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."
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.
Visions of the Vanquished: The Vision of the Vanquished, a book by Mexican historian Miguel León Portilla was very instrumental in changing the view that Latin Americans had about the clash of cultures and the cultural genocide that took place in the continent. The Native-American experience in Latin America has been reflected abundantly and in many different, even conflicting, ways by our composers.
The Music of José Pablo Moncayo: The author of the very popular Huapango, considered as the second Mexican anthem, composed several symphonic, chamber pieces of great importance. Fiesta! pays tribute to this giant of the 20th century Latin America.
Soprano and Composer Veronica Loiacono: Born in Argentina and based in New York, Veronica Loiacono is a soprano of amazing versatility who feels at home in the opera repertoire as well as in the tangos or boleros. She is also a member of a fascinating collective from Buenos Aires, her hometown: a team of four composers that have written songs, concerti, a symphony and even an opera.
Music from the Basque Country: Euzkadi, also known as the Basque country, represents one of the several ways of being a Spaniard, or is it something else? It depends on whom you ask. The Euzkera (or Basque) people have their own language and a longstanding cultural tradition, including music. This program presents historical Basque composers featuring Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga, Jesús Guridi and more.
Anthem Anecdotes - Music to Listen to Standing Up: The anthems of most of the Latin American countries were composed in the 19th century under the influence of both recent war and Italian opera. There are many interesting stories about how some of them came to existence.
Sonatas from this Side of the Atlantic: The sonata is a musical term in use for almost four centuries. Latin American composers have also cultivated this venerable form. Fiesta features an extravaganza of Latino sonatas.
Early Music from Spain and the New Spain: The Newberry Consort has been focusing on early music from Spain and New Spain (as Mexico was known when it was a part of the Spanish empire). The recordings featured in this program underscore the continuity of Colonial music as a part of the tradition of western music, including some pieces that were performed for the first time in 300 years.
More New-New Music: During the last century a huge number of Western composers took a direction that divorced them from their potential audiences and entrenched them in university jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. Well-sheltered in their academic cocoons of so-called "avant-garde," "experimental," "contemporary," or "new" music these composers carefully shepherded successive generations in strict observance of this tradition, over a hundred years old by now. Around the 1980s however, some composers, most of them in the west side of the Atlantic, started to challenge and defy the dry orthodoxy of "contemporary music." By the first decade of the 21st century, these mavericks have, finally, opened the windows to a new breeze of music that it is not afraid of beauty, or of its links with the traditions of western music and other world traditions, and does not reject experiments either, especially successful ones. This is called New-New Music.
An Imaginary concert: Let's pretend that you go to your local orchestra hall and instead of the usual concert menu, you get to listen to a nineteeth-century overture by Brazilian composer José Mauricio Nunes Garcia, a concerto for four guitars and orchestra by Spanish composer Moreno Torroba featuring the Romero family, a symphonic percussion piece by Cuban composer Amadeo Roldán, and a symphony by Mexican composer Candelario Huízar inspired on the Aztec culture. Take your seat and enjoy!