March 5, 2014
Famed Venezuelan Choral Conductor Maria Guinand Joins LJS&C in Concert of Latin American Music

La Jolla, Calif. (March 5, 2014) — The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus (LJS&C) presents its 59th season, Life*, celebrating Choral Director David Chase’s 40th anniversary. In the fourth program of the season, Venezuelan choral conductor Maria Guinand joins David Chase in a shared program of Latin American music: Alberto Ginastera’s Malambo, Stephen Montague’s Intrada 1631, Osvaldo Golijov’s Oceana, and Heitor Villa-Lobos’ Chôros No. 10.

“My first experience of Maria Guinand and the way she makes music was a life-changing event for me,” says David Chase. “It restarted my way of thinking about choral music and completely reenergized me. I am thrilled that Maria will be sharing her time with us in this very special concert.”

Maria Guinand, born in 1953 in Caracas, currently conducts two of Venezuela’s most prestigious choirs, the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela and Cantoria Alberto Grau, and for three decades has served as choral advisor to the country’s famous music education program, El Sistema. She is internationally-renowned as an authentic interpreter of Latin American choral music of the 20th and 21st centuries, and conducts choral projects throughout Latin America, Europe, the U.S. and Asia. Guinand has a long association with the music of Osvaldo Golijov, including premiering Golijov’s Oceana at the Oregon Bach Festival in 1996, a work she reprises in her concert with LJS&C.

The March concert begins with David Chase conducting the perfect curtain-raiser: Alberto Ginastera’s (1916-1983) Malambo. A fast and fun gaucho dance, Malambo was part of Ginastera’s four-dance suite from his ballet, Estancia (The Ranch), and has always been one of his most popular works.

Intrada 1631 by Stephen Montague (b. 1943), also conducted by Chase, follows. It is based on a ritualistic setting of the earliest-known Peruvian polyphonic music, Hanacpachap, a 17th century Catholic liturgical chant composed by a Franciscan missionary priest, Juan Pérez Bocanegra, and written in the language of the Incas. Montague uses Bocanegra’s 20-bar hymn as the basis for an expanded processional that takes the ancient melody’s ritualism and blows it up to cosmic size in a spatial setting.

Maria Guinand takes the podium for the second half of the program beginning with two short a capella works: Se Equivocó la Paloma by Carlos Gaustavino and Allá va un encobija’o by Alberto Arvelo Torrealba. Then Ms. Guinand conducts the centerpiece of the concert, Osvaldo Golijov’s Oceana, scored for “Brazilian jazz-style vocalist” (Rebecca Ramirez), child treble (Sofia Piedrafita), chorus, and small orchestra: piccolo, three flutes, alto flute, percussion, strings, and two guitars (Pablo Gomez and Scott Lee Wolf). The work was commissioned in 1996 by Helmuth Rilling, music director of the Oregon Bach Festival, who asked the Argentine-born composer and three other composers to write what he called “Cantatas of the Americas.” Rilling’s hope was to create works composed in the spirit of Bach yet reflecting their origin in the new world. Golijov drew his text from Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s 1961 collection, Cantos Ceremoniales, choosing poems that celebrate the many faces of the ocean. Golijov’s seven-movement work explodes with the sounds, rhythms, instruments, and passions of South American street music.

As a young medical school student, Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) spent much of his free time playing with groups of street musicians in Rio de Janeiro. He never made it into med school, but he did learn a great deal about Brazilian popular music, especially one particular form, the choros. Villa-Lobos later brought a mature compositional technique to this popular form, writing a series of fourteen choros over a ten-year period. Scored for chorus and very large orchestra, Chôros No. 10 is the grandest of the series. Eleven years after Chôros No. 10 was composed, the Brazilian poet and composer Catullo da Paixão Cearense transformed it into a popular song by adding words to the melody, retitling it “Rasga o coração” (“It Rends Your Heart”), which is the subtitle of Villa-Lobos’ work.

The performances take place March 15–16, 2014 in Mandeville Auditorium at UCSD. Concert times are 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. Individual tickets are $29 general, $27 senior, and $15 student. Group discounts are available. Parking is free. A pre-concert lecture is offered one hour prior to concert times. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the LJS&C office at (858) 534-4637

The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus is San Diego’s oldest and largest community orchestra and chorus. In six concert pairs each season performed on the UC San Diego campus, the ensemble combines classics from the traditional repertoire with a unique blend of premieres, commissions and performances of rarely-heard, often monumental works. Under the leadership of Music Director Steven Schick, LJS&C has been critically acclaimed as offering the most daring orchestral programs in the country. He is joined during the concert season by colleague David Chase who is beginning his 40th year as LJS&C Choral Director.