The chamber ensemble of the YOA took the stage at Upper East Side's Americas Society for a short showcase of the music they've been exploring since their inception in 2001. Starting off with a string quintet (Ana Drobac, Darwin Aquino: violins; Nicolas Giordano: viola; Sarah Steeves: cello; Rodrigo Becerra: bass), the group started things off with two romantic works by underrated Brazilian composer Alberto Nepomuceno, "Adagio Para Cordas" and Adagio Expressivo." It was a rare opportunity to hear something by Nepomuceno, who is often (and rather unfairly) overshadowed by the likes of Heitor Villa-Lobos and Carlos Gomes.
The group left the room to make way to their horn section (Adam Eccleston: flute; Pablo Moreno: oboe; Guillermo Marin: clarinet; Sean Maree: basoon; Joshua Pantoja: horn), who took on two movements from "Six Bagatelles for Wind Quintet." It was interesting to note the musicians' perfect chemistry when performing what was clearly a very complex piece. Sadly, they had to skip a work by Villa-Lobos that was included in the program (possibly due to time constraints, since the concert began with a considerable delay).
The strings returned for "Fuga Criolla" by Juan Bautista Plaza, a very intriguing piece that included touches of Argentinean milonga and Venezuelan folk music, which demanded a lot from both violinists. The same group closed with a tango (which was not on the program) that had a clear contemporary influence, with jazz-inflected changes and a complex arrangement.
It is always a pleasure to hear such young musicians from diverse backgrounds (many hail from Latin American countries) take on the challenge of becoming part of such an open-minded classical orchestra (they are advised by legendary opera singer Placido Domingo). That we had the opportunity to hear them in such an intimate setting makes it even more pleasurable, which keeps us hoping for more of the same.
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