GISÈLE BEN-DOR , conductor


November 1, 1999

Silvestre Revueltas Music Festival
100th Birthday Celebration

(Santa Barbara, CA) - Santa Barbara, California is the location for a four-day music festival to celebrate the 100th birthday of Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas. Classic films, lectures, manuscripts, live chamber and symphonic music will be held at various locations. The festival takes place from Thursday, January 20th, through Sunday, January 23, 2000.

Three histroic Mexican films for which Revueltas composed the music scores will be shown with English subtitles: Vamonos Con Pancho Villa (1933); La Noche de Los Mayas (1939); and Redes (1935). Redes , which translates as fishermen's "nets," will be shown with the Santa Barbara Symphony playing the lives film score under the music direction of conductor Gisèle Ben-Dor. It will be a national premiere of this film-orchestra performance.

Ben-Dor is the creator and artistic director of the festival.

The festival includes lectures by Professor Roberto Kolb-Neuhaus of the University of Mexico, a renown Revueltas scholar; and a number of orchestral and chamber works performing throughout Santa Barbara. A special youth concert featuring Esprial , a puppet theater from Mexico, will be held on Sunday. These puppets were designed specifically for a performance to Revueltas compositions. They have never performed in the United States.

In addition, Tambuco , a highly acclaimed and award-winning Mexican percussion quartet will perform at the youth concert and with the chamber orchestra at their performance.

The musical repertoire for this festival includes not only the score from Redes , but Musica Para Charlar (Ferrocarriles de Baja Califorania), Homenaje a Federico Garcia Lorca, Cuauhnahuac (U.S. premiere), Toccata, Ocho Por Radio, Troka, Four Little Pieces, Two Little Serious Pieces, Quartet No. 2 (Magueyes), Quartet No.4 (Musica de Feria), Sensemaya, Planos, The Wandering Tadpole, Once upon a time there was a King (U.S. Premiere), Tragedia en Forma de Rabano (worth of youth), Coqueta Para Genio, Three Pieces For Violin and Piano, and Batik .

Other Latin American composers include Arturo Marquez ( Sarabandeo ), Miguel del Aguila ( Clocks ), Mario Lavista ( Cinco Danzas Breves ), Javier Alvarez ( Metro Chabacano ), Heitor Villa-Lobos ( Symphony Amerindia ) and Quartet No.5 , and Gabriela Ortiz.

In addition, the festival will have manuscripts, photos and music scores of Revueltas on display at the Santa Barbara Public Library and the Karpeles Manuscript Library.

Tapes, books and CDs will be available, including the Santa Barbara Symphony's world premiere recording of La Coronela , Itinerarios and Colorines .

Although noted by many as one of the 20th Century's greatest composers - compared frequently to Manuel De Falla and Copland - Revueltas is perhaps one of the least known to serious music and film audiences.

Born in Mexico on December 31, 1899, Revueltas died at the age of 40, after a prolific decade of creativity and compositional activity that reflects the modernism and nationalism of that period in the Americas. Thirty plus pieces in approximately ten years encompass many large orchestral scores, a half dozen film scores, music for smaller ensembles, four string quartets and songs.

Revueltas' compositions are often described as original and passionate. They are universal in scope, as well as deeply inspired by the folklore roots of Mexico. He studied and performed in Mexico and the United States.

Revueltas also toured and performed throughout Spain during their Civil War, and was deeply moved by it. Revueltas wrote extensive letters and essays on his reflections of life, war and music. He identified strongly with the artist Vincent Van Gogh, and described how he dreamed of music as "color, sculpture and movement."

The festival is being sponsored in part by The Mexican Cultural Institute, LA; The Mexican Consulate, Oxnard; The University of California, Santa Barbara, Music Department and Arts and Lectures; The Santa Barbara Symphony, the Santa Barbara Public Library, the Karpeles Manuscript Library, the Santa Barbara Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Business Council of the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce, Bruce and David Corwin/Metropolitan Theatres Corporation and Peermusic Classical Music. Seats are limited. Prices vary.

Press photos are available.

