Aldo López-Gavilán impresses in Toulouse, France

Toulouse, France, September 22nd ,2018

Piano aux Jacobins is one of the most celebrated Piano Festivals in Europe. Founded in Toulouse, back in 1979, the event has welcomed some of the best-known pianists in the world, such as: Sviatoslav Richter, Alfred Brendel, Martha Argerich, Gonzales and Murray Perahias.

The festival is a rendezvous of musicians of classical training but also nurtures and celebrates the jazz genre. The festival has also extended to China, with editions in Beijing and Shanghai, as well as in other major Chinese cities, and to Japan (Tokyo and Gifu).

Aldo Lopez-Gavilan is the first Cuban pianist to take part in this prestigious festival and his concert at the gorgeous Auditorium Saint-Pierre des Cuisines on September 21st was one that received many praises from both: the audience and the organizers.

With a program mainly comprised by his compositions (“Un Cubano En Londres”, “Espiral”, “Memorias de un abuelo”, “Oddudua”, “Maracujá”, etc.) but that also included some standards (“Solar” and “Some day my prince will come”), the very talented pianist offered an amazing recital that he appeared to enjoyed as much as the audience in the hall.

His outstanding performance gained him an invitation from the organizers to come back to Toulouse to record an album next year.

—-versión en español—–

Aldo López-Gavilán impresiona en Toulouse, Francia

Toulouse, Francia, 22 de septiembre de 2018

Piano aux Jacobins es uno de los festivales de piano más famosos de Europa. Fundado en Toulouse, en 1979, el evento ha acogido a algunos de los pianistas más conocidos del mundo, como: Sviatoslav Richter, Alfred Brendel, Martha Argerich, Gonzales y Murray Perahias.

El festival es un encuentro de músicos de formación clásica, pero también nutre y celebra el género de jazz. El festival también se ha extendido a China, con ediciones en Beijing y Shanghai, así como en otras ciudades chinas importantes, y en Japón (Tokio y Gifu).

Aldo López-Gavilán es el primer pianista cubano que participa en este prestigioso festival y su concierto en el magnífico Auditorio Saint-Pierre des Cuisines el 21 de septiembre recibió muchos elogios de ambos: el público y los organizadores.

Con un programa compuesto principalmente por sus composiciones (“Un Cubano En Londres”, “Espiral”, “Memorias de un abuelo”, “Oddudua”, “Maracujá”, etc.) pero que también incluía algunos estándares (“Solar” y ” Algún día vendrá mi príncipe “), el pianista muy talentoso ofreció un recital increíble que parecía disfrutar tanto como la audiencia en el salón.

Su destacada actuación le hizo ganar una invitación de los organizadores para volver a Toulouse para grabar un álbum el año que viene.

 

Aldo López-Gavilán gave a warmly lyrical, effortlessly virtuosic performance of Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G

Cuban pianist lights a fire with South Florida Symphony

By David Fleshler

Aldo López-Gavilán performed Ravel's Piano Concerto in G with the South Florida Symphony Sunday night in Boca Raton.

Aldo López-Gavilán performed Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G with the South Florida Symphony Sunday night in Boca Raton.

The Cuban pianist Aldo López-Gavilán gave a warmly lyrical, effortlessly virtuosic performance of Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Sunday night in Boca Raton, as the South Florida Symphony Orchestra embarked on a tour of venues along the state’s southeast coast.

Formerly known as the Key West Symphony Orchestra, the orchestra moved from its island birthplace several years ago and now performs at venues from Palm Beach through the Florida Keys. Performing Sunday at Spanish River Worship Center in Boca Raton, the ensemble displayed a big, smoothly efficient string section and well-balanced, agile and resonant woodwinds and brass.

There were glitches here and there, and intonation issues in high exposed passages in the violins. But conducted by Sebrina María Alfonso, the orchestra delivered a well-played, wide-ranging program of Berlioz, Ravel and the Israeli composer Nimrod Borenstein. The program will be repeated at major venues, including Miami’s Arsht Center and Fort Lauderdale’s Broward Center this week.

In the Ravel concerto, López-Gavilán easily handled the technical hurdles, playing with a light, assured virtuosity. But beyond that, he showed a genuine feel for the work’s bluesy melodies, making the most of these emotional high points with a natural warmth and sensitivity. There were a few glitches in the accompaniment, including the rapid opening melody, but in general the orchestra proved a lively and tonally refined partner.

