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«October 26 & 27, 2012 Performing Arts Center The University at Albany 1400 Washington Ave Albany, NY 12222 Event made possible with funding from the ...»

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BORICUA RHYTHMS

CONFERENCE

Abstracts, Biographies and Concert Programs

October 26 & 27, 2012

Performing Arts Center

The University at Albany

1400 Washington Ave

Albany, NY 12222

Event made possible with funding from the

Office of the Vice-President for Research

College of Arts and Science’s Dean’s Office

University Auxiliary Services

and public funds from the

New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, administered by North/South Consonance, Inc.

Improvisation in Jíbaro Music Jaime O. Bofill University of Arizona – Ph.D. Candidate Ethnomusicology & Music Theory Improvisation is regarded as the most sublime element in the jíbaro folk music tradition of Puerto Rico. This tradition invented by the jíbaro, a simple rural farmer of Puerto Rico’s heartland, involves the complicated art of improvising in décima, a ten-line poetic form, as well as improvisation of melodic lines played on the cuatro, a small guitar-like instrument.

Since jíbaro improvisation is an art that is transmitted orally and involves a seemingly spontaneous act, it might seem odd to talk about a theory of improvisation within this style of music. My ethnographic research however has revealed that improvisation in jíbaro music is actually a highly structured performance practice and involves an informal theory that is based on the knowledge of archetypal patterns that generate and organize jíbaro improvisations.

Recent theories of rhythm which establish parallels between music and language (Lerdhal and Jackendoff, 1983) have greatly influenced my preliminary findings, and have lead me to believe that improvisation in jíbaro music is generated by the combination of archetypal patterns that create a musical syntax. My study is also based on the work of ethnomusicologist Luis M. Alvarez who has identified African rhythmic patterns as the generative musical source in many styles of Puerto Rican folk music (Alvarez, 1992). By combining theories of music and ethnographic methods, this paper will provide a greater understanding of orally-transmitted cultural expressions, which utilize improvisation, as well as give insight to the cognitive processes that shape this performance practice.

Jaime Bofill is a PhD candidate in music theory and ethnomusicology at the University of Arizona. His paper “Bomba, danza, calipso y merengue: creación del espacio social en las Fiestas de Santiago Apóstol de Loíza” was awarded the 2012 Otto Meyer-Serra from the Center for Iberian and Latin American Music at the University of California, Riverside.

Bofill began his classical guitar studies in with renowned Puerto Rican guitarist, Juan Sorroche at the University ofPuerto Rico and graduated with a Bachelors of Arts from this institution in 2001.

During his studies at the University of Puerto Rico he also studied composition with Ernesto Cordero.

He later studied guitar for three years at the Conservatory of Puerto Rico, with gran maestro Leonardo Egurbida.

Having played classical guitar concerts in Puerto Rico and later in the United States, Bofill then dedicated his energies to composition and ethnomusicology. For his Andean pieces he was awarded the Northern Trust/Piper award (2009), which allowed him to travel to Peru and learn the folk music of the Peruvian Altiplano. As a filmmaker, Bofill has made two ethnographic documentaries, Entre Peruanos: an ethnographic film on the Peruvian community of Tucson and Danzas de Conquista: Continuities and Change of a Millenary Tradition, which have been presented at various academic conferences throughout the United States. Bofill also performs regularly in Tucson with the Puerto Rican folk music ensemble Grupo Riken and the Andean music group Entre Peruanos. He is currently finishing his doctoral dissertation, which deals with improvisation in the jíbaro folk music tradition of Puerto Rico.

Héctor Campos-Parsi – The Figueroa-Sanabia family:

Their Importance in 20th century Puerto Rican Music Francisco J. Cabán-Vales Puerto Rico Conservatory and University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Ivonne Figueroa University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Héctor Campos-Parsi was one of the leading figures of Puerto Rican music for almost forty years. His work as composer, teacher, arts administrator, and musicologist contributed to an increased projection of our musical culture. The Sonatina #2 for Violin and Piano was written in Paris, while the composer was a pupil of Nadia Boulanger. It received the Maurice Ravel Prize in 1953.

