FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 3, 2007
Pacific Symphony to Premiere Catan's 'Caribbean Airs'
• College of the Canyons Music Instructor and Composer's Work to Have World Premiere at Symphony's American Composers Festival 2007
If Daniel Catan's prediction proves accurate, the typically staid and respectable music lovers attending the world premiere of his "Caribbean Airs" will find their hands and feet twitching rhythmically, perhaps uncontrollably. Such movement is perfectly acceptable, even welcome.
"Please do not stop them. I'll be more than happy if that happens," Catan quipped.
The acclaimed composer's latest work -- three movements using Cuban rhythms in perhaps the most difficult of mediums: the symphony orchestra -- will have its world premiere at the American Composers Festival 2007. Catan's is the only work commissioned by the annual festival, which will be held at the Orange County Performing Arts Center from April 15 to 28.
Catan, the first Mexican composer to have an opera produced in the U.S., is a music instructor at College of the Canyons. A self-professed devotee of Cuban music, he has spent several years researching the music he loves, and transferring that passion into an original symphony composition.
"Its rhythms and instrumentation have always fascinated me," Catan said of the native music originating from Cuba. "But after studying it in detail, as I now have, I've become an even greater admirer of the complexity and precision with which it is composed."
Other composers, including notable ones like Aaron Copland, have dabbled in Cuban styles, Catan acknowledged. "But these attempts were more like passing stars across a musical firmament that had moved off in another direction," he said.
Bringing such vivid sounds to the concert hall proved to be a challenge -- albeit a pleasurable one.
"For a start, it has put me back in touch with music I love," said Catan, whose earliest childhood memories are punctuated by the sounds of Cuban music.
"And then, as if that wasn't enough, it has taken me to clubs and dance halls on a regular basis in order to get those rhythms flowing naturally through my body as well as through my ears. What a treat. Who would have guessed that doing research could be so enjoyable?"
"Caribbean Airs" is cast in three movements. The soloists are three percussionists who are required to play what's written for them, as well as improvise at given moments. The two outer movements are fast and highly rhythmical, while the middle movement is more meditative and melodic, he said.
Catan's work will be presented alongside compositions by Arturo Marquez, Silvestre Revueltas, Manuel Ponce, Enrique Arturo Diemecke and Ana Lara. Starting one hour before curtain each night, Catan, Lara and Joseph Horowitz, the symphony's artistic director, will participate in a festival prelude.
Founded in 1978, the Pacific Symphony is the largest orchestra formed in this country in the last 30 years. It offers musical experiences ranging from the great orchestra masterworks to music from today's most prominent composers, highlighted by the annual American Composers Festival. The symphony's conductor is Carl St. Clair, who was instrumental in commissioning "Caribbean Airs."
"Carl St. Clair believes in my music, and I am extremely grateful for his support," Catan added.
The festival runs April 15 to 28; Catan's work will be featured during the final three days, 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 26 to 28. Discount tickets are available for students.
The festival will be held at the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa.
For information and to purchase tickets, call (714) 556-2787 or visit www.ocpac.org.