Roberto Rodriguez Directs Orquestra Sarabia at LA's Skirball Center, 8/9
The West Coast premiere of Orquesta Sarabia under the direction of Roberto Rodriguez continues the Skirball Cultural Center's annual Sunset Concerts series on Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 8:00 PM.
Composer and percussionist Roberto Rodriguez draws upon a broad range of influences to create his works - from traditional Cuban roots music to contemporary genres of world music, pop, and jazz, as well as improvisation, electronica, and classical.
Commissioned by the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Rodriguez' latest project – the ten-piece band Orquesta Sarabia – premiered on May 17, 2012 at the David Rubenstein Atrium and featured Cuban, Jewish, and Arabic musicians performing new arrangements of Rodriguez's original compositions, as well as new taraab (Arabic-inflected music that took root in East Africa).
The Skirball Cultural Center's Sunset Concerts, curated by Skirball Vice President of Programs, Jordan Peimer, offers community concerts free of charge representing music from around the globe in the Skirball's scenic central courtyard. The 2012 series begins with Samba Mapangala & Orchestra Virunga (July 26) and continues with the West Coast premiere of The Alaev Family (August 2); West Coast premiere of Orquesta Sarabia under the direction of Roberto Rodriguez (August 9); West Coast premiere of De Temps Antan (August 16); La Santa Cecilia (August 23); and world premiere of Eric Bibb's String Band (August 30).
For each live performance, the expansive outdoor space is transformed into an intimate, celebratory gathering. Concertgoers arrive early to dine under the stars, visit the museum galleries, and explore the Skirball's spectacular architecture and hillside setting. Then, as the performers take the stage, festivities spill out into the aisles and music lovers of all ages sing along and take to the dance floor.
Born in East Havana, Cuba, and raised in Miami, Robert Juan Rodriguez learned to play trumpet and drums from his father, trumpeter and arranger Roberto Luis Rodriguez, as well as from the Caturla Conservatory of Music. Rodriguez began playing drums professionally at the tender age of thirteen with his father's ensembles as well as with legendary bassist Israel "Cachao" Lopez. He received a full scholarship to the music program at the University of Miami and has spent his adult life touring worldwide and recording his signature blend of Cuban roots music, Eastern European, Sephardic and Cuban jazz, and electronic dance beats. The Grammy nominee and American Music Award recipient has collaborated with some of the biggest names in music including Paul Simon, Rufus Wainwright, Celia Cruz, Joe Jackson, Julio Iglesias, Miami Sound Machine, Ruben Blades, and T. Bone Burnett, among many others. He has performed in prestigious venues and festivals worldwide, such as Concertgebouw in Holland, Barbican Theater in London, Malta Jazz Festival, Sines Musicas do Mundo, Portugal, Museum of Jewish Heritage in NYC, Istanbul Jazz Festival, Haimet-Klange Festival in Berlin, and the Slovenia Jazz Festival.