Mexico’s leading classical music label, Urtext Digital Classics, offers a catalog of well over a hundred titles, most of which feature artists and composers from The Americas. This recent release titled 3 Conciertos from March of 2014 offers a trio of concertos by Mexican composer Samuel Zyman, one each for flute, harp, and a double concerto with the two instruments combined. The flute soloist is Marisa Canales, co-founder and CEO of Urtext. She, along with harpist Mercedes Gómez and conductor Benjamín Juárez Echenique with the Orquesta de las Américas have long been involved in the performance and support of Zyman’s music.
Samuel Zyman, born in 1956, is among the most prominent Mexican composers working today. His compositions include film scores, concertos, orchestral works, chamber music and solo piano pieces. On faculty at the Julliard School in New York City since 1986, this award-winning composer has been performed in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Europe and South America.
Samuel Zyman’s music is an interesting synthesis of contrasting influences. There is no question, a sense of his Mexican heritage is audible, but the music is also characterized by such diverse influences as Baroque styles and structures, French impressionism, modal harmonies and jazz. It’s music marked by rhythmic vigor, fresh melodies, brilliant colors and sometimes, a cinematic sweep. It is often highly chromatic, but more on a melodic level than a harmonic one, so the tonal center is rarely ever in question. This is music written to draw its listener in, to engage, challenge, thrill, and to entertain.
The album sample I have for you to hear is the third and concluding movement, Presto, from Zyman’s Flute Concerto No. 2 “De Mineria”. From the opening measures, the composer’s flair for writing dramatic and mysterious music is evident. These performers, immersed for so long in Zyman’s music, provide completely idiomatic performances.
Samuel Zyman: Three Concertos
“This recording contains three works written in different periods of my life as a composer, namely my Concerto for Harp and Orchestra composed in 1994, my Concerto for Harp, flute and Orchestra written in 2001, and my Concerto No. 2 for Flute and Orchestra, which bears the title “Concierto de Mineria” and was composed iin 2008. I owe the making of this recording, in every wy to my dear friends and lifelong musical accomplices Marisa Canales (flutist), Mercedes Gomez (harpist) and Benjamin Jaurez (conductor). I am immensely grateful to them for this project and for all the musical activities we have carried out together over the course of many yeast and will definitely continue carrying out in the future.”
Samuel Zyman, a long-time New York-based Juilliard faculty member, is acknowledged as one of the leading Mexican composers on the international scene today.
Marisa Canales (born December 11, 1959) is a Mexican flute player.
She has recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra Lalo Schifrin’s “Concierto Caribeño”, a work commissioned for and dedicated to her. She has also premiered and recorded a large number of flute works (over fifty), many written for her by leading American, Mexican and Latin American composers such as Samuel Zyman, Eduardo Gamboa, Eugenio Toussaint, Arturo Márquez, Armando Luna, Ian Krouse, and many others.
Gomez was harpist of the State Orchestra of Mexico , the Symphony Orchestra of the Palace of Mines and the Philharmonic Orchestra of the UNAM , and soloist with major Mexican orchestras , in addition to having represented Mexico in international festivals in the U.S., Canada, Cuba , Venezuela , Argentina , Brazil, Switzerland , Germany , Ireland, Spain , Poland, Sweden and France.
She received the Master of Harp at the Royal Conservatory in Stockholm Sweden and teaches harp professor of the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico.
Benjamín Juárez Echenique
Benjamin Juarez Echenique is a music conductor and scholar with over four decades of experience in the arts, and was born in Mexico City on July 17, 1951.
Juárez Echenique has also produced and presented hundreds of radio and television programs in Mexico. His recordings of works of Baroque Mexican masters such as Ignacio Jerusalem y Stella, Francisco Delgado, Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla, Manuel Arenzana and Fabián Ximeno for the Urtext label won him a Latin Grammy nomination in 2001.
On August 4, 2010 Benjamin E. Juarez assumed the position of Dean of the Boston University College of Fine Arts.
Orchestra of the Americas
Led by Artistic Advisor PLÁCIDO DOMINGO, YOA Orchestra of the Americas is a world-class symphony orchestra of 100 musical leaders, ages 18 to 30, representing 25 countries of the Western Hemisphere.