In the long solo that opens the Adagio, López-Gavilán played in a free but flowing manner, bringing out the music’s meditative lyricism without ever letting it lose shape. Flute, oboe and other woodwinds played with great ardor and intensity as their melodies swelled over his running accompaniment in the piano. The brief concluding Presto came off as a quick burst of manic energy, with playing by López-Gavilán that was percussive and pointed, then smooth and fluid.

Sebrina Maria Alonso

Sebrina María Alfonso

Alfonso led a boldly drawn performance of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, giving a dramatic account of this portrait of an artist’s romantic obsession. The theme of the artist’s beloved, which appears throughout the work, came off in strings and woodwinds as a beguiling, free and restless melody, expressing the allure and elusiveness of the object of his obsession.

In the second movement, which portrays a ball, Alonso skillfully led the orchestra through a swirling, mysterious introduction from which the graceful waltz theme emerges. In the March to the Scaffold, in which the opium-addled artist imagines his own execution, Alfonso led a dire, well-controlled buildup, with understated force in the brass. When she finally unleashed the brass, they played with vigor but no rawness.

The last movement, which depicts the protagonist’s opium dream of a witches’ sabbath, was spookily effective. Playing in a light, creepy manner, the orchestra created a sound world of squeaking rats, rattling bones and all the other Halloween effects of Berlioz’s orchestration. The theme of his beloved, appearing here as a hideous participant in the witches’ festivities, came off in the woodwinds as effectively distorted and grotesque.

The surprise of the evening was Nimrod Borenstein’s If You Will It, It Is No Dream, a work inspired by a slogan from the writings of Theodor Herzl, the Zionist movement’s 19th century founder. The work received its U. S.  premiere Sunday to mark the 70th anniversary of the 1948 founding of Israel.

One usually doesn’t have high hopes for such celebratory, ceremonial works. (Beethoven’s Wellington’s Victory may have put more schnitzel on the table than his Eroica and Ninth symphonies combined, but it remained a low point of his compositional career.) But in this case, rather than the usual ponderous pomp, Borenstein wrote a fleet, stormy, engrossing work.

The orchestra’s strings struck up frantic repeated figures that undergirded the work. A smooth, cinematic melody came high in the violins. The minor-key theme moved from instrument to instrument, finally appearing climactically in the brass. Alfonso drove the orchestra in a rapid, forward-leaning manner that gave this well-crafted work a heroic momentum.

The program will be repeated 7:30 pm Tuesday at the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Arsht Center in Miami; and 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the TennesseeWilliams Theatre in Key West. southfloridasymphony.org

Outstanding Cuban pianist Aldo López-Gavilán will make his soloist debut with The Florida Orchestra with three concerts celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the symphony.

Aldo Lopez-Gavilan
February 17 of 2018, Havana | Office of Aldo López-Gavilán

Aldo López-Gavilán, the multi-award-winning Cuban pianist, and composer will make his debut with the Florida Orchestra with three major concerts on February 23, 24 and 25 in the Florida cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, respectively.

The Florida Orchestra celebrates its 50th anniversary with an exciting program and for the debut of the young Cuban pianist has chosen ” Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini ” by the Russian composer, pianist and conductor Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943). The composition of Rachmaninoff is based on ” 24 Caprices for solo violin”, the most significant work of the virtuoso violinist and Genoese composer Nicolò Paganini (1801-1807). Other great masters like Franz Liszt, Robert Schumann, and Johannes Brahms, were also inspired by this work to write their own compositions.

In the spring of 1934, Rachmaninoff, another great virtuoso, canceled a concert tour that he had planned to dedicate himself fully to the Rhapsody in Lucerne, composing in a single movement, three sections that group the variations 1-10, 11-18 and 19 -24. The result is one of the best works of Rachmaninoff. It premiered in Baltimore, on November 11, 1934, with Rachmaninoff himself as a soloist.

This will be the first time that the Cuban pianist plays the famous Rhapsody with a symphony orchestra.

