North/South Consonance to Host Cinco de Mayo Celebration, 5/5

On Thursday evening May 5, North/South Consonance will mark the Cinco de Mayo holiday with a concert featuring recent works for string orchestra by composers from Mexico.

The widely celebrated Mexican holiday commemorates the May 5, 1862 victory of the Mexican army over the invading French forces of Napoleon III in a battle that took place in the outskirts of the city of Puebla. The Mexican soldiers were under the command of Benito Juarez, Mexico's first indigenous president.

Presented in collaboration with the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York, the concert will feature the Grammy nominated North/South Chamber Orchestra performing recent works by three generations of Mexican composers. Being heard in New York for the first time will be music by Carlos Chavez, Leandro Espinosa, Max Lifchitz and Salvador Torre.
The event will start at 8 PM and end approximately at 9:30 PM. It will be held at the intimate but acoustically superior auditorium of Christ & St Stephen's Church (120 West 69th St - between Broadway and Columbus) on Manhattan's Upper West Side. The auditorium is ADA accessible. Admission is free - no tickets required.

The three living composers will be present at the concert and will introduce their works to the public in both Spanish and English. They are available for media events and interviews and may be contacted through the North/South Office at

Since its inception in 1980, North/South Consonance has brought to the attention of the New York City public over 1,000 recent works by composers representing a wide spectrum of aesthetic views. It 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.

Carlos Chavez (1899-1978) was one of the most distinguished 20th century Latin American composers. The founding music director of Mexico's National Symphony Orchestra, Chavez appeared at the helm of most major orchestras in this country and Europe. His vast oeuvre encompasses six symphonies, ballet music, concertos for various instruments and an opera. Written on commission from Mexico's National University, Sonante is a single-movement abstract work that reflects the composer's late life concerns with non-repetition. Unlike his popular earlier works such as the Sinfonia India, Sonante explores a most unique and refined sound world while avoiding references to outmoded nationalistic cliches.

A native of Moterrey in the state of Nuevo Leon, Leandro Espinosa began his musical journey as a cellist eventually studying composition with Nicandro Tamez and Manuel Enriquez. Following further studies at the Guild Hall School in London and the University of Missouri, he was appointed conductor of the Grande Ronde Orchestra in Oregon. In 2008 he received a commission from the Vatican to write a special mass in honor the saint Bernardo Tolomei. His lyrical almost pastoral Andante for Strings was written in 1991 on commission from the Mexico City Philharmonic.

Born in México City in 1948, Max Lifchitz has resided in New York City since 1966. Active as pianist and conductor, he earned first prize in the 1976 International Gaudeamus Competition for Performers of Twentieth Century Music held in Holland and has appeared on concert stages throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States. He has recorded over 50 compact disc albums. Written during the early days of February, 2015 while reacting to the gradual increase in daylight that effortlessly follows the Winter Solstice, Lifchitz's Brightness Aloft is based on the melody of Xicochi Conetzintle - the 17th century carol written by Gaspar Fernández in México. The text of the motet is in náhuatl, the language of the Aztecs. Its title can be translated as "Sleep, O my Child" obviously referring to baby Jesus. The work consists of twelve unpretentious variations on the motet's iridescent melody.

Salvador Torré (b. 1973) attended México's National Conservatory before being awarded a scholarship to do graduate work at the Sorbonne in Paris. Upon earning his doctorate Torré participated in courses and activities sponsored by the Acoustical and Musical Research Institute (IRCAM). He represented México at the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in Amsterdam and at the World Music Days festivals held in Japan and Slovenia. Torré is on the faculty of México's National Conservatory where in addition to teaching flute and composition he also is in charge of the electroacoustic music program. A decidedly eclectic and cosmpopolitan work, Torré's four movement composition Homm-ages makes a very personal use of techniques associated with music of 20th century masters such as Berio, Cage and Reich.

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