Contact: David Perkins, 413-634-5716
ARMANDO ORZUZA AND NURIA MARTINEZ , ARTISTIC TANGO DANCERS, TO PARTICIPATE IN “CAFÉ BUENOS AIRES,” PROGRAM OF LATIN AMERICAN CHAMBER MUSIC, AT LONGY SCHOOL ON MARCH 9. / ALSO: LONGY GRAD TO SING IN VILLA-LOBOS’ MASTERPIECE WITH UMASS CELLO ENSEMBLE.
Longy School of Music graduate Junko Watanabe (M.A., ‘02) will be featured in Heitor Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, for soprano and cello ensemble, in a performance with the Wistaria Chamber Music Society of Western Massachusetts on Saturday, March 9, at 8 p.m., in the Longy School of Music’s Pickman Concert Hall.
The program of all Latin American music, titled “Café Buenos Aires,” marks the first performance in the Boston area of the western Massachusetts-based ensemble.
Other performers are cellist Astrid Schween, pianist Estela Olevsky, Dúo Fusión (flutist Sarah Swersey and guitarist Joe Belmont), and the 15-member UMASS Cello Ensemble. Other music is by Piazzolla, Pujol, and Ginastera.
In addition, Armando Orzuza and Nuria Martinez, internationally traveled Tango dancers who are well known in the Boston area, will dance in several numbers.
“Latin American music has this irresistible, joyous energy and melodic verve, and is hugely popular, as we all know,” said David Perkins, founder and artistic director of Wistaria. “I’ve been delighted to discover how varied the repertoire is, and that younger composers are still finding inspiration in this vein. We’re excited to be bringing to Cambridge a varied and electrically charged program.”
Estela Olevsky, an internationally known pianist and native of Buenos Aires and professor of piano emeritus at UMASS-Amherst, will perform several solo pieces by Alberto Ginastera, as well as his Pampeana No. 2 with Ms. Schween.
Astrid Schween is a widely recognized soloist who was for 20 years a member of the renowned Lark Quartet for 20 years. Since turning to solo work in 2004, she has performed across the country and abroad, includewith the Boston Chamber Music Society, and in duo recitals with pianists Gary Hammond and Randall Hodgkinson.
Also participating are the flute and guitar team of Sarah Swersey and Joe Belmont (Dúo Fusión) in works by Mexican composer M.D. Pujol and Brazilian Antonio Jobim, and mezzo-soprano Eileen Ruby, who will be heard in songs by the Argentine composer Antonio Ginastera, accompanied by Ms. Olevsky.
The UMASS Cello Ensemble, consisting of 15 of Ms. Schween’s advanced students at UMASS-Amherst, will also perform a movement of Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 1.
Armando Orzuza was born in La Boca, the Buenos Aires barrio where Tango originated, and was taught by some of its original masters. He danced in the “Tango Pasión” revue on Broadway in 1993, winning praise from the New York Times for “moving with ambling urgency but also silky smoothness.” He stayed on in the U.S., to perform in shows and films (he has worked with Madonna and Julio Iglesias, and was the featured dancer in Robert Duvall’s 2003 film, “Assassination Tango”). He has also been a force as a teacher and performer in the Tango revivals in the U.S. and Europe.
Nuria Martinez, from Spain, was trained in ballet and modern dance at the National Academy in Madrid before learning Tango and becoming Orzuza’s partner. To his suave traditional steps she brings the clean, elegant line of her classical training.
Wistaria was founded in 2005 as a performing ensemble at Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke, which remains its home base. Now separately incorporated, Wistaria has a roster of 20 professionals, semi-professionals and skilled amateur musicians, most of them residents of Western Massachusetts, and gives six to eight concerts a year in Holyoke, Amherst, Greenfield, and Brattleboro.
“We are a large family of musicians who enjoy performing 19th and 20th-century chamber music in unusual formats and combinations,” Perkins said. “My feeling is, listening to chamber music should not be like sitting for an exam. And by combining the arts, we heighten people’s senses.” Earlier performances of “Café Buenos Aires” this season have been given in the Arts Block café with local Tango dancers performing in several pieces.
In addition to its Latin American programs, Wistaria has performed an annual series Schubertiads in period costume, visited the circle of Clara and Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms, paid tribute to the French Impressionists (painters and composers) and the avant-garde Paris salon of the Princesse de Polignac; saluted “American Mavericks,” including Mrs. H.H.A. Beach, Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, and Carl Cacioppo.
John Montanari, the classical music host of WFCR (New England Public Radio), has called the society’s performances a “New England musical pleasure.”