For these three concerts, the Florida Orchestra will be conducted by Michael Francis, who has quickly established himself internationally, conducting in Asia, North America, and Europe. Known for maintaining a diverse repertoire while paying particular homage to the composers of his native Britain, Francis. Last season, Francis debuted with the Atlanta and Montreal symphony orchestras and Cincinnati’s May Music Festival, and he returned to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with Emanuel Ax. Abroad, he appeared with Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken, Komische Oper Berlin, Dresden Philharmonic, Tampere Filharmonia, and Trondheim Symphony Orchestra.

After these important concerts with the Florida Orchestra, López-Gavilán will continue his extensive tour of the USA. UU next to the Harlem Quartet and in April he will return to Florida to make his debut with the South Florida Orchestra, performing the Concert for Piano in G major by Ravel.

Cuban pianist and composer Aldo Lopez-Gavilan headlines sold-out North American appearances at Festival Napa Valley and Classical Tahoe

Celebrated young composer to perform world premiere of his first concerto for piano and orchestra, Emporium, at Classical Tahoe on July 29

HAVANA, Cuba – July 10, 2017 – Renowned Cuban pianist and composer Aldo López-Gavilán continues his foray onto the U.S. music scene with sold-out headline performances at two prominent summer music festivals in California: Festival Napa Valley and Classical Tahoe. Both by-invitation appearances feature López-Gavilán’s original compositions, including the world premiere of his first concerto for piano and orchestra, Emporium.

Back by popular demand after dazzling the Festival Napa Valley audience last summer, López-Gavilán returns to join violinist Joshua Bell for his Seasons of Cuba concert on July 15 at Far Niente Winery. The concert also features soprano Larisa Martinez and the Havana Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Daiana Garcia. He will later headline Festival Napa Valley’s Hot Havana Nights show at the Blue Note Jazz Club on Tuesday, July 18, where the audience will get an up-close look at his virtuosity and genius for improvisation. Lopez-Gavilan joins a superstar Festival Napa Valley lineup that includes vocalists Danielle deNiese, Paulo Szot, Angel Blue and Lester Lynch, conductors Stéphane Denève and Joel Revzen, actor Bill Murray with cellist Jan Vogler, and the lead actors from the Hamilton National Tour.

The artist continues his Northern California tour with back-to-back sold-out performances at Classical Tahoe. Under the baton of maestro Joel Revzen, the Classical Tahoe Orchestra will join Lopez-Gavilan on Saturday, July 29, to perform the world premiere of his Emporium, a concerto for piano and orchestra dedicated to Lopez-Gavilan’s twin 9 years old daughters Andrea and Adriana. López-Gavilán will perform the popular Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin with the Classical Tahoe orchestra on Friday, July 28.

Lopez-Gavilan continues his US tour with performances with the Harlem String Quartet in Edgartown, Mass., Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., Houston, TX, Muskegon, MI and Big Rapids, MI.

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About: Aldo López-Gavilán was born in Cuba to a family of internationally acclaimed classical musicians. His first international triumph was at age eleven, when he won the Danny Kaye International Children’s Award, organized by UNICEF. He made his professional debut at age twelve with the Matanzas Symphony Orchestra. Parallel to his classical abilities, López-Gavilán developed remarkable improvisational skills. He was invited to perform in the world-famous Havana Jazz Festival with legend Chucho Valdés, who called López- Gavilán “simply a genius, a star.” In 1999, López-Gavilán recorded his first CD, En el ocaso de la hormiga y el elefante, which won the 2000 Grand Prix at Cubadisco. He was also invited by Claudio Abbado to perform as soloist in a special concert dedicated to the two hundrhundred-fiftieth anniversary of Mozart’s birth, in which he was accompanied by the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela. The following year, Abbado invited him to perform Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 1 in Caracas and Havana. López-Gavilán’s remarkable professional career also includes composing original music for award-winning films and arranging his own compositions for international orchestras, as well as performing in some of the most prestigious music venues of the world.

For more information and booking inquiries, please visit Aldo López-Gavilán’s official website: www.aldomusica.com

Aldo brings back his Havana Heat to Washington with the Northwest Sinfonietta

Cuban pianist and composer Aldo Lopez-Gavilan makes his highly-anticipated return to the Northwest, joining members of the Sinfonietta for an unforgettable evening of music!  Dubbed a “formidable virtuoso” by The Times of London, Lopez-Gavilan excels equally in the worlds of classical, jazz, and chamber music.  His spirit of collaboration has made him a key figure in promoting the cultural exchange between the United States and Cuba.  In April 2016, he was part of a group of musicians who collaborated in Cuba with such renowned U.S. artists as Joshua Bell, Dave Matthews, and Smokey Robinson.

