Alon Nechustan and Brooklyn Music School will present the Mestizo World Premiere on Friday, September 24, 2021 at 7 p.m. at the Brooklyn Music School Theater, 126 St. Felix Street, Fort Greene, Brooklyn, NY. The event is FREE and seats can be reserved online at brooklynmusicschool.org/calendar/2021/9/24/mestizo-original-music-for-strings-and-percussion.
Mestizo is a groundbreaking new work by pianist and composer Alon Nechushtan that explores the hidden connections between Native American melodies, our region as the Lenni-Lenape tribal land, and the vast jubilation of rhythm, pulse and dance as than global syntax. Mestizo is an expression of connection to the land, people, traditions and language, created on National Native American Day and composed for the award-winning Tesla String Quartet with Grammy-winning percussionist Samuel Torres .
“I wanted to tell a story on many levels through a series of fourteen vignettes,” said Alon Nechustan. “Each crossing, exploring and honoring from a different rhetorical and musical angle the migration, beauty, uniqueness and relevance of Native American music – and particularly regional, from our Brooklyn, homeland of the Lenni-Lenape, Mantaukett, Mohegan, Algonquin , among others – have in the moment “now”.
“Mestizo” means a person of mixed indigenous heritage, the term had no fixed meaning in colonial times. It was a formal label for individuals in official documentation, such as censuses, church records, Inquisition trials, and other matters. Priests and royal officials might qualify individuals as half-breeds, but the term was also used for self-identification for the racial mixture which only came into use in the 20th century; it was not a term from the colonial era. In the modern era, Mestizo is used to refer to the positive unity of race mixtures in modern Latin America. In the modern era, especially in Latin America, Mestizo has become more of a cultural term, with the term Indian reserved exclusively for people who have maintained an ethnic identity, language, tribal affiliation, etc.
“I chose this title, Mestizo, for the composition inspired by various Native American dances, songs and melodies as an allegory of diversity and the hybrid mix of compositional elements,” said Nechustan. “The traditional monodic character and contour of melodic content, with the somewhat non-traditional pairing of sonic harmonic interpolation and suggestive orchestration of stringed instruments, while hovering over them all, the relentless percussive buzz, with its earthy hard-hitting pulse. For my objective reasons only, the title was meant to honor the work as a personal creative endeavor, while also involving the fundamental nature of the inspiring and often surprising relevance it can have for our contemporary times. ”
“I must clarify that Mestizo in its essence is a ‘pure work of fiction’ and not a note to note documentation of assembled melodies,” continued Nechustan. “On the contrary, I admit having taken enormous freedom in the development of a sometimes unique melodic core, designing many of my own creations with regard to voice conduct, language or harmonic form, often deviating of the puritanical approach to ‘documenting’ arrangement thus overturning the canvas of drawing and forming my own music inspired by the aforementioned traditions – and not the other way around. “
Nechushtan is quick to point out that Mestizo is a work of fiction, but it is a work that resonates with the past and is constructed from extensive research and sources. The performing ensemble group – which is led by Tesla String Quartet are joined in many exotic percussion by Grammy-winning Colombia-born Samuel Torres, who has an unparalleled ability to tell a story through his percussion gestures. , its grooves and rhythms and the unique hybrid between these contrasting musical families – the strings and the percussion section – is the core of the driving force of the composition:
“I wanted these two basic elements, percussion and strings, to stand as elements of fire, wind, earth and water: each essential for this composition and to interact with each other, because our natural preconception is that the quartet string is a classical instrument and percussion is a Latin or regional instrument. I wanted to refute that – whether they are both at the head of the story and whether they are the protagonists, “said Nechushtan.
This project was supported by City Artist Corps Grant.
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Alon Nechushtan’s musical adventures have taken him to various corners of the world, such as the Yokohama ‘Rejoicing Sounds’ Festival in Japan with his contemporary orchestral compositions, The Manila Cultural Center of the Arts, with his Clarinet Concerto for the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, The Jewish Music Festival of Sao-Paolo Brazil with its groove-based Talat Quintet, Toronto and Montreal with its lyrics beyond the Jazz Trio and the Tel Aviv New Music Biennial with its Compositions for big set. Alon has performed at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Jazz @ Lincoln Center, Central Park Summer Stage, The Blue Note Jazz Club, and the Kennedy Center with his projects as a group leader for various groups or as a very sideman. demand. in October 2015, the Kennedy Center commissioned Alon Nechushtan for a new piece in celebration of Billy Strayhorn’s centenary, followed by a tour of the Far East in China and the Philippines, as well as jazz festivals in Belo Horizonte-Brazil , in Israel. In 2017, the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC commissioned Alon Nechushtan for a new program of lesser-known Thelonious Monk compositions. All About Jazz magazine called him “A fantastic pianist-songwriter with abundant chemistry and boundless eclecticism,” while DownBeat Magazine recognized him as “a talent to watch, with an abundance of ideas, a wit. unbridled and a daring, two-fisted sense of architecture. ” www.musicalon.com
Praised for its “superb ability to find the heart of whatever it plays, regardless of era, style or technical demand” (The International Review of Music), the Tesla Quartet brings refinement and prowess to the new repertoire. and established. Dubbed “technically superb” by The Strad, the Tesla Quartet has won first prizes in numerous international competitions, the most recent being the Second Prize as well as the Haydn Prize and the Canadian Commission Prize at the 12th International String Quartet Competition. from Banff. In 2018, the Tesla Quartet released their debut quartet album Haydn, Ravel and Stravinsky on the critically acclaimed Orchid Classics label. BBC Music Magazine gave the record a double 5-star rating and presented it as the “House’s Choice” for the month of December. Gramophone praised the quartet for its “rigor of concentration and refinement of detail”. Their second record on the Orchid Classics label, a collaboration with clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein with quintets by Mozart, Finzi, John Corigliano and Carolina Heredia, was released in October 2019.
Famous Latin Grammy Award winning percussionist, composer and arranger Samuel Torres was born in Bogota, Colombia. He was artistically nurtured in this bustling and culturally sophisticated metropolis where jazz and classical music share the stage with salsa and an endless variety of Colombian folk idioms. Torres’ first exposure to music came home, thanks to an extended family of musicians and access to a multitude of Colombian musical genres, from the infectious rhythms of cumbia and vallenato to styles that reflect a range of musical styles. African, indigenous and European influences, including porro, bambuco and pasillo. Having appeared in a number of award-winning and Grammy-nominated, Latin Grammy, and Emmy-nominated productions, Torres continues to cultivate a successful musical career that will undoubtedly have many milestones ahead.
The Brooklyn Music School (BMS) is a community school for the performing arts, founded in 1909 as the Brooklyn Music School Settlement. As a member of the Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District, BMS is a long-standing member of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts. Today, BMS is committed to serving the community by providing high quality music and dance lessons regardless of income, age, previous experience or career aspirations. Learn more at brooklynmusicschool.org.