The Figueroa-Sanabia family occupies a unique position in Puerto Rico’s musical history. Its founders, Jesús Figueroa Iriarte and Carmen Sanabia Von Ellinger, were born in the late 19th century.

For over 100 years, they, their children, and many of their grandchildren, have had distinguished musical careers. Figueroa-Sanabia musicians are famous throughout Puerto Rico and have been recognized in Europe, in the United States, and in Latin America as performing artists, conductors and teachers.

The aim of this lecture/recital is two-fold. First, it will bring awareness of the importance of Campos-Parsi’s musical output through the performance of one of his best compositions; then it will put in perspective the scope and historical significance of the Figueroa-Sanabia family in Puerto Rican music. Particularly as performers and composers of Puerto Rican Danzas. A performance of some of their works will illustrate the main concepts implicit in the discussion.





Violinist Francisco Cabán leads an eclectic musical life as a performer, teacher, and conductor.

He earned his Bachelor of Music degree in performance from the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music before earning advanced degrees from Temple University and University of Texas at Austin. His teachers have included José Figueroa, Joaquín Vidaechea, Helen Kwalwasser, Gerard Poulet, and Eugene Gratovich. Dr. Cabán received the Albert Tashljian Prize at Temple University; was prizewinner at the 2001 Tuesday Musical Club Competition in San Antonio, Texas; and second prize winner of the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra Solo Competition (2007). As soloist and recitalist Francisco has performed throughout the United States, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Peru, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico. He has presented numerous master-classes and lectures at the universities of New Mexico and Texas, Texas A&M, and the Latin-American Violin Academy in Venezuela.

Pianist Ivonne Figueroa began her musical studies at the age of five with her father Guillermo, her aunts Carmelina and Angelina and her uncle Narciso Figueroa, members of Puerto Rico’s most distinguished musical family. She was also a pupil of Pablo Casals, Rudolf Serkin, Claude Franck and Felix Galimir. In 1966 Ms. Figueroa was awarded the Pablo Casals Scholarship by the maestro himself, to study at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. She has performed in Europe, Central America and the Caribbean. In the United States she has performed at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall, Weill recital Hall, Merkin Hall and the Festival Casals in Puerto Rico. In 1974 Ms. Figueroa was the first artist from the Western Hemisphere to win a prize at the famous Robert Schumann International Piano Competition in East Germany. She has appeared as soloist with orchestras in New York, Germany (DDR), Michigan, Puerto Rico, New Mexico and Colorado. Ms. Figueroa holds a PH.D. from New York University and at present is an Associate Professor at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, Faculty of Education.

The Practices of Plena at La Casita de Chema:

Affect, Music and Everyday Life César Colón-Montijo Columbia University in the City of NY -- Graduate Ethnomusicology Program For almost forty years, La Casita de Chema (Chema’s little house), a cultural institution in the South Bronx, has emplaced affective relationships among Puerto Ricans who perform and preserve the traditions of plena and bomba in New York. Although both of these folkloric musical genres are performed in La Casita, plena has always been nourished among the community as their most representative musical expression.

The “casita people” (Flores 2000) often refer to their musical community as a familia (family) and describe their gatherings as being en familia, among your family. They practice plena as a matter of the everyday, as a lifestyle. Also, they always mark the importance of this place in their everydayness by connecting it to the island. Even in the suffocating presence of all the new buildings that surround La Casita, they say that when you step through the front door and walk from the sidewalk to el batey (the yard) you are actually entering Puerto Rico. In this article I propose that the practices of plena at La Casita give this community a sense of family and place that is founded on long time affective relationships that are built mainly through musical performance. Their familia, is founded on the collective practice of what they call the authentic plena, which is practiced with “heart” and “feeling,” and preserves the fundamento of this music. I describe ethnographically the ordinary practices of plena among the “casita people,” and I also analyze a song composed by Benny Ayala, the current most prolific and active plenero of the community. I pay close

attention to the relationship between history and affects in the lyrics of Ayala’s song:

Homenaje a la plena (Homage to Plena).

