Honors College House Concert presents ‘Las Cuatro Estaciones del Latin Jazz’


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An international ensemble of musicians and composers will present selections with Latin-jazz influences from Vivaldi’s beloved Four Seasons concertos.

Join the U of A Honors College for Latin-jazz-inspired selections of Vivaldi’s classical concertos The four Seasons at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, November 1 at Gearhart Hall 130 as part of the Honors College House Concert Series.

The concert, presented in partnership with RefleXions Music Series, is free, open to all and will be followed by a reception. Please RSVP here and come early to reserve a spot. Parking will be available in the Harmon Avenue parking garage.

A musical journey

The concert will feature a world-class ensemble of musicians led by pianist and composer Pepe Rivero. A classically trained pianist with a perfect command of jazz improvisation, Rivero has won acclaim for revisiting classical composers in arrangements such as “Los Boleros de Chopin” and “Beethoven en su Salsa”. Rivero will bring “Las Cuatro Estaciones del Latin Jazz” to the U of A with Rubén Darío Reina (violin), Adi Meyerson (bass), and Fernando Valencia and Ivanna Cuesta (percussion).

“I like to imagine Vivaldi getting on a ship and coming to the Americas and rewriting the Four Seasons while he’s here,” Rivero said of the inspiration for the arrangement.

“Think of spring in Cuba, inflected by rumba and guajira; summer in brazil, sampling samba, bossa nova and forum; autumn in Buenos Aires, with some direct quotes from the “Four Seasons of Buenos Aires” by the famous Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla; and winter in New York with music that speaks of extreme weather – pure, very cold jazz,” he added.

Rivero joked that he likes to “mess things up” through his arrangement projects, pointing out that “I never conceived of music as two things, popular music and classical music – those divisions aren’t real in my mind. For me, there is only music.

Timely musical fusion

For solo violinist Rubén Darío Reina, this performance is an opportunity to connect his early love of popular music with classical music and jazz. His interpretation of Vivaldi went from a very precise reading of the score and a faithfulness to the instruments of Vivaldi’s time to a “fiesta, a real fiesta: my brain cells dance when I improvise”. This musical fusion is particularly timely now, given the global pandemic and political unrest: “It’s not just about music, it’s also about connecting people, using music as a tool for bring together.

U of A music teacher Fernando Valencia and drummer and composer Ivanna Cuesta will bring a new dimension, percussion, to Vivaldi’s strings.

“For me, this kind of performance can show people that there is no separation in music,” Cuesta said. “As creatives and improvisers, we have a lot of challenges and opportunities to create new things or innovate indiscriminately in music.”

The Honors College House Concerts series takes place in the Honors Student Lounge at Gearhart Hall, a beautifully appointed room that provides a comfortable setting for these intimate concerts. This year, “Las Cuatro Estaciones del Latin Jazz” is part of RefleXions Tertulia, a series of concerts, panel discussions and masterclasses that will be offered when these musicians gather in northwest Arkansas. An extended version of this concert will be presented at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 2 at the Starr Theater at the Walton Arts Center. For more information, visit reflectionsmusic.org.

About the Specialized College: The University of Arkansas Honors College was established in 2002 and brings together high-achieving undergraduates and the university’s top faculty to share transformative learning experiences. Each year, the Honors College awards up to 90 freshman scholarships that provide $80,000 over four years and more than $1 million in research and study abroad grants. The Honors College is nationally recognized for the high caliber of students it admits and graduates. Honors students benefit from small, in-depth courses and programs are offered in all disciplines, tailored to students’ academic interests, with cross-disciplinary collaborations encouraged. All Honors College graduates have engaged in supervised research.

About the Reflections Music Series: The RefleXions music series is a celebration of music, musicians, advocates and audiences; a space to foster creative justice and diversity through opportunities for reflection, learning, growth, change and teaching. RefleXions Music Series propagates sound and messages; expresses the highest standards of music and artistic performance; reverses the dynamics of Eurocentric norms; carefully examines contexts, intersectionality, relationships and intersections with other disciplines; and celebrates, represents and includes various identities.

Additionally, the RefleXions team is a collective of Northwest Arkansas individuals from diverse backgrounds who bring unique perspectives and commitment to the highest standards of scholarship, research, and aesthetic diversity in the arts. : Erika Almenara, Rogelio Garcia-Contreras, Ronda Mains, Catalina Ortega, Miroslava Panayotova, Lia Uribe, Jessica Vansteenburg and Leigh Wood.

RefleXions is also supported by the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Music, U of A Honors College, Arkansas Global Changemakers, Center for Multicultural and Diversity Education, and KUAF 91.3 Pubic Radio, and has collaborated with artistic leaders from the Walton Arts Center, CACHE, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, IDEALS Institute, Northwest Arkansas Council and Might-T-By-Design. This year, RefleXions adds the Walton Arts Center and the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra as new community partners, and RefleXions Music Tertulia events are partially supported by an Artists 360 Community Activation Grant, the U of A Chancellor’s Grant Grant for the Humanities and Performing Arts Initiative, and the Women’s Giving Circle Grant.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas’ flagship institution, the U of A offers an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to the Arkansas economy through teaching new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and employment development, discovery through research and creative activity while providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation ranks the U of A among the few American colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. US News and World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. Learn how the U of A is working to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.

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