"…Ginastera's brilliantly incisive music might have been written for the special talents of this pianist. The lyrical and percussive extremes of the composer's distinctive style fully exploit Rodriguez' remarkable combination of introspective, poetic delicacy and explosive virtuosity."---Peter G. Davis --New York Magazine
Lawrence Johnson has studied with some of the greatest masters of the classical guitar including Andrés Segovia, Christopher Parkening, Ida Presti and Alexander Lagoya, and Oscar Ghiglia. The leading international authority on Sor, Brian Jeffery, remarks on his "eloquent playing." In the last several years, Mr. Johnson has decided to specialize on the music of Fernando Sor and is currently recording his complete guitar works. ÉLAN is pleased to release highlights from this remarkable cycle.
"...Johnson interprets the material from a Romantic perspective, presenting familiar material in a new light, and breathing life into the works that have remained obscure for so long. Over the album's 73 minutes, Johnson holds your attention with intriguing musical ideas and superb playing..."
"…One of the most charming and enjoyable piano records around is a look at some Spanish (and Cuban) piano music played by Santiago Rodriguez. Mr. Rodriguez is a polished convincing exponent of this material...he applies a lovely patina to his playing."---Harold C. Schoenberg -- The New York Times
Cuarteto Latinoamericano was formed in 1981 on the initiative of four outstanding Latin American musicians: brothers Saul Bitran, violinist; Aron Bitran, violinist; Alvaro Bitran, cellist; and Javier Montiel, violist. Since then, the ensemble has performed extensively in Mexico, Eastern and Western Europe, Scandinavia, South America and the United States. The quartet has special interest in the works by Latin America composer of all periods, and has premiered many string quartets written specifically for them. Reviews of their performances of the traditional, contemporary, and Latin American repertoires have praised the quartet's technical command, warmth, musicality, versatility, and enthusiasm. It is this ability to render with equal success new compositions and traditional masterpieces of the string quartet repertoire that makes the Cuarteto Latinoamericano unique. The members of the quartet are Artists-in-Residence at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA.
"...an intelligently selected program of Latin American string quartets...the Cuarteto Latinoamericano is unquestionably the best-sounding quartet ensemble I have ever heard coming from this part of the world. It has a clean, tight ensemble, startling luxuriance of tone, and the delightful collective habit of playing cleaning on pitch...strongly recommended" -- John Wiser --Fanfare
George Manahan is presently the Music Director of the Richmond Symphony/Sinfonia. Only the third person to occupy the podium in its 30-year history, Mr. Manahan is formerly an Exxon/Arts Endowment Conductor. He has served as Acting Music Director of the New Jersey Symphony and was previously that orchestra's Associate Conductor. He has also served as Principal Conductor of the Minnesota Opera and Music Director of the New York City Opera National Company. He has guest conducted the Minnesota Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic, the New Orleans Philharmonic, the Florida Symphony and the opera companies of Baltimore, Dallas, Santa Fe, Hawaii, and Seattle. A native of Atlanta, George Manahan received his formal training at the Manhattan School of Music and was appointed to the faculty upon his graduation. He was also the recipient of a Juilliard Fellowship in conducting.
Cuarteto Latinoamericano was formed in 1981 on the initiative of four outstanding Latin American musicians: brothers Saul Bitran, violinist; Aron Bitran, violinist; Alvaro Bitran, cellist; and Javier Montiel, violist. Since then, the ensemble has performed extensively in Mexico, Eastern and Western Europe, Scandinavia, South America and the United States. The quartet has special interest in the works by Latin American composer of all periods, and has premiered many string quartets written specifically for them. Reviews of their performances of the traditional, contemporary, and Latin American repertoires have praised the quartet's technical command, warmth, musicality, versatility, and enthusiasm. It is this ability to render with equal success new compositions and traditional masterpieces of the string quartet repertoire that makes the Cuarteto Latinoamericano unique. The members of the quartet are Artists-in-Residence at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA.
Soprano Claudia Montiel was born in Mexico City and studied piano and voice at the National School of Music. She has performed with Repertorio Español and the Amato Opera Company, and in solo recitals in both the United States and Mexico. In 1993 Ms. Montiel was awarded first place in the Carlo Morelli Vocal Competition at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City.
The son of Cuban immigrants, Rodolfo Brito has worked extensively to promote Cuban and Latin American music and is considered one of the foremost interpreters of Cuban composer René Touzet, who was as associate and close friend of Ernesto Lecuona. Mr. Brito made his concert debut at age 15, performing with the Florida International Symphony Orchestra. He has also appeared with the Orquesta Sinfónica Naciónal de México. A member of the music faculty of both the New World School of the Arts and Miami-Dade Community College, Mr. Brito has toured extensively as recitalist and teacher in the eastern United States. Ha has also made guest appearances at the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C., and on the NBC television network. Rodolfo Brito attended the Cincinnati Conservatory and the University of Maryland, where he studied with Santiago Rodriguez and Roy Hamlin Johnson and won various performance honors.
"...Brito gives a masterful interpretation leaving no doubt to his command of the instrument..."
Born in Camagüey, Cuba in 1963, Rubén Peláez began piano lessons with his mother at the age of six. He continued his studies at the music school in his native province and graduated with degrees in music and piano from the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana. Mr. Peláez emigrated to the United States in 1987 and settled in Miami where he had further lessons with Cuban pianist Teresa Escandón. It was during this time that he entered a number of international competitions including the Marguerite Long Competition in Paris and the Palm Beach Invitational where he was a finalist. He has participated in master classes with André Watts, Roberto Urbay, Jorge Luis Prats, Valerie Kastelsky, and Harold Gramatge. He was awarded a full scholarship at the University of Maryland where he is currently completing his doctoral studies with Santiago Rodriguez. Rubén Peláez has performed with orchestra and in recital on numerous occasions, both in Cuba and in the United States.
