El Puerto Rico

Sep 15, 2021

(Left to right) Saúl Peñaloza (bomba drummer), Giovanni Pérez (flute), Elly Toyoda (violin), Eric Schultz (clarinet), Clare Monfredo (cello), Nathan Ben-Yehuda (pianist), Brenda Cepeda (dancer), Julian Gerstin (bomba drummer), José J. Peña-Aguayo (composer), Robert Rocheteau (percussion), Music Director Tianhui Ng

GIVING VOICE TO PUERTO RICAN COMPOSERS

El Puerto Rico 3: Identity Duets
Sunday, September 26 at 6 p.m. on NEPM 88.5

El Puerto Rico 3 Program Book

El Puerto Rico 4: Rich Port
Sunday, October 3 at 6 p.m. on NEPM 88.5

El Puerto Rico 4 Program Book

El Puerto Rico, which debuted in 2018, is the brainchild of Tianhui Ng (Music Director of the Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra and the Pioneer Valley Symphony) and Don Sanders (Executive Director of Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts). The project commissioned new pieces of chamber music from Puerto Rican composers, created The Victory Players — an ensemble of young virtuoso players from around the world — and brought all the forces to Holyoke for  a two-week residency of rehearsals, exchange, and education outreach, culminating in a concert at El Mercado.

El Puerto Rico has grown each year and NEPM has been happy to partner with the project.

COVID-19 eliminated the viability of an in-person residency for El Puerto Rico 3. Instead, composers were asked to create duets which the Victory Players recorded individually from their hometowns — and NEPM hosted a thrilling concert event on Zoom.

El Puerto Rico 4 takes the project to a new level. In June of this year, Tianhui Ng and the Victory Players traveled to GBH’s Fraser Performance Studio in Boston to record ten new compositions. Videos of all performances and interviews with the composers are available here:

"What My Mother Wrote" by Christian Quiñones




"Belén: Un Canto Sagrado a mis Ancestros" by Johanny Navarro




"Nadie Puede dar lo que no lo Tiene" by Armando Bayolo




“Washy” from Ne fú, ni fa: Los cuentos de siempre by Gabriel Bouche Caro




"Prints of Lost Breath" by José J. Peña Aguayo




"Transmutación Inerte" by Iván Enrique Rodriguez




"Canción Exaltada" by Tony Solitro




"Pitorro" by Omar Surillo



"Isla Verde" by Omar Surillo




"Island of Enchantment" by Liliya Ugay



 

THE VICTORY PLAYERS
Tiahhui Ng, Music Director
Nathan Ben-Yehuda: piano
Clare Monfredo: cello
Giovanni Perez:  flute
Robert Rocheteau: percussion
Eric Schultz:  clarinet
Elly Toyoda:  violin