Cinco de Mayo

May 5, 2017 at 3:01 pm

Cinco de Mayo is not the Mexican version of the Fourth of July, but rather a commemoration of a military victory. In the US, it is a day spent celebrating Mexican-American culture (not unlike how Irish-American culture is celebrated on St. Patrick’s Day).

Carlos Chávez is to Mexican Art Music as Aaron Copland is to American Art Music. Chávez’s Sinfonía India sets melodies of indigenous Mexican cultures to the exciting sound of a full symphony orchestra. Like Copland, the music is enjoyable to listen to, employs lots of different instrumental timbres, is harmonically and rhythmically accessible, and gives a taste of the culture from which it was born.

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What Superbowl?

February 8, 2016 at 10:30 am

I’m sorry. I just really don’t care about sports.

Two years ago (Superbowl 48, or XLVIII, as the sportsters like to say) the big deal (in the art music world, at least) was that opera superstar Renée Fleming sang the national anthem. It was the first time an opera singer performed at a superbowl, and was probably the first time most football fans ever heard something akin to opera (with the exception of “kill the wabbit“, of course).

This year, Gustavo Dudamel conducted the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles in the superbowl halftime show (though you wouldn’t know it, since they barely get mentioned. Forget these young people and their passion for art. Gotta leave plenty of room for … Coldplay …)

Dudamel is the rock star of conductors. He skyrocketed to fame through his success with the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar, a Venezuelan youth orchestra (which is no longer a youth orchestra – the band was so good, they grew up together and became a world-renowned pro orchestra.) Now Dudamel is working his magic with the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, which provides free instruments, music lessons, and academic assistance to underserved communities in LA.

but … Coldplay … ?

Hats off to Dudamel! Here’s him conducting the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar in a performance of a dance by Meixcan composer Arturo Marquez.

… Cold … play …

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