The Santa Ana Sentinel

Sergio González sings Ponce’s Marchita el alma

Posted in Art Music, Arts & Culture, Santa Ana College, The Journal of Mexican Art Music by Omar Ávalos Gallegos on May 9, 2012

Sergio González, tenor, sang Manuel Ponce’s Marchita el alma (The soul withers) as part of his first semester recital at Santa Ana College.

González was accompanied by Susan Dennis, who improvised the piano score at times.

The work was performed at the request of vocal instructor Eileen O’ Hern, whose students have performed a number of Ponce songs in the past including EstrellitaCerca de ti, Por ti mujer and Cuiden su vida.

This Friday, José Eduardo Hernández performs Ponce’s Por ti mi corazón.

Marchita el alma begins at 2:15. The first song is Star vicino by 17th-century Italian composer, Salvator Rosa.

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Works by Manuel M. Ponce to be sung at Santa Ana College this week

Posted in Art Music, Arts & Culture, Santa Ana College, The Journal of Mexican Art Music by Omar Ávalos Gallegos on May 7, 2012

The Santa Ana College Music Department presents tenors Sergio González and José Eduardo Hernández this week as part of the Applied Music Student Recitals.

González performs Ponce’s Marchita el alma (The Soul Withers) as part of his recital on Tuesday, May 8 at 5:00 pm, and Hernández performs Ponce’s Por ti mi corazón (For You, My Heart) as part of his recital on Friday, May 11 at 12:30 pm.

Recitals are held in the Fine Arts Building room C-104 and are free to the public.

Reviews to follow.

ABOUT MANUEL M. PONCE

Manuel María Ponce y Cuéllar (1882-1948) was one of Mexico’s greatest and most prolific composers. He is most widely known for his guitar compositions commissioned by the famed concert guitarist Andrés Segovia of Spain, but he left behind an important body of music for piano (a concerto, concert etudes, mazurkas, sonatas, rhapsodies), symphony orchestra, chamber ensembles and voice.

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The Santa Cecilia Orchestra Presents Latinos Clásicos

Posted in Arts & Culture, The Journal of Mexican Art Music by Omar Ávalos Gallegos on April 17, 2012

Santa Cecilia Orchestra Presents ‘Latinos Clásicos’

Every year Santa Cecilia Orchestra takes great pride in presenting the music of Latino classical music composers.

Santa Cecilia Orchestra (SCO) will once again celebrate the glory of Latin-infused classical music by hosting Latinos Clásicos, which will take place at Occidental College’s Thorne Hall in Los Angeles on Sunday April 29 at 4:00 p.m.

As the next concert celebration of Santa Cecilia Orchestra’s 19th season, conductor Sonia Marie De León de Vega will lead SCO’s 80-piece symphony orchestra that will feature the world premiere of Yalil Guerra’s Old Havana.

This sizzling concert’s bold color and atmosphere infused music will ignite passions in an orchestral performance that is sure to exhilarate and delight the audience, revealing the soul of Latin music, thrilling Latin rhythms and rich, exciting orchestration.

The concert performance will also feature Conga del Fuego Nuevo from Arturo Márquez and his the Los Angeles premiere of Leyenda de Miliano; Astor Piazzolla’s Tangazo, Alberto Ginastera’s Dances from Estancia, Carlos Chávez’ Chapultepec.

SCO continues to fulfill its mission by sharing the beauty and inspiration of classical music with Southern California audiences, giving special focus to Latino communities.

There will be one performance only of this program. Tickets priced at $26, $20 and $7 (youth, 17 and under) are available by calling the orchestra office at (323) 259-3011 or by visiting http://www.scorchestra.org/201011orderform.html#latinosclasicos.

About Santa Cecilia Orchestra

Under the leadership of Maestra Sonia Marie De Léon de Vega, Santa Cecilia Orchestra pays tribute to its extraordinary history on its 19th anniversary as the only orchestra in the nation with a specific mission to take classical music to the Latino community. Media and speaking inquiries, please contact Lucía Matthews of DIÁLOGO at lucia@dialogo.us or for news, photos and biographies for conductor and soloists, visit http://www.scorchestra.org/PressRoom.htm.

About Sonia Marie De Léon de Vega, founder of the Santa Cecilia Orchestra

Maestra Sonia Marie De Léon de Vega has achieved distinction as a Latina in a male-dominated occupation with extraordinary inspirational musical talent who has not only become world renowned for her skills on the podium as the music director and conductor but she has created her own organization—the Los Angeles-based Santa Cecilia Orchestra, which is the only orchestra in the nation with a specific mission to share classical music with the Latino communities.

Sonia is also celebrated in educational circles for creating “Discovering Music” in 1998, a two-year music education program that takes orchestra members into elementary schools in underserved Latino neighborhoods to introduce children to classical music and the instruments of the orchestra. Discovering Music is currently offered in 18 elementary schools throughout Los Angeles and has touched the lives of more than 40,000 students in 35 schools through the power of music education. Due to its success, Discovering Music has been expanded to include a string program that offers free violin lessons throughout the school year and a mentorship program in middle schools.