Rooted in classical music, Northwest Sinfonietta seeks to serve diverse audiences, to strengthen its community connections through education and collaboration, and to broaden its influence in the artistic and cultural fabric of the region.

Northwest Sinfonietta recently switched to The Artistic Partner model, which is used successfully by some of the top chamber orchestras in the world; including Academy of St. Martin in the Field, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. The two key components of the model are 1) engaging a small group of rotating Artistic Partners; and 2) sharing artistic decision-making with our musicians. Artistic Partners are not just guest conductors – they will be with us for multiple seasons on a rotating basis, and will collaborate with NWS musicians on both programming and artistic quality.

In 2012 and 2013, NWS was only the third American orchestra to tour and perform in Cuba since the 1959 revolution, prompting Governor Christine Gregoire to proclaim Northwest Sinfonietta as “Washington State’s international cultural ambassador.” In 2014, they became the fifth professional chamber orchestra in the world to adopt the Artistic Partner leadership model.  Their 2015-16 season celebrated the 25th anniversary for the orchestra, as well as the Governor’s Arts Award as an outstanding organization in Washington State.  The Sinfonietta’s 2016-17 season builds on its history of excellence, with three stellar Artistic Partners, world-class soloists, and exciting collaborations with other arts organizations throughout the Puget Sound region.

 

Joshua Bell Brings the ‘Seasons of Cuba’ to Lincoln Center

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NEW YORK—Grammy Award winning violinist Joshua Bell went to Cuba on a trip organized by President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. The aim was to create an exchange between American and Cuban musicians.

The happy result of the trip was the “Seasons of Cuba” concert by Bell and his Cuban friends at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall.

Bell acted as the host of the evening and performed throughout most of the concert. As he said at the outset, the program was eclectic.

One of his unexpected discoveries in Cuba was the high quality of classical musicians. At the concert, he presented the Chamber Orchestra of Havana, making its U.S. debut. The ensemble, conducted by Daiana García, is mostly made up of young women. All the members are graduates of the Cuban University of Arts.

Bell and the orchestra began with “Summer” from Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.” Bell has previously made a highly praised recording of the entire work with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, which he now leads. With the Chamber Orchestra of Havana, he again demonstrated his technical proficiency and verve in a piece he has performed countless times.

The musicians moved from baroque music to tango with the Summer section of “The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires” by Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla.

At the end, everyone joined for an ebullient rendition of ‘Guantanamera.’

Bell said that one of his idols is legendary violinist Jascha Heifetz and, as a tribute, he played Heifetz’s arrangement of the lilting “Estrellita” (Little Star) by Mexican composer Manuel Ponce. Heifetz had played the piece in the 1939 Archie Mayo film “They Shall Have Music.”

Cuban pianist/composer Aldo López-Gavilán came out to solo on his own work, “Epilogo.” Incidentally, as Bell pointed out, López-Gavilán is married to conductor García, who blew her husband a kiss.

The classically trained soprano Larisa Martínez won the audience over with two numbers by Cuban composers: the zarzuela “Cecilia Valdés” by Gonzalo Roig and “Maria La O” by Ernesto Lecuona.

Bell explained that the first Cuban piece he ever played was the effervescent “Para Ti,” which he performed with the pianist/composer Jorge Gómez and his group Tiempo Libre on Bell’s album “At Home With Friends.” The two again joined for the engaging work, which alternated lyrical passages by the violinist and dance rhythms.

Cuban singer and songwriter Carlos Varela has been called “The Poet of Havana,” which happens to be the title of HBO Latino’s documentary film about him. His socially conscious songs, frequently critical of the Cuban government, have made him a hero both for those within his native country and the exile community here. Varela (who accompanies himself on guitar) sang his haunting song about Havana: “Habaname.”

Dave Matthews was one of the Americans on the trip with Joshua Bell and he spoke of the wonderful experience of collaborating with Cuban musicians. He then joined with Varela for one of the Cuban’s songs, “Muros y Puertas” (Walls and Doors). This was followed by three of Matthews’s own pieces, “Samurai Cop,” “Here on Out” and “Ants Marching.”

