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Famed Cuban jazzman Paquito D’Rivera, SU students to play together in Nov. 1 world premiere event
Famed Cuban jazzman Paquito D’Rivera, SU students to play together in Nov. 1 world premiere eventOctober 08, 2007Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
Grammy Award-winning Cuban musician and composer Paquito D’Rivera will perform a repertoire of jazz and Latin music — including the world premiere of new music commissioned by Syracuse University — during a concert by the Paquito D’Rivera Quintet on Thursday, Nov. 1, at 8 p.m. in Goldstein Auditorium in the Hildegarde and J. Myer Schine Student Center. It is co-sponsored by the 2007 Syracuse Symposium, presented by SU’s College of Arts and Sciences, and Pulse, the visual and performing arts partnership between SU’s Division of Student Affairs and College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA).
D’Rivera will perform with Oscar Stagnaro (bass), Mark Wagner (drums), Alex Brown (piano) and Diego Urcola (trumpet). D’Rivera will premier his new work, “Borat in Syracuse,” which was commissioned by the Syracuse Symposium and Pulse specifically for this occasion. SU student members of the Morton Schiff Jazz Ensemble will also perform a number of songs, including D’Rivera’s alternate arrangement of “Borat in Syracuse” under the baton of Joe Riposo, affiliate artist in VPA’s Setnor School of Music. D’Rivera, who offered to arrange his new work specifically for SU’s student musicians, will be a featured soloist.
Tickets — $20 for the general public, $10 for CNY Jazz Arts Foundation members and SU faculty, staff and alumni, and $5 for students with valid SU I.D. — are currently available at the Schine Box Office, (315) 443-4517. Parking will be available in the Irving Garage at a discounted rate, and in the University Avenue Garage and Booth Garage for $3.50.
“For our students, engagement with the world through the arts is one of the transformative highlights that distinguishes the Syracuse University experience,” says Barry L. Wells, senior vice president and dean of student affairs. “As we bring world-class artists such as Paquito D’Rivera to campus, students not only experience the rich diversity of Latin jazz influences by hearing the music for the first time, but by playing it at a premiere performance of their own.”
The world premiere piece, “Borat in Syracuse,” takes its title from D’Rivera’s first trip to Syracuse as a performer in the 1980s and from the recent film starring Sacha Baron Cohen. As D’Rivera describes, it was “snowing cats and dogs,” and the inspiration for the music was his memory of that winter experience and the mental image of the fictional character Borat climbing “mountains of snow while holding a brown leather bag (with a chicken inside)” and a “little American flag.”
D’Rivera composed “Three Poems from the New World,” which focused on issues of racial intolerance, hate and injustice, as well as the appreciation of friendship, love and life. The work was commissioned and premiered by the Chicago Chamber Musicians at the Grant Park Music Festival in June 2006.
“This work of Paquito’s in particular, which deals with societal struggles, is a perfect complement to the Syracuse Symposium this year as we focus on the issue of justice,” says Kandice Salomone, associate dean for administration in The College of Arts and Sciences and chair of the Syracuse Symposium Committee. “He is an artist who inspires us all, and the messages he brings through his music are important for us all to hear and appreciate.”
Music has been a key part of D’Rivera’s life since his childhood. During his teen years, he created original musical ensembles. He was a founding member of the Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna and played both the clarinet and saxophone with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. D’Rivera was also a founding member and co-director of the Grammy Award-winning ensemble Irakere.
D’Rivera won his first solo Grammy Award in 1996 for “Portraits of Cuba.” He has garnered nine Grammy Awards and numerous nominations. Among his many honors, D’Rivera is a recipient of the National Medal for the Arts, presented at the White House by President George W. Bush in 2005. D’Rivera was also named one of the 2005 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters. Most recently, he was honored this past March with the Living Jazz Legend Award in a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
With more than 30 solo albums (including his 2007 release, “Funk Tango”), D’Rivera’s repertoire extends beyond jazz and Latin music to include classical music as well. He has performed around the world with renowned symphonies and orchestras. He has created and promoted all types of classical compositions, including his three chamber compositions recorded live in concert with Yo-Yo Ma at Carnegie Hall in September 2003.
D’Rivera has also gained significant recognition as a composer in recent years. He received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition this year, as well as the 2007-08 appointment as Composer-In-Residence at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. “Conversations with Cachao,” a new concerto for double bass and clarinet/saxophone, pays tribute to Cuba’s legendary bass player and received its premiere in June at Caramoor.
In addition to his renown as a performer and composer, D’Rivera is also a prolific music educator. He serves on the board of the Commission Project, a national music education organization that is a community partner of SU.
D’Rivera is artist-in-residence at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and is on the board of directors of numerous artistic organizations. He has been the artistic director of the Festival International de Jazz en el Tambo in Uruguay. He wrote a memoir, “My Sax Life” (English edition/Northwestern University Press, 2005), and was recognized with a special award by the Universidad de Alcalade Henares in Madrid in 1999.
The Syracuse Symposium is a semester-long intellectual and artistic festival, hosted by SU’s College of Arts and Sciences, that celebrates interdisciplinary thinking, imagination and creation. The theme for the 2007 series is “Justice.” For more information, visit http://symposium.syr.edu.
Pulse provides SU students and the local community opportunities to attend and participate in programs, performances, exhibitions and events in the visual and performing arts. It is a collaborative project of VPA and the Division of Student Affairs. For more information, visit http://students.syr.edu/pulse.