The Latin American Music Center will present a viola concert as part of their Salón Latino Chamber Music series 8 p.m. Friday. The free concert will be streamed live.
Violist Edward Gazouleas and pianist Aram Arakelyan, both IU Jacobs School of Music faculty, will perform four pieces by three Latin American composers, according to the event’s website.
“It has been a joy to see the ever-stronger enthusiasm for discovery of new and overlooked voices in classical music,” Arakelyan said. “This program is very much in that vein, certainly for us as performers, but hopefully for our audience as well.”
Gazouleas said the idea for the concert began at a birthday party for Juan Orrego-Salas, a Chilean composer and founder of the LAMC. To celebrate his work, Gazouleas performed one of Orrego-Salas’s original pieces, “Mobili,” which he will perform again at the concert tomorrow night.
“Mobili” will be the second piece performed, according to the event’s website. The first piece, “Sonata for viola and piano,” was written by José Pablo Moncayo in 1934. Moncayo was known for his portrayal of Mexican nationalism through music. Though rarely recorded, the piece demonstrates this nationalism, Javier León, director and academic specialist at the LAMC, said.
“Most people don’t know anything about this piece outside of Mexico, where it was published,” León said. “It’s one of these little hidden gems.”
The remaining pieces were both composed by Astor Piazzolla, an Argentinian composer known for his “nuevo tango” pieces that combined traditional tango with elements of jazz and classical music. “Dos piezas breves,” the third piece in the program, is a more traditional tango that was written for viola and piano. The fourth and final piece, “Le Grand Tango,” is a nuevo tango piece originally written for cello and adapted for viola.
Together, the pieces span almost 50 years of Latin American viola composition. And while Gazouleas believes the pieces work together, he also acknowledges their differences.
“The harmonic language is different,” Gazouelas said. “The Salas is atonal, while the Moncayo is reminiscent of folk music, because it’s in modal style. And the tango has its own dissonant, clashing kinds of harmonies. So each piece is a very different style, very different language and mood, very different atmosphere.”
Friday’s concert showcases one aspect of the LAMC’s mission. The oldest center of its kind, it houses research and academic study programs alongside its performances, according to its website.
The concert is part of a larger research project by León, Gazouleas and Arakelyan exploring viola music from across Latin America.
Because composers from the region have historically been marginalized, León said the music they create hasn’t always reached a full audience. In the future, Gazouleas and Arakelyan said they are looking to record an album of Latin American viola music.
“This music has been rarely recorded, and it needs to be recorded to get it out there,” León said.
While the research and study of the music are obviously key to the project and the center itself, Gazouleas said he believes that the most critical portion of this research is the performance itself. The pieces that will be showcased tomorrow night need to be heard, he said.
“That allows the music to live, you know?” he said. “We can study music, we can look at it, we can analyze it, but if you don’t hear it performed, it doesn’t really live and breathe.”
Information on how to register to watch the concert online can be found on the LAMC website.