Peermusic Classical

Revueltas Centennial To Be Celebrated in Santa Barbara, CA, January 20-23

u.s. premieres in festival that Includes film, puppetry, orchestral and chamber music, Lectures and displays of manuscripts

The centennial of Silvestre Revueltas (1899-1940), the "great free spirit of Mexican music", will be honored in a four-day festival in Santa Barbara, California next month. Revueltas' exhilarating music ranges from the evocation of the pre-Columbian era to the sounds of modern Mexico City street bands, leavened with his characteristic humor. Gisele Ben-Dor, artistic director of the festival, has made Revueltas something of a crusade in recent years, in performances with the Santa Barbara Symphony and on a Koch International CD. The festival will reveal the breadth of Revueltas' composition, presenting works for the concert hall, film scores, and music for children. Highlights of the festival:

* The U.S. premiere of the film Redes in full screen projection with live orchestra. Redes ("Nets," 1935) is recognized as Revueltas' greatest film score. Directed by Fred Zinneman with photography by Paul Strand, the 70 minute film depicts the strife of poor fishermen in a Mexican Gulf Coast village, drawing from Revueltas some of his most powerful and affecting music. The films Vámonos con Pancho Villa (1936) and La noche de los Mayas (1939) will also be shown during the festival; all are with English subtitles.

* First U.S. performances by Mexico's Espiral puppet theater, whose founder worked with Revueltas himself. Espiral will present a family program including Revueltas' chamber works Sensemayá, Planos, The Wandering Tadpole, and Once Upon a Time There Was a King. The award-winning Mexican percussion ensemble, Tambuco will share the musical side of the program with the festival's chamber ensemble. All films with English subtitles.

* Chamber orchestra and ensemble concerts to include Música para charlar ("Chit-chat music") and the chamber works Homenaje a Federico Garcia Lorca, Tocata ("Homage to Federico Garcia Lorca"), Ocho por radio ("Eight x Radio"), the 2nd and 4th String Quartets, Cuauhnáhuac, and the u.s. premieres of Tragedia en forma de Rábano ("Tragedy in the Form of a Radish"[!]), and Coqueta para Genio, an endearment for the composer's daughter. Heitor Villa-Lobos' Symphony No.10 and chamber works by contemporary Latin American composers Miguel del Aguila, Javier Alvarez, Mario Lavista, Arturo Márquez, and Gabriela Ortiz will round out the festival.

* On the scholarly side: Roberto Kolb Neuhaus, author of the first comprehensive catalog of Revueltas' works and artistic director of the ensemble Camerata de las Americas, will speak about Redes and Cuauhnáhuac- Professor Kolb's research into Revueltas' manuscripts has resulted in a recent Dorian CD of chamber music premieres. Throughout the festival, manuscripts of Revueltas' works will be on display at the Santa Barbara Public Library and the Karpeles Manuscript Library.

Silvestre Revuelta s was born on the very eve of the 20th century, on December 31, 1899. After early training as a violinist, he concentrated on conducting and composition. At Carlos Chávez's invitation, he became Assistant Conductor of the Mexico Symphony Orchestra. (1929-1935) and taught violin and composition at the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico City, also conducting the Conservatory Orchestra. In 1937 he conducted several of his orchestral works in Spain, lending his support to the Republican cause during the Spanish Civil War. In October 1940, just 40 years old, he succumbed to pneumonia aggravated by alcoholism. In his last decade, Revueltas was astonishingly productive, writing almost 40 works - including 6 for full orchestra and 8 film scores - in a mature, vitally individual voice.

Recent performances and recordings have redressed the lack of attention given Revueltas' music in the decades since his death. His monumental La Noche de los Mayas, whose ritualistic finale requires 11 percussionists, has thrilled audiences of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, and the American Composers Orchestra. The Los Angeles Philharmonic's all Revueltas CD on Sony Classical, with Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting, has just won the prestigious Diapason d'Or prize for recorded symphonic music in 1999. Also on the disk are Sensemayá and Ventanas for orchestra, and chamber works including, Homenaje a Federico Garcia Lorca. On Koch International Classics, Gisele Ben-Dor leads the Santa Barbara Symphony and English Chamber Orchestra in Revueltas' last work La Coronela, along with orchestral works Itinerarios and Colorines. And on Dorian, La Camerata, conducted by Enrique Diemecke, presents world premiere recordings of Sensemayá and Cuauhnáhuac in chamber versions recently prepared by Roberto Kolb.

Sponsors of the Revueltas Festival include The Mexican Cultural Institute, Los Angeles; The Mexican Consulate, Oxnard; The University of California, Santa Barbara Music Department; The Santa Barbara Symphony; The Santa Barbara Public Library; the Karpeles Manuscript Library; the Santa Barbara Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and Bruce and David Corwin/Metropolitan Theatres Corporation.

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