North/South Chamber Orchestra to Perform Music from Four Latino Composers

On Tuesday evening June 6, The North/South Chamber Orchestra will perform music by four composers hailing from Latin America who discovered their artistic voice while living in the US.

The program will feature New York premieres of compositions by Aurelio de la Vega and Jose Lezcano (from Cuba); Max Lifchitz (from Mexico); and Icli Zitella (from Venezuela).

Soloists for the occasion will include flutist Lisa Hansen, violinist Francisco Salazar and guitarist Jose Lezcano. Max Lifchitz will be on the podium. The event will take place at the intimate but acoustically superior auditorium of Christ & St Stephen's Church (120 West 69th Street) on Manhattan's Upper West Side. The free-admission event will start at 8 PM and end around 9:30 PM. The auditorium is ADA accessible. No tickets or reservations needed.

Since its inception in 1980, the North/South Consonance, Inc. has brought to the attention of the New York City public over 1,000 works by composers hailing from the Americas and elsewhere representing a wide spectrum of aesthetic views. Its activities are made possible in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; the BMI Foundation; the Music Performance Trust Fund; and the generosity of numerous individual donors.

Cuban-born Aurelio de la Vega has resided in Los Angeles since 1959. His works have received an impressive amount of performances throughout the US and Latin America and appear on numerous recordings. De la Vega has received several awards and honors including decorations from several foreing governments as well as two Friedheim Awards from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Elegía was written at the request of the late Alberto Bolet for a concert he conducted in London with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Completed in early September of 1954, the intense and eminently lyrical single-movement work is based on a melody borrowed from Monteverdi's Lament of Ariana. Monteverdi's melody is surrounded by a highly chromatic texture and accompanied by a bass line constructed around Cuban rhythms.

Grammy-nominated guitarist and composer José Manuel Lezcano has delighted audiences on four continents. The New Millennium Guitar Magazine described him as "a superb guitarist as well as a first-rate composer and arranger." Born in Havana, Cuba, Lezcano received his musical training at the Florida State University and the Peabody Conservatory. He serves as Professor of Music at Keene State College in New Hampshire where he has taught since 1991. His Soujourners (Travelers) is a double concerto for flute, guitar and strings. In the manner of the Baroque concerto grosso the work is in three contrasting movements arranged around the fast-slow-fast pattern. The lively closing movement makes use of propulsive simple and duple meters (3/4 & 6/8) bringing the work to a rousing conclusion.

A dynamic figure in America's musical life, Max Lifchitz was born in México City and has lived in New York since 1966. Active as composer, pianist and conductor, he was awarded first prize in the 1976 International Gaudeamus Competition for Performers of Twentieth Century Music held in Holland. The San Francisco Chronicle described him as "a stunning, ultra-sensitive pianist" while The New York Times praised Mr. Lifchitz for his "clean, measured and sensitive performances." The American Record Guide referred to him as " of America's finest exponents of contemporary piano music." His Brightness Aloft is based on the melody of Xicochí Conetzintle -- the 17th century motet written by Gaspar Fernández in México. beautiful villancico (or Christmas Carol), the text of the motet is in náhuatl, the language of the Aztecs. A lullaby, its title can be translated as "Sleep, O my Child" obviously referring to baby Jesus.

Icli Zitella began studying music in his native Caracas, Venezuela eventually completing a Masters degree at the Manhattan School of Music. He writes music in a wide variety of styles ranging from the classical and traditional to the popular and experimental. Zitella was awarded First Prize in the National Piano Composition Competition Moisés Moleiro (Caracas, 1992) and the Municipal Music Prize (Caracas, 2010). His considers his work Zona (The Zone) a metaphor for his country, He states: "For Venezuelans, their country can feel like a zone, a place on the verge of great conflict, of general chaos. Venezuelans feel that something terrible can happen at any moment. However, within this chaos there is a faint glimmer of spiritual life. That life is present throughout the piece from its beginning, and is represented by the medieval hymn Veni Creator Spiritus. This is why the work changes from the chromatic darkness of the beginning to the final unfolding of the hymn."

Venezuelan violinist Francisco Salazar made his solo debut with orchestra at age 8 and toured the world with the legendary Simon Bolivar Orchestra which he joined at age 14. He perfected his craft at The Juilliard School, where he obtained his BM and MM degrees. He has had the honor of performing for two presidents of his country; the Crown Prince Guillaume and Princess Stephanie of Luxembourg; and the consuls of Venezuela and India in NY.

Flutist Lisa Hansen's critically acclaimed EMI/Angel recording of Joaquín Rodrigo's Concierto Pastoral with the London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has been broadcast worldwide. The New York Times described her playing as "irresistibly lyrical" while Fanfare proclaimed: "One might well prefer Hansen to Galway." She has performed and recorded with North/South Consonance since 1988 and is the featured soloist in several North/South Recordings including Harold Schiffman's Concertino for Flute and Strings, Stephen Yip's Shun and Robert Martin's One Year the Milkweed. A graduate of The Juilliard School, Ms. Hansen is now the flute professor at Kean University.

For the complete North/South concert series schedule please visit

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