Under the leadership of De Leon de Vega, Santa Cecilia Orchestra and the Discovering Music program have attracted the sponsorship of noted foundations and institutions, including the Annenberg Foundation, the Weingart Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. De Leon de Vega’s accomplishments have been recognized in a variety of organizations, including:

La Opinión: Mujeres Destacadas Award in Art & Culture 2011.

National Latina Business Women Association-Los Angeles: Inspirational Leader of the Year Award 2010.

KCET: Local Hero Award 2006.

The Vatican: She was the first woman in history to receive a Vatican invitation and conduct a symphony orchestra at a Papal Mass.

Hispanic Business Magazine: Awarded 100 most influential Hispanics in the U.S. 2005.

Hispanic Business Magazine: named her in their 80 Elite Women list in 2005.

Senator Jack Scott and Assemblywoman Carol Liu: Business Woman Of The Year in Arts And Entertainment 2005.

Latina Power by author Ana Nogales: Ms. De Leon de Vega is profiled in the book, which was was released by Simon and Schuster in 2004.

Univision, Mervyns, and Target: Named her Outstanding Latina of the Year in 2000.

Born in San Antonio, De Leon de Vega is the daughter of actress/producer Sonia De Leon and singer/guitarist Reynaldo Sanchez. At the age of four De Leon de Vega moved to Los Angeles, California, where she was raised and began her musical training becoming an accomplished pianist and organist. While always distinguishing herself academically her graduate studies led her to love and specialize in conducting studies with Dr. David Buck. She also trained at the Herbert Blomstedt International Institute for Instrumental Conductors and at various American Symphony Orchestra League workshops with Otto Werner Mueller, Maurice Abravanel, Pierre Boulez, Andre Previn, Zubin Metha and Ricardo Muti. De Leon de Vega has been a guest conductor for many orchestras and opera companies and has developed concerts and children’s music workshops for the Cultural Affairs Department of the City of Los Angeles.

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Arturo Márquez Returns to Santa Ana

Posted in Art Music, Arts & Culture, Arts Review, Downtown, The Journal of Mexican Art Music, Ward 2 by Omar Ávalos Gallegos on December 18, 2011

Jesús Arturo Márquez Navarro, a UCLA Regents’ Lecturer and Fulbright Scholar, studied music at Cal Arts, the Conservatorio Nacional in Mexico City, and with Jacques Castérèrede in Paris, France. He has enjoyed worldwide praise and success for his symphonic danzones with orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel. One of his most recognizable works, Danzón No. 2, is a favorite of numerous orchestras and is heard on the Mexican film Arráncame la vida.

World-renowned Mexican composer Arturo Márquez returned to the Santora in Downtown Santa Ana on the evening of Friday, December 16th. Maestro Márquez’s visit was in part a send off for the gallery that hosted him. MC Art Gallery and Studio announced that it would close it’s doors on December 31st.

For five years MC Art Gallery and Studio exhibited artwork from artists of international repute including sculptures by Felipe Castañeda and paintings by Sergio O’ Cádiz. Maestro Arturo’s visit was the third to the gallery. His first visit was a small and intimate gathering with gallery owner Moisés Camacho, the Maestro’s daughter Lily, his brother Jorge, Joseph Hawa, who is another painter in the Santora, and I.

On April 15 of 2011 the Maestro returned and was presented to those in attendance through a more formal reception involving a brief lecture and discussion with him, followed by a mixer. A video recording of that interview is available by clicking here.

On this, his third visit, artists involved with the gallery and friends came together to receive the Maestro and to reflect on the gallery’s past. A discussion opened up with Voice of OC reporter Adam Elmahrek in which the gallery’s past exhibits were mentioned. As Adam jotted down notes, the topic of a lack of an arts council in Santa Ana came up. The argument was made that the City does not do enough to support the arts. There was talk of a former “Santa Ana Council of Arts and Culture,” which has been dead and buried for years now, with no visible presence anywhere in anything having to do with art in the Downtown, much less around town.

The Maestro’s visit was also an opportunity for Santa Ana artists to brainstorm and plan for the future. Newly appointed Santa Ana College Chamber Orchestra Director David F. López attended and was introduced to Mr. Márquez. Plans are underway to perform a piece of Arturo Márquez’s music at Santa Ana College next year, and at the Downtown as well. A festival was conceived of, one that will integrate participating Santa Ana schools and the Downtown.

Moisés Camacho’s gallery was a creative space where a confluence of artistic ideas took place. The space allowed for the forging of new ideas. Our city’s artistic future will have benefitted from this place, it was like an incubator. The community’s benefit will be a product of the artistic energies that took place there. It will be sorely missed and it may be extremely difficult to have another place like it. This is how it will be remembered.

