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Paquito D'Rivera joins POA at Jazz at Lincoln Center 0 June 24
(Published: May 27, 2007)

On Tuesday, June 12th Artistic Director and Founder Alondra de la Parra, the 26 year-old Mexican conductor, will lead the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas in its debut performance at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, featuring Grammy award-winning Cuban saxophonist/clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera as soloist, performing his original works Memories-Danzón and Fantasías Messiaenicas. In a juxtaposition of the legendary and the up-and-coming, the program will also present a world premiere by 25 year-old Mexican composer Martin Capella, the victor of the POA Young Composers Competition 2007, as they unveil his winning work - Ixbalanqué.

An all-Latin American event, this concert brings together a Mexican conductor, a Cuban soloist, a Mexican composer and a New York-based orchestra dedicated to promoting the work of young composers and performers of the Americas.

The performance, sponsored by Fundácion Televisa and Deutsche Bank, will be followed by a Gala-event at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The evening will include a sit-down dinner, and will honor Paquito D'Rivera and Ambassador Arturo Sarukhán for their contributions to the arts world.

The Young Composers Competition: Initiated as a further testament to POA's mission to promote the work of young composers and performers of the Americas, the First Young Composers Competition 2007 invited composers aged thirty-five and younger from the American continent to submit an 8-12 minute work for orchestra. The competition received applications from ten countries that included El Salvador, Peru, Panama, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Mexico, Cuba and the US. The submitted works were judged on originality, style, orchestration and form/structure by a distinguished panel of judges comprised of Robert Beaser, Paul Brantley, Mario Lavista, Tania León and Nils Vigeland, who served as adjudicators for the competition.

The prize carries an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City for the world premiere of the work, to be performed by POA, and a $2000 US cash award. A vital aspect of the competition is the opportunity for the winning composer to collaborate closely with the orchestra in rehearsals prior to the premiere. These sessions serve as an environment for the composer to experiment with the sound of the orchestra and have the ability to further mold their composition.

Paquito D'Rivera: Born on the island of Cuba, Paquito D'Rivera began his career as a child prodigy. A restless musical genius during his teen years, Mr. D'Rivera created various original and ground-breaking musical ensembles. As a founding member of the Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna, he directed that group for two years, while at the same time playing both the clarinet and saxophone with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, he was a founding member and co-director of the innovative musical ensemble Irakere. With its explosive mixture of jazz, rock, classical and traditional Cuban music never before heard, Irakere toured extensively throughout America and Europe, won several Grammy nominations (1979, 1980) and a Grammy (1979).

In addition to his extraordinary performing career as an instrumentalist, Paquito has rapidly gained a reputation as an accomplished composer. His works often reveal his widespread and eclectic musical interests, which range from Afro-Cuban rhythms and melodies, including influences encountered in his many travels, and back to his classical origins. His commissions include compositions for the National Symphony Orchestra and the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Library of Congress, the Turtle Island String Quartet, the Ying String Quartet, the International Double Reed Society, and Syracuse University. His chamber piece "Merengue, " which he recorded live for Sony Records in collaboration with distinguished cellist Yo-Yo Ma at Carnegie's Zankel Hall, won him his 7th Grammy as Best Instrumental Composition 2005.

Paquito D'Rivera is the author of two books: My Sax Life, published by Northwestern University Press, and a novel, Oh, La Habana, published by MTeditores, Barcelona, soon to be available in English.

Mr. D'Rivera has been named a 2007 Guggenheim Fellow in Music Composition and appointed Caramoor's 2007-2008 Composer in Residence as part of the Latin American music initiative, Sonidas Latinos. He is the recipient of the NEA Jazz Masters Award 2005 and the National Medal of the Arts 2005. His numerous other honors include a Doctorate Honoris Causa in Music from the Berklee School of Music in Boston, and eight Grammy awards. He was the first artist to win Latin Grammys in both Classical and Latin Jazz categories-- for Stravinsky's Historia del Soldado and Brazilian Dreams with New York Voices.

Alondra de la Parra - Twenty-six year-old Mexican conductor and pianist, Alondra de la Parra, recently became the first woman from her country to conduct in New York City. "De la Parra ... obviously has charisma to go along with her precocious organizational skills, " wrote a critic in the Newark Star Ledger last June, after the POA's Lincoln Center debut at Alice Tully Hall. The Wall Street Journal described Ms. de la Parra as "elegant, assured and lyrical, ".

