Paul O'Dette's ¡JACARAS! Inaugurates New GEMAS Concert Series at Americas Society Tonight, 11/9

Paul O'Dette's ¡JACARAS! Inaugurates New GEMAS Concert Series at Americas Society Tonight, 11/9

Gotham Early Music Scene (GEMS), as part of its milestone Fifth Anniversary celebration, announces "GEMAS," a new series of early music concerts in collaboration with the Americas Society featuring the early music of the Americas. The series will be co-directed by Americas Society Music Director Sebastian Zubieta and the celebrated soprano Nell Snaidas. The opening concert, by lutenist Paul O'Dette, will be performed tonight, November 9, 7:00 p.m., at Americas Society, 680 Park Avenue (between 68th and 69th Streets). This concert is part of Carnegie Hall's "Voices from Latin America" series this fall, which partners with outside organizations for performances in venues throughout the city.

Mr. O'Dette's program, entitled "¡Jácaras!", features 18th-century guitar music of Latin America composed by Santiago de Murcia, Manuel Alvarez, and anonymous Afro-Brazilian composers, including pieces from the Códice Saldívar No. 4, Cifras Selectas de Guitarra and Cifras de viola por varios autores (Coimbra).

Tickets are $20, or free to Americas Society members. A video sample and more information are available at

Gene Murrow, Executive Director of GEMS, noted: "The gorgeous baroque repertoire of Latin and South America, and the traditional music of French and Scottish settlers in Canada are attracting increasing interest from ensembles and audiences. The mission of the GEMAS series is to bring the best performances of early music of the Americas to New York audiences under the guidance of two of the acknowledged experts in the genre-Mr. Zubieta and Ms. Snaidas. Having the internationally revered lutenist Paul O'Dette inaugurate our series is a tremendous thrill."

Spring events in the GEMAS series include a concert by the vocal ensemble Meridianalis with instrumentalists from the Clarion Society, and a performance of repertoire, including music and dance, from an unusual manuscript originating in Trujillo, which is now Northern Peru. It was compiled around the year 1785 by the bishop of the area, Baltasar Jaime Martínez Compañón.

As one of the most influential figures in the early music field, Paul O'Dette helped define the technical and stylistic standards to which 21st-century performers of early music aspire, infusing the performance practice movement with a careful combination of historical awareness, idiomatic accuracy, and self-expression. Known best for his recitals and recordings of virtuoso solo lute music, O'Dette maintains an active international career as an ensemble musician as well, performing with many of the leading early music soloists and ensembles such as the acclaimed continuo ensemble, Tragicomedia. In addition to his activities as a performer, O'Dette is an avid researcher, having worked extensively on the performance and sources of 17th-century Italian and English solo song, continuo practices, and lute technique. He is at work on a forthcoming book on lute technique co-authored by Patrick O'Brien. He has published numerous articles on issues of historical performance practice and co-authored the Dowland entry in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. O'Dette is a professor of lute and director of early music at the Eastman School of Music, and serves as artistic director of the Boston Early Music Festival.