Liaisons: Re-imagining Sondheim from the Piano has been described as a landmark commissioning project that brought together thirty-six of the world’s foremost contemporary composers from across the musical spectrum in order to “re-imagine” Sondheim’s songs as solo piano pieces. Lorenz’s The Worst [Empanadas] in London is one of re-imaginations included in a 3-CD box set released by the record label ECM featuring pianist, and Liaisons co-producer, Anthony de Mare. Other composers included are Pulitzer, Grammy and Academy Award winners like Steve Reich, Wynton Marsalis, Thomas Newman, Frederic Rzewski, William Bolcom, David Rakowski, and many others.
Ricardo Lorenz traveled to South Korea on two different occasions as Composer-in-Residence. In 2013, he was the featured guest composer of that Seoul’s Pan Music Festival, the longest running contemporary music festival in South Korea. That year he attended the performance of his work Compass Points by the Seoul Modern Ensemble and offered talks on his music at the universities of Sangmyung and Gachon. The following year (2014), he was the Composer-in-Residence of the 16th Young-Nam International Contemporary Music Festival held in Daegu, serving as adjudicator of the 31st Young-Nam Composition Competition along with colleagues from South Korea and Japan. On this occasion, Lorenz had the opportunity to rehearse and premiere Come Back for soprano voice and Korean 12-string gayageum, a work especially commissioned by the Young-Nam International Contemporary Music Festival.
Four years ahead of the renewed diplomatic relations between former archenemies U.S. and Cuba, Lorenz and his MSU colleague Rene Hinojosa have taken students on a study abroad program to Havana in order to experience the culture of a rapidly changing socialist nation. Initiated in May 2012 and titled Culture and Sustainable Development, this program studies Cuba’s dramatic history, diverse genres of music, and its wide gamut of Afro-Cuban religions against the backdrop of this country’s long affiliation with the United States.The program draws connections between Cuban music and some of the country’s major historical events as they shine a light upon broad themes such as identity, nationalism, syncretism, and transculturation.
Of greatest interest to Lorenz is how today, in the city of Havana, music is visibly contributing to stir the country towards a new era, an era in which the socialist culture established after the 1959 Revolution is merging with an individual entrepreneurship mindset driven mainly by tourism. In tandem, during his many trips to Cuba Lorenz offered lectures on his music at Casa de las Americas and received performances of his chamber works by MSU College of Music faculty at some of Havana’s iconic concert halls. He also conducted research to support a future opera on Chacumbele, a Cuban legend of dubious origin with lots of room for re-interpretation.
Puente Trans-Arábico. John Kilkenny, percussion; Sewanee Music Festival Faculty, Sewanee, TN
Fronteras Abiertas (Open Borders). Horacio Contreras, cello. Bienal de Música Contemporánea, Radio Nacional de Cordoba, Argentina
Fronteras Abiertas (Open Borders). Horacio Contreras, cello. Auditorio Olav Roots, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogota, Colombia
The Worst [Empanadas] in London. Anthony de Mare, piano. Loreto Theater at The Sheen Center for Thought and Culture, New York, NY
Pataruco: Concerto for Maracas and Orchestra. Ricardo Gallardo, maracas; Topeka Symphony Orchestra, Kyle Pickett, cond. Topeka, KS
Piedra en la Piedra. Stephanie Espie, flute; Benjamin Goldman, percussion. Gore Recital Hall, University of Delaware, Newark, DE
Cecilia en Azul y Verde. Horacio Contreras, cello; TBD, piano. University of Michigan School of Music, Theater & Dance, Ann Arbor, MI
Pataruco: Concerto for Maracas and Orchestra. Alcides Rodriguez, maracas. Chicago Sinfonietta; Mai-Ann Chen, cond. Wentz Concert Hall, Naperville, IL
Pataruco: Concerto for Maracas and Orchestra. Alcides Rodriguez, maracas. Chicago Sinfonietta; Mai-Ann Chen, cond. Symphony Center, Chicago, IL
Monkey to the Sky. Benjamin Pirece, euphonium; University of Arkansas New Music Ensemble; Jamal Duncan, cond. Jim & Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center, AR