"...Peláez' performances are snappy...for fanciers of this music, this CD is essential..." James Miller Fanfare
Guitarist Elias Barreiro was born in Santiago de Cuba in 1930 and studied at the Havana Conservatory of Music. His post-graduate work was with Maestro Andrés Segovia at Santiago de Campostela in Spain. He has performed extensively in Cuba and abroad as a recitalist, as soloist with orchestra, and with chamber ensembles. Mr. Barreiro has edited and arranged scores for over 35 books on guitar music and has numerous recordings to his credit. He has been a member of juries at both national and international competitions and recipient of the 1992 Mentor Award given by the Guitar Foundation of America. Since 1967, Elias Barreiro has been head of the guitar program at Tulane University, New Orleans, LA.
"...in Barreiro's hands they become exquisite miniatures, played with charming warmth and commitment..."-- Peter Spencer Newark Star-Ledger
Chilean-born Pola Baytelman made her debut with the Chilean Symphony Orchestra at the age of seventeen. She has since performed extensively as a soloist with orchestras, in chamber music concerts and in solo recitals in major US cities including Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and in the Albany Schenectady-Saratoga area where she lives. She recently returned from the People's Republic of China where she gave a series of recitals and master classes. Her performances have been broadcast on radio and television in Chile, Australia, the United States, the Czech Republic and China. Pola Baytelman received her formal training at the University of Chile's National Conservatory where she studied with Cristina Herrera. She came to the United States under a Fulbright grant and attended the New England Conservatory in Boston. Her teachers in the United States include Russell Sherman at the New England Conservatory and Nancy Garrett at the University of Texas. Austin. She has also studied with Menahem Pressler and Claude Frank. Ms. Baytelman has long been associated with the music of Isaac Albéniz and the score used in this recording is an edition made by her following extensive research from the original manuscript. Her book on Albéniz' piano music was published by Harmonie Park Press (1993). Pola Baytelman is Artist-in-Residence at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY.
The name of Bobby Jiménez is forever linked with the great traditions of classic popular Cuban songs. Throughout his long and successful career, Bobby has demonstrated his versatility and gift for communicating in English, French, Italian, and Portuguese, the most beautiful musical creations of these countries. However, it is his direct link to, and admiration for, the great composers of his native Cuba which have enabled him to interpret an extensive repertoire of Cuban music encompassing many styles and many decades.
Bobby attended the Conservatorio Municipal in his native Havana and studied vocal arts privately with Maria Fantolli, Edelmire de Zayas and Iris Burguet. Additionally, he was coached by several well-known artists, including Isolina Carrillo, composer of Dos Gardenias. He emigrated to the United States in 1985 and settled in Miami where he performed in the Cuban zarzuela Maria La O by Ernesto Lecuona under the direction of Marta Pérez in the Zarzuela Theater La Sociedad ProArte Grateli. He was also a well-known artist in local cabarets and appeared frequently on Spanish television programs. He moved to Washington, D.C. In 1989 and has given numerous concerts in the area including concerts at the State Department, and as a featured artist during the celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Bibiana Borroto began guitar lessons at the age of eight. Her father's support was instrumental to her acceptance at Havana's Municipal Music Conservatory Alejandro Garcia Caturla. She continued her music studies at Havana's national School of Music, participating in guitar and chorus competitions and concerts. Under the tutelage of maestro Victor Pellegrini, she graduated with Music and Classical Guitar degrees from Havana's Superior Institute of Art. On numerous occasions she has performed in international guitar festivals. She has participated in master classes with maestros Ichiro Suzuki, Costas Cotsiolis, Leo Brower and Rey Guerra among others. She has appeared in concert as a duo with classical guitarist Luis Manuel Molina. Ms. Borroto emigrated to the United States in 1988, settling in Miami where she also received master classes from virtuoso guitarist Manuel Barreuco at Florida International University. Together with Bobby Jiménez, she has appeared as a guest artist at the State department and also as a featured artist during the celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Elias Barreiro was born in Santiago de Cuba in 1930 and studied at the Havana Conservatory of Music. His post-graduate work was with maestro Andres Segovia at Santiago de Compostela in Spain. He has performed extensively in Cuba and abroad as a recitalist, soloist with orchestra, and with chamber ensembles.
Professor Barreiro has edited and arranged scores for over forty books on guitar music and has numerous recordings to his credit. He has been a member of juries at both national and international competitions, and was the recipient of the 1992 Mentor Award given by the Guitar Foundation of America.
Since 1967 Professor Barreiro has been the head of the guitar program at Tulane University. A number of his former students perform regularly in concerts, and hold faculty positions at universities and schools across the United States. Elias Barreiro has published works with Hansen Publications, the Willis Music Company, Editions Orphee, and now exclusively with Mel Bay Publications.
Two selections from Professor Barreiro's The Guitar Music of Cuba (MB96178BCD) were used as incidental music in the 2002 MGM film Original Sin starring Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie. Both pieces, "La Celosa" and "Un Recuerdo," were originally written for the piano by Cuban composer Ignacio Cervantes and transcribed and performed on the guitar by Professor Barriero.