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."
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.
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.