Ms. de la Parra began her music studies at an early age in both piano and cello. Aware of early talent, she studied in England and was quickly appointed assistant conductor of the St. Leonard's Mayfield School Orchestra. Upon her return to Mexico, she continued her studies in composition and performance in Mexico City at the Center of Music Studies (CIEM).

In 2000 Ms. de la Parra moved to New York to study piano and conducting. She was awarded the Presser Scholarship at The Manhattan School of Music where she completed her BM in Piano Performance under the direction of Jeffrey Cohen. In 2003 she first attended the Conductor's Retreat in Maine, an opportunity that she passionately describes as "the most life-changing and inspiring musical experience", where she studied with renowned conducting mentor Kenneth Kiesler who has been her principal teacher since.

She was selected as one of seven participants in the Kurt Masur Conducting Seminar both in 2004 and 2006, where The Wall Street Journal described Ms. de la Parra as "elegant, assured and lyrical". Master-classes and private study also include such prominent conductors as Charles Dutoit, Michael Charry, Marin Alsop and Gustav Meier. Alondra is currently a full-scholarship MM candidate in Orchestral Conducting at the Manhattan School of Music where she is the recipient of the Gabe Weiner Fellowship.

Ms. de la Parra is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, which debuted in New York's Town Hall in November 2004. She currently holds the position of Principal Guest Conductor of the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra and has held the position of backstage conductor of the New York Grand Opera as part of the complete Verdi Cycle under Maestro La Selva. Ms. De la Parra made her professional orchestra debut with the Buenos Aires Philharmonic at the famed Teatro Colón in June 2004. Recently she made her Carnegie Hall début as guest conductor with the New York Pops Orchestra, performing the New York premiere of the original film score of Bernstein's West Side Story Overture. She has appeared as guest conductor with the, Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco, Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil de Veracruz, the Orquesta Filarmónica de Montevideo, and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Aguascalientes.

In 2005, Ms. De la Parra made her Mexico debut as guest conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico at the Palacio de Bellas Artes. She has recently been selected as a finalist in the 2nd Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition in Germany.

Martin Capella: Born in 1981, Martin Capella is currently finishing an undergraduate degree in composition at the Center for Musical Research and Studies (CIEM for its initials in Spanish) with the professors Ma. Antonieta Lozano, Victor Rasgado, Tomás Barreiro, Enrico Chapela and Alejandro Velasco (Kavindu). He has also participated in workshops with the professors Michelle Goneville and Theo Lovendie. After serving as assistant professor to Enrico Chapela in an orchestration class, he now teaches instrumentation at the CIEM.

As a musician he has done music programming and has played the saxophone, flute, tabla, guitar and percussions in several music ensembles since 1996. Among these are "Elefante Verde", "Cuarteto rompe catres" and "Afterodon".

Martín Capella has been working in music and audio design for films since 2003. In 2006 he composed a score for a short film in the multimedia project "Tocando en corto", which was played live by a chamber ensemble during the screening of the film at the Blas Galindo Hall in Mexico City. In 2005 and 2006 he worked for the international electroacustic festival "Visiones sonoras".

His recent premiers are: Cactos y Suculentas (2003), Índalo (2004), Oneiros (2005), 5 Invertebrados para Lina (2005) and Predicciones (2006). The string quintet 5 Invertebrados para Lina will be played in the "Foro internacional de música nueva Manuel Enriquez" at the Manuel M. Ponce Hall in the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City (May 2007).

Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas was founded in 2004 by then 23 year-old Mexican conductor and pianist Alondra de la Parra. Over the past few years, Alondra's vision has been materializing into what is now a burgeoning orchestra whereby promising young performers and composers from all over the Americas are given a platform to showcase high-caliber classical music.

In addition to opening doors for many young composers and soloists, POA is also increasing public awareness of Latin American symphonic music and has produced more than 8 concerts to audiences of more than 3, 000. POA strives to be an integral part of 21st-century New York City and to share a passion for music with a broad public. Breaking down the boundaries and stereotypes of the traditional concert format is key to POA's mission, so that symphonic music becomes a more central part of public life

More Information: http://www.jalc.org

Submitted By: jazzears

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