Fronteras Abiertas (Open Borders). Horacio Contreras, cello. Cook Recital Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Cecilia en Azul y Verde. Horacio Contreras, cello; TBD, piano. Cook Recital Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Fantastic Catalogue (PREMIERE). The University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Barbara Schubert, cond. Mandel Hall, Chicago, IL
Fronteras Abiertas (Open Borders). Wesley Baldwin, cello. Wintergreen Summer Music Festival, Roseland, VA
Puente Trans-Arábico. Orlando Cotto, percussion; Dali String Quartet. North Penn Church of Christ, North Wales, PA
Está lloviendo afuera y no hay agua. Juan Carlos Fernández-Nieto, piano. Wintergreen Summer Music Festival, Roseland, VA
Cecilia en Azul y Verde. Sara Sitzer, cello; Juan Carlos Fernández-Nieto, piano. Wintergreen Summer Music Festival, Roseland, VA
Two Pieces for String Orchestra: Habanera Science and Passacaglia Unrest (PREMIERE). Dali Quartet Festival Pre-College Orchestra, Raphael Jiménez, cond. Irvine Auditorium, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Olokun’s Awakening from Symphonic Scenes of Chacumbele (PREMIERE). Oberlin Conservatory Orchestra, Raphael Jiménez, cond., Oberlin, OH
Piedra en la Piedra. Stefanie Abderhalden, flute; Jeremy Johnston, percussion. The University of Tennessee School of Music, Knoxville, TN
The Worst [Empanadas] in London. Anthony de Mare, piano. Burchfield Penney Art Center, SUNY Buffalo, NY
Fantasía Pilsen. Sones de México Ensemble with the MSU Graduate Brass Quintet, Cook Recital Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Come Back (PREMIERE). Won-Yun Yang, soprano; Yun-Suk Eom, Gayageum, 16th Young-Nam International Contemporary Music Festival, Suseong Artpia Music Hall, Daegu, South Korea.
Fronteras Abiertas (Open Borders). Horacio Contreras, cello. Sursa Performance Hall, Ball State University, OH
Rumba Sinfónica. Salsa band with Orquesta Sinfónica Municipal de Caracas; Rodolfo Saglimbeni, cond. Teatro Municipal, Caracas, Venezuela
Jaromiluna. Rebecca MacLeod, violin; Sophie Baird-Daniel, harp. Kootenay Gallery of Art, Castlegar, BC, Canada
El Muro. University of Michigan Symphony Band; Michael Haithcock, cond. Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, MI
Entrada Triunfal del Rey Mangoberry. Michigan State University Concert Band; Cormac Canon, cond. Wharton Center, East Lansing, MI
Rochela (Raw Cello). Tennessee Cello Workshop; Wesley Baldwin, director. The University of Tennessee School of Music, Knoxville, TN
Come Back. Modern Ensemble: Won-Yun Yang, soprano; Yun-Suk Eom, Gayageum. Daegu, South Korea.
Nuestro Tiempo: re-imagination of Stephen Sondheim’s Our Time (PREMIERE). Anthony de Mare and Rodolfo Argudín “Peruchín”, pianos; Vocal Ensemble Antinoo and other guest musicians. Basílica de San Francisco, Old Havana, Cuba.
Olokun’s Awakening from Symphonic Scenes of Chacumbele. Sewanne Symphony, Raphael Jiménez, cond. Sewanne Summer Festival, Sewanne, TN.
The Michigan State University Symphony Orchestra led by conductor Kevin Noe performed Lorenz’s En Tren Vá Changó (Destination Macondo) on Friday November 16, 2012. It is the second time in eight years that this work is heard live on the MSU campus. In 2004, then MSU Assistant Director of Orchestras Raphael Jiménez brought the work for the first time to the University’s Wharton Center. This performance took place before Lorenz joint the MSU College of Music Faculty and only three years after En Tren Vá Changó received its premiere performance by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia Festival.
The ten-minute symphonic opener was commissioned by Ravinia Festival to celebrate its 100th anniversary. This was the first in a series of so-called “Train Commissions” meant to commemorate the fact that the grounds of the Festival were originally a train station that took Highland Park affluent residents to the city of Milwaukee and back. “However,” writes Lorenz in the program notes, “my work does not paint images directly associated with trains. Instead, it attempts to rap the listener in an exotic soundscape that I hope will seem distantly familiar and bestow upon the listener the type of attraction that trains had upon me as a child growing up in a country like Venezuela where locomotives had disappeared due to the enormous impact of the auto and oil industries.” En Trén Vá Changó (Destination Macando) was recorded by the Moravian Philharmonic under Raphael Jiménez and released in 2009 by Navona Records.
