Fiesta! is devoted to Latino concert music and presents artistically significant compositions from Latin America, Spain and Portugal to listeners. The creative force behind this series is Elbio Barilari, an acclaimed composer, musician, performer and professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The Uruguayan-born Barilari says, "Fiesta! features the hottest Latin-American music from the 16th to the 21st centuries."
Opera Heroes: Today a footnote in a history full, mostly, of Italian, German and French names, there were Latin American composers that were considered mega-stars in the opera houses of the 19th century: Mexican Melesio Morales and Brazilian Antônio Carlos Gomes.
Soccer and Music: It is known that soccer (or fútbol, as it is called in Spanish) constitutes an important element of Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese identity. Several composers, classical and popular, have dedicated memorable works to this sport, its emotions, memories and feats.
Spanish Symphonies: Few Spanish symphonies, if any, have found a place within the standard repertoire, a strange phenomenon, considering the richness and depth of the existing repertoire in this field. Fiesta! revisits this territory featuring pieces by Tomás Bretón and Teobaldo Power.
Canyengue -African Roots, Part 2: Canyengue is lunfardo (slang) from Rio de la Plata. The word comes from the African Ki-Kongo language and means "melting with the music." It would be impossible to understand the music of the Americas without the influence of African culture.
Call of the Wild: Nature has inspired, and continues to inspire, composer from all cultures. Bolivian Alberto Villapando and Brazilian Almeida Prado have written gorgeous music on this topic.
Music from Portugal: Little Portugal, once one of the mightiest nations in the world, can boast of an amazing musical treasure. From the medieval period to the present, Portuguese composers have been in the forefront of western art. Fiesta! attempts a first overview to Portugal's fabulous music history.
Forgotten Geniuses and Pioneers: Throughout history some musicians have reached immense popularity just to be quickly forgotten, many times without a clear explanation. In other cases, artists from the past still enjoy considerable fame but only as pioneers on their field. Fiesta! pays tribute both to forgotten geniuses and pioneers.
The Myth and Music: Throughout history, myths have been a popular source of inspiration. Ibero-American composers have used Greek, Roman, Biblical, Arab, Chinese or Indian mythology as well as the myths of the original native cultures together with the rich traditions brought by Africans slaves.
Composers from Chile: Fiesta! pays a visit to giants of Chile's musical history, such as Domingo Santa Cruz, Acario Cotapos, Carlos Isamitt and Alfonso Letelier.
Viva la Zarzuela!: The first half of the 20th century saw the incredible popularity of an exclusively Spanish genre: the zarzuela. It can be defined, superficially, as light opera without being "operettas." Zarzuela constitutes a delicate balance between Spanish folk music, costume dramas and an operatic style completely developed in Spain. This program of Fiesta! features brilliant moments of the zarzuela repertoire, such as Luis Fernanda, Doña Francisquita, La rosa del azafrán and, of course, La verbena de la Paloma.