Duo Iberoamerica, Williams Chamber Players, Martha Mooke, and Noah Fields '11.
The Williams College Department of Music presents this festival dedicated to Latin Cultures and to the late Steven Dennis Bodner who was very actively making the festival possible as a way to support Latin Music. The festival starts on Friday, Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. with the Momenta Quartet at '62 Center and continues with a variety of music on Saturday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, concluding with a concert at 8 p.m. in Chapin Hall on the same day. These free events are open to the public. This is a celebration of Latin American music–its contemporary expressions, heritage, and legacy as bridges between peoples.
The very exciting Momenta Quartet provides the first Puente Sonoro on Friday night in the '62 Center. The depth and breadth of the performance is an experience that stands for itself. All of the details of that concert and master classes are being released separately.
Those with an interest in chamber music also get their due. On Saturday evening Williams Chamber Players members Ronald Feldman, Doris Stevenson, and Joana Genova will present selected movements of the Piazzola trio, Four Seasons. Violist Noah Fields '11, and guests Martha Mooke and Duo Iberoamerica (cellist Ana Ruth Bermudez and pianist Antonio Fermin) will also take the stage in the more intimate Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall to perform music by Modesta Bor, Alberto Ginastera, Aldemaro Romero, Tania León, Marcos Balter, Astor PIazzolla, and Williams faculty member Ileana Perez Velazquez.
The Saturday evening portion of the festival then moves to the spacious and elegant Chapin Hall. The larger student ensembles present more works of great contemporary Latin American composers. This not only provides an opportunity to experience modern music inspired by Latin America: this is a chance to hear the popular ensembles Zambezi Marimba Band and Williams Jazz, Percussion, and Brass Ensembles all in one venue. These ensembles present music by Armando Bayolo, Alberto Ginastera, Alexandre Lunsqui, Allem Carvajal, guest composer Tania León, and faculty member Andy Jaffe. Of special poignancy are the performances by the Symphonic Winds and Opus Zero Band, two groups central to the mission of presenting living music to a greater public. These ensembles embody the musical vision and are the flagship ensembles of the late Steven Dennis Bodner.
This idea of the festival came about when the immigration laws created such an uproar in Arizona. Faculty member Ileana Perez-Velazquez expressed her dismay to Steven and together they birthed the idea of a festival celebrating Latin Heritage. The festival is dedicated to Mr. Bodner, a musician and colleague whose contribution was central to the presentation of many festivals such as this. His recent and untimely passing was and continues to be an unspeakable loss to the students, faculty, and staff at Williams. The service for Steven is Saturday, Feb. 12 at 3 p.m. in Thompson Memorial Chapel.
Tania León is our guest composer for the Festival. We are very excited about her participation in this event.
Tania León, born in Cuba, a vital personality on today’s music scene, is a highly regarded composer and conductor recognized for her accomplishments as an educator and advisor to arts organizations. She has been profiled on ABC, CBS, CNN, PBS, Univision, Telemundo and independent films.
Her works have been performed by such orchestras as the Gewaundhausorchester, Orchestra of Johannesburg, the China National Symphony and the NDR Orchestra. She has collaborated with authors and directors including Rita Dove, John Ashbury, Derek Walcott, and Mark Lamos.
In March 2001, León’s opera Scourge of Hyacinths, based on a play by Wole Soyinka opened, the Festival Centro Historico in Mexico City, staged and designed by Robert Wilson. The opera, commissioned in 1994 by the Munich Biennale, won the BMW Prize. It received seventeen performances by the Grand Théâtre de Genève, Switzerland, the Opéra de Nancy et de Lorraine in France and the St. Pölten Festspielhaus, Austria. The aria Oh Yemanja ("Mother’s Prayer”) was recorded by Dawn Upshaw on her Nonesuch CD “The World So Wide”.
Ácana was jointly commissioned and premiered by Orpheus at Carnegie Hall and by the Purchase College Orchestra in 2008. Other premieres include Estampas, commissioned by the Chicago A cappella, Alma for flute and piano, commissioned for and curated by Marya Martin through Meet the Composer and Atwood Songs for Soprano and piano with text by Margaret Atwood , commissioned by the Howard Hanson Fund at the Eastman School and the Dean’s Fund in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences.
León has appeared as guest conductor with the Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of Marseille, the Orquesta Sinfonica de Asturias, L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Santa Cecilia Orchestra, the Gewaundhausorchester, Orquesta Filarmonica de Bogota, L'Orchestre de Chambre de Geneve as well as the Orquesta de la Comunidad y Coro de Madrid.
Her honors include the New York Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Fromm and Guggenheim Fellowships.
A founding Music Director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem 1968-1979, she instituted the Brooklyn Philharmonic Community Concert Series 1977-1998, co-founded the American Composers Orchestra “Sonidos de las Americas Festivals”, served as New Music Advisor to the New York Philharmonic 1993-1997 and co-founder of “Composers Now” a city wide Festival celebrating contemporary composers in New York City, 2010.
She has lectured at Harvard University, Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan, at Yale University, Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute and Guest Composer/Conductor at the Hamburg Musikschule, Germany and the Beijing Central Conservatory, China.
León has received Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Colgate University, Oberlin and SUNY Purchase Colleges. In 2008 she served as US Artistic Ambassador of American Culture in Madrid, Spain. A Professor at Brooklyn College since 1985, she was named Distinguished Professor of the City University of New York in 2006 and inducted to The American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2010.
Martha Mooke, composer/electro-acoustic violist, a pioneer in the field of electric five string viola, transcends musical boundaries by synthesizing her classical music training with extended techniques, digital effects processing and improvisation, while retaining the depth and soul of the instrument. She is a Yamaha Artist and leading clinician on electric and alternative approaches to string playing. Mooke is founder and violist of the adventurous electro-acoustic Scorchio Quartet, which has performed with David Bowie, Trey Anastasio, Philip Glass, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith and Lou Reed among others.
Mooke has toured internationally as a member of Barbra Streisand’s acclaimed orchestra and traveled throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico with “Star Wars: in Concert”. She has also performed and or recorded with Bon Jovi, Enya, Peter Gabriel, Andrea Bocelli, Tony Bennett, David Byrne, Moby, John Cale, Ziggy Marley, Luciano Pavorotti and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.
Mooke’s genre-defying recordings, Enharmonic Vision and Bowing's Café Mars (duo with electric guitarist Randolph Hudson) have attracted wide critical acclaim. Her catalog includes works for electric and acoustic instruments, film, theater, dance and multimedia productions. She has premiered many works written for her by a broad spectrum of composers.
She has received awards from ASCAP, Meet the Composer and Arts International among others. She was honored with an ASCAP Concert Music Award for conceiving and producing the new music showcase THRU THE WALLS featuring ASCAP composer/performers whose work defies categorization.
For more information, go to www.MarthaMooke.com