Jacobs musicians play tribute concert

On the 100 year anniversary of his birth, Roque Cordero will be honored by Latin American Music Center where he served as associate director during his time at IU. The LAMC within the Jacobs School of Music is presenting their Salón Latino Chamber Music Series honoring the Panamanian composer at 8 p.m. Thursday in Auer Hall. 

According to the LAMC website, Cordero was born in Panama City in 1917 and came to the United States as a young student pursuing music education as well as composing. Cordero became the associate director of the LAMC in 1966 and was also a music composition professor with Jacobs.

The tribute concert is being performed by musicians from Jacobs, as well as visiting international artists and Cordero’s own former colleagues and students, according to the press release.  Javier Asdrúbal Vinasco, a Latin Grammy-nominated Colombian clarinetist is one of the visiting musicians performing at the concert. 

Vinasco said that he will be playing Cordero’s Soliloquios No. 3 for solo clarinet and, as the title suggests, the piece will invite an intimate and introspective reflection. 

“His music reached a perfect blend between 12-tone technique and popular Panamanian rhythms in a framework of traditional European musical forms," Vinasco said. 

 The center looks to promote academic study, performance and research of Latin American art in popular and traditional music, according to the LAMC website. Through offering a series of free concerts, guest lectures and organizing periodic music competitions, festivals and conferences, the center is able to demonstrate the broad diversity of Latin American music. 

Flutist Marco Núñez, a recent Jacobs graduate and visiting performer said Cordero's music is constantly exciting. 

“His compositional style is flowing, active, virtuosic and intense," Núñez said.  Even though his music is not in a specific key it is grounded by rhythm and energy. In Cordero's music you can hear the music call for your attention the whole time. There is not a moment where the energy relaxes so much that one can look away. It keeps you always on the edge of your seat."

Núñez said that when playing Cordero’s music, it is like an actor playing all the roles in a play because it uses all of the energy a musician has while recalling different characters quickly. 

According to the LAMC press release, Cordero passed away in 2008 at the age of 91 in Dayton, Ohio, leaving behind a career that helped pioneer music education and create more opportunities for people of his native country to study musical composition and education. 

“The pieces we will play are added to the list of pieces we will keep playing throughout our lives along with composers like Mozart, Bach and Beethoven,” Núñez said. “This means that we can take his music to other countries, teach it to our students, talk and write about it, therefore keeping his legacy alive for generations to come. The selected pieces, although not his biggest works for orchestra or large ensembles, are some examples of his finest chamber music writing.”

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