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Art Music of the Day: La Otra Conquista by Samuel Zyman and Jorge Reyes

Posted in Art Music, Arts & Culture, The Journal of Mexican Art Music by Omar Ávalos Gallegos on November 14, 2011

This is a movement from the movie La otra conquista (The Other Conquest) produced by Álvaro Domingo, the son of tenor Plácido Domingo. The orchestral score was composed by Samuel Zyman, a Mexican composer who is a faculty member at the prestigious Julliard School at the Lincoln Center in New York City.

This piece consists of a mixture of traditional European orchestral and choral music combined with indigenous Mexican music composed by Jorge Reyes, a specialist in this type of music. Reyes uses ocarinas and indigenous percussion instruments like the teponaxtli, (or teponaztli) the huehuetl and corporal percussion to compose his score.

Examples of Aztec ocarinas and reed flutes

An Aztec huehuetl drum

Aztec teponaztli drums

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Art Music of the Day: Sonata para Flauta y Cembalo from La Antorcha Encendida

Posted in Art Music, Arts & Culture, The Journal of Mexican Art Music by Omar Ávalos Gallegos on November 13, 2011

This was composed by Jorge Avendaño for La antorcha encendida, a dramatic series for television about Mexican Independence.

The piece is set for flute and harpshichord and it is fashioned in an 18th century Baroque style, reminiscent of J.S. Bach.

Works like these were quite common during the colonial period in New Spain. Many works like these were found archived in the cathedrals of Mexico City, Puebla and Oaxaca. Refer to the series of audio recordings México Barroco to become familiarized with this important genre of Mexican cultural patrimony and the composers that were active during that period.

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Art Music of the Day: Vereda Tropical as Done by Alondra de la Parra & Co.

Posted in Art Music, Arts & Culture, Pop Music, The Journal of Mexican Art Music by Omar Ávalos Gallegos on November 12, 2011

Where’s the art music? In the orchestration. Therein lies the craft, the art. Orchestration is not something your neighborhood DJ or rock band is going to provide.

This is another example of the fusing of pop and art music. De la Parra, conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas in New York City, collaborates with three of Mexico’s most visible pop female singers; Lo Blondo of the group Hello Seahorse, Natalia Lafourcade and Ely Guerra on this track and on the new album Travieso Carmesí.

I’m reminded of another very fine version of Gonzalo Curiel’s Vereda Tropical, this one with a tropical orchestra, a mariachi and José Santana, the father of Carlos Santana singing. Incidentally, Carlos was a violinist before he picked up the guitar and learned the blues in Tijuana with Javier Bátiz.

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Art Music of the Day: “El vuelo del águila” by Daniel Catán

Posted in Art Music, Arts & Culture, The Journal of Mexican Art Music by Omar Ávalos Gallegos on November 10, 2011

This is the overture to the Mexican novela El vuelo del águila (The Flight of the Eagle), a story about turn-of-the 20th century Mexican president Porfirio Díaz.

Daniel Catán (1948-2011) passed away on April 8th of this year at his home in Pasadena. His last major musical accomplishment was an opera Il postino, a work set in Spanish based on the Italian film of the same name about Chilean author Pablo Neruda’s time in Italy. The opera was commissioned by the Los Angeles Opera and featured a performance by the company’s director Plácido Domingo, the world-renowned and Mexican-trained tenor.

Eduardo Diazmuñoz conducts the Orquesta Filarmónica de la Ciudad de México:

Art Music of the Day: “12/12” by Kronos Quartet & Café Tacuba

Posted in Art Music, Arts & Culture, Pop Music, The Journal of Mexican Art Music by Omar Ávalos Gallegos on November 9, 2011

The world-famous Kronos Quartet, a string quartet from San Francisco, joins Mexican pop group Café Tacuba for an experimental piece of art music. This is a fusion of pop and art music.

The work contains random looped samples of music and sounds ranging from the drum and pipe of the voladores de Papantla, club music, ordinary street sounds and a sample of the symphonic work Sensemayá by Silvestre Revueltas.

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Art Music of the Day: “Y los ojos a la luz” by Ana Lara

Posted in Art Music, Arts & Culture, The Journal of Mexican Art Music by Omar Ávalos Gallegos on November 8, 2011

Y los ojos a la luz means “And the eyes see the light.” This is a piece by Mexican contemporary avant-garde composer Ana Lara. An interview that I did on her is available by clicking here.

Her musical works are based on new approaches to composition, based on the use of mixing timbres and pitch ranges to create sonic textures. If you notice, there are no recurring themes or formal structures. This is a very raw music that flows and grows organically. There is order in the dissonance however chaotic it may sound. This music, because it has no preexisting formal template or because it doesn’t follow conventional melodic design, is very difficult to compose. The idea is to create a universal work in contrast to other works of varying musical genres, classical included, that have easily recognizable characteristics.