At the end, everyone joined for an ebullient rendition of “Guantanamera.”

The “Seasons of Cuba” concert was filmed and will be broadcast on “Live From Lincoln Center” on PBS on Dec. 16 at 9:00 p.m. as part of the PBS Arts Fall Festival.

Barry Bassis has been a music, theater, and travel writer for over a decade.

The Washington Post reviews Aldo’s Concert at The Kennedy Center

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October 18

The Kennedy Center’s Fortas Chamber Music series has sought for some years to expand its offerings beyond traditional classical programs, with mixed success. Some of the choices have felt lazy — going with the latest award winner or DownBeat darling rather than seeking out artists who can really connect with local audiences. But Monday’s concert of the Harlem Quartet with pianist-composer Aldo López-Gavilán was lively and engrossing, becoming stronger as it went along. López-Gavilán’s older brother is the string quartet’s first violinist, and the endearing banter between them all evening added to the fun.

The weakest offering came first — “The Adventures of Hippocrates,” a string quartet by Chick Corea. Although Corea has dabbled in classical music for many years — recording works of Mozart and Bartok, for example — his “formal” compositional efforts feel wan and uninvolved. The five movements drifted through templates such as waltz and tango, but the string writing was amateurish and the musical ideas never took wing.Things improved considerably when López-Gavilán joined the group for a pair of jazz standards — “Night in Tunisia” and “Take the A Train” — and a danzon by the Cuban composer Abelardito Valdés called “Almendra.”

There is an insoluble problem with string quartet arrangements of jazz; drums are irreplaceable in this music, and their absence will always be keenly felt (same with the bass, actually). But with the pianist anchoring the rhythm, there was still much to enjoy; each of the Harlem players can solo and riff, with violist Jaime Amador’s sophisticated and precise playing standing out.

After intermission, the group played five pieces by López-Gavilán (the fifth, offered as an encore, was called “Quick Notes”). He’s a terrific composer, with range, imagination and technique. Even though most of the numbers were arrangements, they displayed the only really successful piano/string synthesis of the concert. Some of the dreamier portions had a decidedly French feel — Saint-Saëns meets Legrand — and elsewhere the febrile Cuban rhythms were further refracted in surprising combinations, López-Gavilán’s superb pianism rocking the house as well.
Original article here:

ALDO LÓPEZ-GAVILÁN with HARLEM QUARTET at The Wallis

Located in the heart of Beverly Hills, California, the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (aka “The Wallis”) brings audiences world-class theater, dance and music, performed by many of the world’s most talented and sought-after artists. With eclectic programming that mirrors the diverse landscape of Los Angeles, and its notability as the entertainment capital of the world, The Wallis offers original and revered works from across the US and around the globe.

 

Aldo scores high notes at Napa with his performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue

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Rhapsody in Blue at Lincoln Theatre with special guests Kathleen Battle and Aldo López-Gavilán. The Lincoln Theater is one of Napa Valley’s only large performing arts venues, and it is located right on the historic Veteran’s Home grounds in Yountville. This performance was of the highest quality and moved the audience. From the energetic Rhapsody in Blue performance by Aldo Lopez-Gavilan to the booming vocals of Kathleen Battle, this night rocked the crowd to the edge of their seats.

More info here

 

Phenomenal debut of Aldo López-Gavilán with Orchestra in the US

Cuban Pianist-Composer Aldo López-Gavilán garners rave review for his US orchestral debut performance of Rhapsody in Blue at Festival Napa Valley!

Original encore dazzles audience!

Conductor and orchestra also provided glorious support for Cuban pianist Aldo Lopez-Gavilan’s shimmering, exciting performance of George Gershwin’s grand “Rhapsody in Blue.” Although this was the Ferde Grofe arrangement for symphony orchestra, this listener kept hearing that soul-stirring rendition by Paul Whiteman and his jazz band from the Roaring ‘20s creep in now and again. And we loved the guest artist’s fiery cadenzas. A young man who captivates in both classical and jazz veins, Lopez-Gavilan captured both the rhythmic invention and the melodic inspiration the composer intended. Orchestra and soloist played as one — a radiant reading under the baton of a man who seemed to enjoy the work as much as we did. The guest artist provided a lagniappe with a dazzling encore, one of his own compositions, titled “Oddudua.”

Read the full article here:

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