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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA immerses itself in Latino music at weekend festival

    Rebecca Noble

    Cory Driscoll (left), a first-year musical arts graduate student, plays his trumpet and Christine Yi (right) a musical perfomance sophomore, plays her saxaphone outside of the School of Music on Saturday after performing ʺFanfareʺ with the UA Trumpet Studio in the Concert VI portion of the ʺMusic Festival 2014: Villa-Lobos, Ginastera, Chávez, Revueltas.ʺ

    Concerts, symposiums and films filled two full days of the UA School of Music’s seventh annual “Music + Festival” this past weekend.

    Each year, the festival selects pieces around a certain theme, and the songs selected this year have all been composed by Latin American artists. According to the School of Music, the pieces performed this weekend were from four unique composers: Heitor Villa-Lobos, Alberto Ginastera, Carlos Chavez and Silvestre Revueltas. The artists represent different Latin American countries, showcasing the different nuances found in their countries’ music.

    The festival was directed by Daniel Asia, a professor for the School of Music, and co-directed by Odaline de la Martinez, an international conductor who holds the distinction of being the first woman to conduct a BBC Promenade concert in the Royal Albert Hall of London. Raised in Tucson and New Orleans, Martinez returned home this weekend amidst her busy career traveling the world and performing in symphonies.

    On Saturday, most of the groups performing were student ensembles — students from the School of Music who play a wide array of different instruments. Christine Yi, a music performance sophomore who has been playing the saxophone for nine years, is one of the many students to have participated in the festival.

    “I believe that the main purpose of having this festival is to promote the enriching culture of Latin America through the art of music,” Yi said.

    This was Yi’s first year participating in the Music + Festival, but she said she chose to participate because playing another culture’s music can be like taking a step into another country and exploring its culture.

    Latin music is noticeably different from other genres, Yi said, because it is free and exciting; it has a beat that gives everyone the urge to stand up and dance. Each of the pieces performed this weekend were unique and had a compelling story behind it. For instance, Yi said the piece “Sensemayá” by Silvestre Revueltas is based on the Afro-Cuban chant performed right before the killing of a snake.

    “The driving rhythm and changing meter make this piece really thrilling and exciting,” Yi said.

    Cory Driscoll is another student who performed in the weekend festival. A graduate student who has played the trumpet for 16 years, Driscoll said one of the greatest things about music is how diverse it is around the world and how it has educational value for learning about another culture.

    Through this experience, not only was the audience able to learn about other cultures, but the musicians were also able to enhance their knowledge of Latin American countries.

    “I have learned several things about Latin America,” Driscoll said. “Its people, poetry, dancing, musicality and so much more.”

    The countries represented at the festival included Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, but the cultures depicted in the music were countless. Some of the pieces played include “Sexteto Místico,” “Antígona,” “First Little Serious Piece” and “Bachianas Brasileiras.”

    Although most of the weekend consisted of concerts, the film “Redes” was also shown in the Center for Creative Photography on Sunday night to wrap things up. The film is directed by Emilio Gómez Muriel and Fred Zinnemann, and was accompanied by music from Silvestre Revueltas.

    The festival was not only  a learning opportunity for participating musicians. But it was also an experience that allowed the audience to be immersed in cultures they may never have been exposed to before.


    Follow Chelsea Cook on Twitter.

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