Coming: The best week of music ever in San Miguel?
By Camie Sands
“This coming week may be a historic landmark as the best series of continuous music ever presented in San Miguel de Allende thanks to the 35th Anniversary of the Chamber Music Festival’s Gala Concerts Series and excellent free Anniversary Concerts provided as a gift to the city by Conaculta,” said Dr. Alejandro Escuer, artistic director of the festival. “All of the concerts take place in San Miguel’s ‘jewel-box of a theater,’ as many of the previous groups have described the Angela Peralta Theater.”
Tonight the Gryphon Trio, which twice won the Juno Award for the Classical Album of the Year, begins their two-night series at 7pm with music from Haydn, Shostakovich and Mendelssohn. The group formed in 1993 and has commissioned and premiered over 50 works. They are “a piano trio that plays with strength and unanimity… big, bold, almost orchestral performances,” as praised by the Los Angeles Times. Saturday the trio will present an excellent contrast with pieces from Mozart, Piazzolla and Ravel.
The festival’s Anniversary Free Concert Series returns Sunday at 6pm when Luminico presents a multi-media concert. “A unique insight into contemporary reality through sound and visual metaphors,” according to Dr. Escuer, flautist and founder of this multi-media experience. “Our repertoire originates with hundreds of sources of sounds and videos which include art photography, pre-recorded video, real-time image processing, electronic and electro acoustic music combined with live improvisation, contemporary concert music, as well as classical and folk styles in general.”
Free concerts continue Monday through Wednesday, kicking off with Inner Pulse’s 10-person ensemble featuring four percussionists, violin, guitar, bass, piano and voice, all bringing the ‘beat’ of the 20th and 21st century to life on Monday at 7pm including interpretations from composers Crumb, Cross and Miki.
Tuesday, August 13, at 5pm the many-voiced Capilla Virreinal de La Nueva España dedicated to the dissemination of Mexican and Latin American colonial music performs ancient Codices, dance and opera from Peru. Continuing on Tuesday evening at 7, Tembembé Ensamble Continuo presents the influence of “son” on Hispanic music sources of the 17th century in Mexico and in African roots, dedicated to establishing a relationship between baroque Spanish guitar music and the contemporary jarana from Veracruz and the huasteca.
On Wednesday, Sinfonieta Ventus, a winds instrument octet with a huge international following from their concerts in the US, Europe and South America will perform works from Handel, Mozart, and Zyman to Revueltas’ Homenaje a Garcia Lorca.’
All this leads to Thursday night, August 15, when the Grammy Award-winning Parker String Quartet returns to San Miguel for the Gala Concert Series. The players ‘wowed’ San Miguel audiences during their 2011 visit and are glad to return. “We loved your town and audiences,” they reported. Then, Friday night, Shai Wosner takes the stage for his brilliant interpretations of Franz Schubert. As reported on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” “(Shai is) downright thrilling in recital. So if you have the chance to see him, take it. You’ll witness a young artist at the beginning of his career, who — decades down the line — will be spoken of as one of the greats.”
Saturday, August 17, the 35th Annual Chamber Music Festival culminates with a shared concert by the Parker String Quartet with Shai Wosner. But first, in a free special festival concert celebrating the last day of the festival, a fine time with Anacrúsax, a saxophone quartet, is planned with a concert at 1pm at Rancho Los Labradores Auditorium and afterwards a poolside picnic.
“Come out and enjoy this wide range of musical styles and see if you don’t think, when all is heard and done, that you haven’t just experienced what will be remembered as the best musical week ever – or until next year’s Chamber Music Festival in San Miguel de Allende returns,” concluded Dr. Escuer.
Learn more about all groups and music programs on festivalsanmiguel.com, or stop by the Teatro Ángela Peralta’s ticket office for a festival program, or call 415-154-8722.