As Composer-in-Residence of the 9th Annual Dali Quartet Chamber Music Festival and Camp, Ricardo Lorenz spent several days this past summer 2012 in North Wales, Pennsylvania, working on two of his works with some of the East Coast’s most talented young string players. Lorenz conducted his Rochela for nine cellos, originally composed for and premiered by the cello section of the Pittsburgh Symphony, and attended the premiere of a new string orchestra work composed especially for the Festival’s pre-college orchestra. Titled Habanera Science, the work is conceived as a response to the news that the data collected from the recently discovered Higgs Boson particle, when fed into a computer, allegedly sounds like a habanera. As he told the audience before the August 12th concert led by guest conductor Eddy Marcano, “after spending years studying Cuban music, and after a recent month-long stay in Havana, I can assure you that habaneras cannot arise from data fed into a computer. Habaneras are born out of deep and profound longing for not only the city of Havana but, more significantly, its people and its culture.”
The 9th Dali Quartet Festival and Camp brought together some of the finest up-and-coming string players for a week of chamber music coaching, workshops, rehearsing, and concerts. The faculty included the members of the Dali String Quartet, NYC Ballet Concertmaster Kurt Nikkanen, conductor and violinist Eddie Marcano, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Netanel Draiblate, and Ricardo Lorenz among others.
Ricardo Lorenz attended the London premiere of his new work Cacerola Soul on May 3rd, 2012 at the Southbank Centre. Cacerola Soul roughly translates as “the soul of the frying pan” and calls for a SATB choir, instrumental ensemble and optional rapper.
The work was commissioned by The Iberian and Latin American Music Society of London (ILAMS) specifically to pay tribute to pot-banging protests as instruments of nonviolent resistance. Cacerola Soul closed a concert that offered a kaleidoscopic view of five hundred years of Latin American classical music in honor of the recent bicentennial celebrations of Latin America’s independence. It featured London’s Latin Chamber Ensemble conducted by Maite Aguirre as well as other guest performers, including violinist/vocalist Omar Puente. Known in South America as “cacerolazos,” these forms of public protests, led initially by middle-class women in Chile, began in the 1970s during the last years of Salvador Allende’s government. After accepting the commission from ILAMS that specifically called for the incorporation of human voices as well as pots and pans, Ricardo Lorenz was surprised to find a lack of literature or poetry based upon the pot-banging phenomenon.
Unable to find already existing text, he asked Venezuelan poet and friend Alfredo Pérez to write a suitable poem that would also reflect the fact that the United States was at the time besieged by the Occupy Wall Street protest movement. The result is a bilingual poem that credits middle-class women for the invention of the cacerolazo while inciting audience participation. Before the concert at the Southbank’s Purcell Room, Lorenz offered a pre-concert lecture titled “Latin America’s art music: a simultaneous expression of reverence and irreverence towards the West.”
The CD “Street Song” marks the fourth major recording release of Ricardo Lorenz’s El Muro, this most recent one performed by the University of Georgia Wind Ensemble conducted by John P. Lynch. Previous releases of El Muro (Spanish for “The Wall”) include CDs by University of North Texas, University of Florida, and Michigan State University wind symphonies. This University of Georgia Wind Ensemble recording release on the Naxos label received 2nd Place in the 2012 American Prize in the category of Wind Ensemble/Concert Band Performance.
Pataruco: Concerto for Venezuelan Maracas & Orchestra (arrangement for trio and maracas by Arnan Domingo). Ferran Carceller, maracas; Ester Pingol, harp; Genet Salicru, clarinet; Arnan Domingo, piano. ESMUC, Barcelona, Spain.
Jaromiluna. Dawn Posey, violin; Nuiko Wadden, harp. Pittsburgh Music Academy, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Jaromiluna. Dawn Posey, violin; Nuiko Wadden, harp. Monks’ Place, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Puente Trans-Arábico. Orlando Cotto, percussion; Dali String Quartet. Kenan Auditorium, University of North Carolina, Wilmington, North Carolina.
En Tren Vá Changó (Destination Macondo). Michigan State Symphony Orchestra. Kevin Noe, cond. Wharton Center, East Lansing, Michigan.
El Muro. Northwestern University Wind Symphony. Timothy Roblee, cond. Evanston, Illinois.
The Worst [Empanadas] in London. Anthony De Mare, piano. Music in the Loft, Chicago, Illinois.
Está lloviendo afuera y no hay agua. Deborah Moriarty, piano. Cook Recital Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
El Muro. Michigan State University Wind Symphony. Kevin Sedatole, cond. Wharton Center, East Lansing, Michigan.
Está lloviendo afuera y no hay agua. Deborah Moriarty, piano. Oratorio San Felipe Neri, Old Havana, Cuba.
Pataruco: Concerto for Maracas and Orchestra. Manuel Rangel, maracas. Orquesta del Conservatorio Nacional de Lima. Encuentro Internacional de Percusión, Lima, Perú.