Ultimately, my study answers two basic questions: How do ordinary affects play out in the repertoire and musical practices of the casita people? And, how do the practices of plena at La Casita reflect the everyday experiences of the “casita people” as working-class Puerto Ricans in New York?

César Colón-Montijo is pursuing a doctorate in ethnomusicology at Columbia University, in New York. His doctoral dissertation research project will explore the multilayered legacy of Ismael "Maelo" Rivera, Puerto Rico’s most gifted and influential sonero (salsa singer-improviser). César investigates how and why Rivera’s music and iconic figure inspire affective relationships among groups of “Maelo devotees” throughout specific communities in Puerto Rico, New York, Panamá and Venezuela.

Jazz/Latino in New York: Embodying Musical Transformation José E. Cruz Rockefeller College -- University at Albany This presentation provides an account of and rationale for the Albany-based nonprofit organization, Jazz/Latino, Inc. The focal point of this presentation is the idea that while Latin jazz is an example of the coming together of African American and Afro Caribbean musical traditions in the United States, it is not easy to pin down Latin jazz as a musical concept. The presentation will include video samples from the Ahora, Latin/Jazz! concert series presented by Jazz/Latino, Inc. to show that while Latin jazz as a concept is ambiguous and difficult to define, we know what it is when we hear it.

José E. Cruz is an Associate Professor at the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College and the Department of Latin American, U.S. Latino, and Caribbean Studies (LACS) Cruz directs the New York Latino Research and Resources Network (NYLARNet), a research consortium based at the University at Albany conducting and sponsoring research focused on Latinos in New York State. He is also president and founder of Jazz/Latino, Inc.

Jazz/Latino is dedicated to the promotion of jazz and Latin jazz in the New York State Capital Region.

Perspectives about Pablo Casals: his legacy in Puerto Rico (1955-73)

–  –  –

After Pablo Casals settled in Puerto Rico in 1956, he developed four important major musical projects including the Casals Festival, two symphony orchestras and the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico.

These unique musical institutions were developed to benefit the Puerto Rican people and gained immediate fame throughout the United States and internationally. Their advance was sponsored by the state under the concept Operation Serenity – proclaimed during the early years of the administration of Governor Luis Muñoz Marín. This new cultural policy sought to retain a balance between economic developments while hastening the growth of Puerto Rico through culture.

This lecture will highlight the intense artistic activity undertaken by Maestro Casals in Puerto Rico during this period. It will also focus on his messages of world peace and respect for human rights as proclaimed in various international forums while explaining the significance they still hold today worldwide.

Jose R. Delannoy studied European history at the University of Puerto Rico, before earning his masters degree in Museology at the University of Barcelona in Spain. Currently, he is completing his doctorate in Archival Studies and Library Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina under the direction of the musicologist Dr. André Guerra-Cotta. The title of his doctoral thesis is "Preservation and dissemination of classical musical heritage: The case of Maestro Pablo Casals."

His specialty is managing music collections having worked as curator of the collection Pablo Casals in the hands of his widow, Marta Casals Istomin, as well as guest curator of the Musee Pablo Casals in Prades, France. Recently, he has served as Curator and Administrator of the Pablo Casals Museum in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Bomba in the South of Puerto Rico Emanuel Dufrasne-González University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Dufrasne is the first ethnomusicologist to research regional differences found in the Bomba. His writings and work as director of the Paracumbé Ensemble have promoted the knowledge of both homogeneity and diversity found in the Bomba throughout the island of Puerto Rico.

Dufrasne’s main interest is in the Bomba from the island’s southern region. In addition to preserving various examples of the Bomba, he has reconstructed and researched tradition and innovation in the genre. This lecture will compare and contrast the Loíza-Bomba with the Bomba of the South. It will involve both video and audio examples.



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