “Cuban Overture” by George Gershwin, written after a two-week stay in Havana, according to the release.
As these groundbreaking new works and emphasis on Latin American music help to push the boundaries of modern orchestral music, some might ask “why is this happening in Louisville? »
“Louisville has the second largest Cuban population per capita in the United States and the Louisville Orchestra had a rich history of commissioning Latin American composers during the early era of First Edition records,” Abrams said in a press release announcing the festival.
Abrams stressed the importance of collaborating with musicians such as Prieto and Negrón, as opportunities to commission new work from such accomplished artists do not often arise.
“In the United States, I thought about what kind of core to start building a complete relationship platform [through the arts]”, Abrams said. “Which led to all these partnerships with many organizations in the area that specialize in working with our Spanish-speaking community.
The idea of fusing different facets of Latin music, such as traditional folk music and jazz, particularly appealed to Abrams when planning the Latin American Music Festival.
“This whole Latin American music festival has become a really important opportunity for the orchestra not only to explore in depth the artistic side, which … is an integral part of the organization’s history,” Abrams said. . “That’s one of the reasons we thought it was so important because there’s actually a wonderful history of the orchestra commissioning composers from all sorts of countries and regions of Latin America in its infancy.”
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In addition to recognizing Latin culture and composers of color, women composers are also commemorated throughout the three-part festival. Gabriela Lena Frankof Peruvian and Jewish origin, will see his piece “Concertino Cusqueño” featured. Clarice Assad from Brazil will also feature his opus “Nhanderú” and Kalena BovellAfro-Latina of Panamanian origin, will be the main conductor of the last weekend of the festival.
“Our neighbors come from such diverse and beautiful backgrounds,” Abrams said. “To celebrate this should be a deep source of pride.”
Prieto’s world premiere is “a local story that happens in someone’s brain, heart, and body. It’s kind of a hypothetical experience that happens in someone’s imagination,” said he told the Courier Journal. “My piece will be performed by the Louisville Orchestra and The People of Earth.”
The other piece premiering at the festival belongs to Negrón, a resident of Brooklyn, who has created a collection of mean pop songs using a multitude of platforms in his repertoire, including his vocals, live electronics and even things like a plant synthesizer as well as mechanical instruments. His performance will combine new songs with some of his recent works influenced by themes of reverie, fantasies and humanity.
“I’m extremely excited to be part of the festival and to finally work with the orchestra and with Teddy Abrams,” said Negròn. “I know the orchestra has a long history of commissioning works from living composers, which is rare for orchestras, and as incredible as they have been doing for so long.”
Negrón’s specialty of combining all kinds of electronics with acoustic instruments as well as integrating current Puerto Rican political climate offers an educational perspective in his music.
Negròn’s upbringing and use of nature sounds allow him to tell his story of the relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States in his music.
“I was really inspired by the fact that I was part of a celebration of Latin American music and it made me rethink what I wanted to say with this platform,” Negròn said. “I’m writing something for the orchestra…that I’ve never explored before in such a massive medium.”
She hopes to bring renewed conversations about the construction of otherness and even colonialism while addressing the current situation in Puerto Rico…I hope to have a better understanding of the current situation on the island.
Abrams knows Louisville audiences will embrace the music and idea behind the three-part festival. And can’t wait.
“I think the first two that we’re going to present are really exceptional,” Abrams said.
Tickets for the Latin American Music Festival can be purchased online at louisvilleorchestra.org/concertsby phone at the Kentucky Center 502-584-7777, or with the Louisville Orchestra 502-587-8681.
Culture and diversity journalist Jason Gonzalez can be reached at [email protected]
Louisville Orchestra: Latin American Music Festival
Latin American Music Festival 1
CREDITS: Teddy Abrams, conductor; Earth People
- Heitor Villa-Lobos: “Alvorada na floresta tropical” (“Dawn in a tropical forest”)
- Dafnis Prieto: “Tentación: A Concerto for People of Earth and Orchestra” (world premiere, co-commissioned by the Louisville Orchestra)
- Angélica Negrón: “Fractal Isles” (world premiere, commissioned by the Louisville Orchestra)
- Leonard Bernstein: Symphonic Dances from “West Side Story”
WHEN: Friday March 4 at 11 a.m., Saturday March 5 at 8 p.m.
CONCERT DISCUSSION: 10 a.m. on March 4 and 6:45 p.m. on March 5. Free for ticket holders. Daniel Gilliam (90.5 WUOL) interviews composer Daniel Prieto
Latin American Music Festival 2
CREDITS: Teddy Abrams, conductor
- Aaron Copland: “El Salon Mexico”
- Gabriela Lena Frank: “Concertino Cusqueño”
- Jose Pablo Moncayo: “Cumbres”
- Clarice Assad: “Nhanderu”
- Arturo Marquez: “Danzon No. 2”
- George Gershwin: “Cuban Overture”
WHEN: Friday March 11 at 11 a.m., Saturday March 12 at 8 p.m.
CONCERT SPEECH: 10.m. March 11, 6:45 p.m. March 12. Free for ticket holders. Daniel Gilliam (90.5 WUOL) chats with Louisville Orchestra bassoonist Francisco Joubert.
Music Without Borders Series ‘Concierto de Aranjuez’
CREDITS: Kalena Bovell, conductor; Stephen Mattingly, guitar
- Georges Bizet: Suite No. 1 from “Carmen”
- Joaquin Rodrigo: “Concierto d’Aranjuez”
- Alberto Ginastera: “Variaciones concertantes”
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. on these dates and places:
- March 24: The Temple, 5101 US 42
- March 25: The Jeffersonian, 10617 Taylorsville Road
- March 26: Paul W. Ogle Center, 4201 Grant Line Road, New Albany, Indiana
How to get tickets
COST: Ticket prices range from $20 to $85 depending on event and seating location.
OR BUY: online at louisvilleorchestra.org/concerts or by phone at Kentucky Center 502-584-7777 or Louisville Orchestra 502-587-8681