Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture presents Elio Villafranca Trio & The Bronx Arts Ensemble Woodwind Quintet
Acclaimed in both the jazz and classical worlds, a performance by the acclaimed Cuban pianist-composer along with the borough’s premier chamber group
Saturday, October 14, 2017, 7:30 PM
(Bronx, NY) – Known for his artistry in both jazz and classical music, the Cuban pianist/composer Elio Villafranca, his Trio, and the Bronx Arts Ensemble (BAE) Woodwind Quintet come together for the first time for Villafranca’s “Cinqué – Suite of the Caribbean.” This is the first time this work will be performed in this hybrid configuration, linking classical and jazz musicians and using instruments traditionally featured in classical repertoire. The performance, which will also feature additional music from Villafranca and the BAE, will take place Saturday, October 14 at 7:30PM, at the Hostos Community College Repertory Theater, located at 450 Grand Concourse in the Bronx.
Villafranca, a new resident of the Bronx, is known for ambitious projects that fuse the jazz idiom with extensive knowledge of percussion and Latin rhythms, and “Cinqué – Suite of the Caribbean” is one of his most acclaimed works. The musical highlight of the evening focuses on the influences of the Congolese traditions of rhythms, melodies, and dances – through the music of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba. Villafranca showcases the unifying elements of the islands, which share similar cultures despite their diverse histories. This work is inspired by the life of Joseph Cinqué, a slave born in Sierra Leone who, while on the way to being illegally sold in Cuba, revolted aboard the Amistad and gained his freedom. “Cinqué – Suite of the Caribbean” was regarded as one of the top concerts of the Jazz at Lincoln Center 2015 season.
The BAE Woodwind Quintet, derived from the core of musicians that encompasses the Bronx Arts Ensemble, is comprised of talented artists performing in major NYC area orchestras including the American Symphony Orchestra, NYC Ballet Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s and numerous Broadway orchestras.
“The music chosen by BAE for this concert reflects the backgrounds of many of the people who live in the Bronx. They will recognize some of the music from their own heritage, as it explores the Afro-Cuban diaspora” says Judith Insell, Music Programs Manager for the Bronx Arts Ensemble. Villafranca shares: “Playing with the Bronx Arts Ensemble not only is an exciting project but also represents the meeting of the three musical styles that constitute the fabric of my music: Afro-Cuban, classical, and jazz.”
This is the first time that “Cinqué – Suite of the Caribbean” will be performed in this configuration: with both classical and jazz musicians. While typically considered a jazz musician, Villafranca explains, “When I write music, I try to write from a classical point of view. In classical music, the melody has an arc, a beginning, development and end. In jazz, you can write one line, and then from that point on you can develop. But I want to feel like the music is complete even if nobody’s going to solo. I don’t like to rely on soloists; I like to rely on music.” The partnership with the Bronx Arts Ensemble is a natural one.
The program opens with Paquito D’Rivera’s “Aires Tropicales” performed by the Bronx Arts Ensemble Woodwind Quintet — Theresa Norris (flute), Bill Meredith (oboe), Mitchell Kriegler (clarinet), Atsuko Sato (bassoon), and Rheagan Osteen (french horn). This original seven-movement work was written specifically for a wind quintet and premiered in 1994. The movements are: “Alborada,” a slow introduction; “Son,” with an ostinato Latin bass line in the bassoon and horn; “Habanera,” a trio movement for flute, clarinet and bassoon in the style of Ravel; “Vals Venezolano,” a lively Venezuelan waltz; “Dizzyness,” an homage to the late, great Dizzy Gillespie; “Contradanza,” an upbeat Cuban dance honoring Ernesto Lecuona; and “Afro.” Following, Elio Villafranca is joined by Ricky Rodriguez on bass and Arturo Stable on drums/percussion/toys for a selection of his original compositions. The trio and quintet conclude the program with “Cinqué.”
Tickets are now available and are $15 ($5 for students). They can be purchased by calling (718) 518-4455 or online at www.hostoscenter.org. Box Office window hours are Mon. – Fri., 1 PM to 4 PM and 2 hours prior to performance. Hostos Community College can be reached by the IRT 2, 4, 5, and busses Bx1, Bx2, Bx19 to East 149th Street and the Grand Concourse.
Support for Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture programs is provided by the Eugenio María de Hostos Community College Foundation, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Coalition of Theaters of Color, the Office of NYC Council member Rafael Salamanca Jr., and the Office of New York State Assemblyman José Rivera.