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The Ottawa Choral Society Presents Original Commissioned Work in Showcase of Latin American Music

The Ottawa Choral Society Presents Original Commissioned Work in Showcase of Latin American Music

An original commissioned work by a Cuban Canadian composer will pay tribute to Cuba’s vigorous and deep-rooted dance culture in the final moments of the Ottawa Choral Society’s concert of Latin American music on June 11th.

Suite Cuba by Alondra Vega-Zaldivar will showcase the distinctive rhythms of Cuban dance, including the conga, rumba, cha cha chá, and danzón in choral and orchestral arrangements featuring the poetry of José Martí.

The work was commissioned by the OCS and Artistic Director Gabrielle Gaudreault and received the support of a $5000 grant from the Ontario Arts Council. Ms. Vega-Zaldivar says the work reflects her Cuban roots and her deep appreciation of her native country’s history, culture and music.

“We are delighted to premiere this exciting piece that blends the traditional rhythms and sounds of the dances with harmonies and counterpoint that add a contemporary flare,” says Dr. Gaudreault. “The commission furthers the OCS’s mission to support the creation and dissemination of new Canadian choral music, and we expect the audience will welcome it with enthusiasm.”

The June concert’s principal work will be Argentinian composer Martín Palmeri’s Misa a Buenos Aires, from which the concert draws its title, Misa Tango. The work exploits the intensely emotional heart of this distinctively Argentinian musical form. Tango’s deeply secular roots are given a sacred, but still gripping, setting supported by the accompaniment of an authentic ensemble of strings, piano and bandoneón. Acclaimed mezzo-soprano Julie Nesrallah will be the soloist.

The concert throughout will be a celebration of the sounds of Latin America. Other works will include sacred motets from modern Latin American composers including Ernani Aguiar (Brazil), César Alejandro Carrillo (Venezuela) and Alberto Ginastera (Argentina). A set of four songs by Carlos Guastavino (Argentina) from his Indianas suite will feature the composer’s beautifully melodic and evocative work for chorus and piano.

The famous anthem of thanksgiving Gracias a la Vida by the Chilean singer and artist Violeta Parra will be presented in a choral arrangement by Willi Zwozdesky.

Misa Tango will be the OCS’s final concert of the 2022-23 season. It will be performed at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Hintonburg, 50 Fairmont Avenue at 3 pm on Sunday, June 11th. Tickets can be purchased online at ottawachoralsociety.com.


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