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News & Information

Festivals & Concerts: May 2008 Archives

Mariachi Meets Mozart

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Symphonic Mariachi Champaña Nevín

Ensemble brings music of Mexico to concert series

By Jennifer K. Mahal
San Diego Union-Tribune

Classical music and mariachi have always gone hand-in-hand for Southwestern College music professor Jeff Nevin.

Advertisement As a teenager in Tucson, the trumpet player joined the symphony orchestra the same year he became a member of Los Changuitos Feos de Tucson, a youth mariachi group whose name translates to the Ugly Little Monkeys of Tucson. For his undergraduate audition at the University of Illinois, Nevin began playing classical music, but changed to mariachi when nerves made him flub the notes.

And for his doctorate in music theory and composition, one of the three topics for his qualifying exams at the University of California San Diego was on mariachi trumpet styles. The research turned into his first book, "Virtuoso Mariachi."

Read more about this at the San Diego Union-Tribune website:

   http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20080517-9999-1sz17mozart.html

Bach in Bolivia

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International Festival of Renaissance & American Baroque Music

Music transforms kids and towns in remote area of Bolivia

Inspired by a biannual baroque festival and the legacy of missionaries, young people join choirs and take up the violin and Vivaldi in parishes across the country's eastern lowlands

By Sara Miller Llana
The Christian Science Monitor

San Ignacio de Velasco, Bolivia – Life moves slowly in this town deep in the jungle of Bolivia, 280 miles from the nearest city, where most streets are swaths of red earth, money is made off the land, and TV, for those who own one, is not an after-dinner ritual.

It is not the kind of place one would normally seek out high culture.

But on a recent evening, off the neatly manicured central plaza, the sonatas of Vivaldi and Haydn pour from the town's imposing cathedral. Even more unusual is who is crowding many of the pews: sneaker-clad youths. They are not here under the duress of some imperious teacher. They're eagerly absorbing the sounds of string and wind instruments redounding through the wood-beamed church.

Their rapt attention is one of the most visible legacies of the International Festival of Renaissance and American Baroque Music, which may be leaving as big a mark on the small towns of eastern Bolivia as anything since the Jesuit missionaries 300 years ago. Perhaps in few places on earth is music transforming the lives of a new generation more than in this remote low-land section of South America.

Read more about this at The Christian Science Monitor website:

   http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0512/p20s01-woam.html

Concert for the Lost & Found

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Cabdriver Thanked for Returning a Stradivarius

By Richard G. Jones
New York Times

Newark, New Jersey – The violinist stood on a makeshift stage between two lampposts crowned with a patina of bird droppings, under a weathered vinyl canopy hastily erected outside Newark Liberty International Airport in the taxicab holding area. The audience watched him in awe, about 50 drivers in three rows, their yellow cabs a few feet behind, some lined up neatly, others askew.

As Philippe Quint spent half an hour playing five selections, the cabbies clapped and whistled. They danced in the aisles, hips gyrating like tipsy belly dancers. "Magic fingers, magic fingers," one called out. Another grabbed the hand of Mr. Quint's publicist and did what looked like a merengue across the front of the "stage."

Afterward, the virtuoso was mobbed by drivers seeking his autograph on dollar bills, napkins and cab receipts.

"It was so pleasing to see people dancing – that never happens," said Mr. Quint, 34, a Grammy-nominated classical violinist. "These people, they work so hard, I doubt they get a chance to get out to Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center."

So Mr. Quint took Carnegie Hall to them, in a miniconcert that was his way of expressing a simple sentiment: Thank you.

Read more about this at the New York Times website:

   http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/07/nyregion/07violin.html

Classical Music in Arabia

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King Fahd Cultural Center, by John Paul Jones

Saudis mix genders at 1st public classical concert

By Donna Abu-Nasr (AP)
Seattle Times

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – It's probably as revolutionary and groundbreaking as Mozart gets these days. A German-based quartet staged Saudi Arabia's first-ever performance of European classical music in a public venue before a mixed-gender audience.

The concert, held at a government-run cultural center Friday night, broke many taboos in a country where public music is banned and the sexes are segregated even in lines at fast-food outlets.

Friday's concert of works by works by Mozart, Brahms and Paul Juon was the first classical performance held in public in Saudi Arabia, said German press attaché Georg Klussmann.

Read more about this at the Seattle Times website:

   http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/thearts/2004391176_mozart04.html

O2 - Millenium Dome

Wanted: 18,000 classical music fans for O2 big, brash gig

By Ben Hoyle
Times Online

There will be naked dancing girls, bungee ropes, a four-storey tower wreathed in fireworks and the theme from the Old Spice adverts amplified so that 18,000 people can hear it.

Puritannical music lovers should probably run for the hills: the stadium classical music gig is coming to Britain. O2 , the concert venue in the former Millennium Dome, announced yesterday that it will stage a monumental production of Carmina Burana next January.

It plans to follow Carl Orff’s frenetic and instantly recognisable work with productions of Carmen, Aida and The Nutcracker. A musical adaptation of Ben-Hur has also been mooted.

Read more about this at The Times Online website:

   http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/article3842732.ece

Trumpet