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By Steven Lieberman
Observer Reporter 

From Bach to Bolivia

 

November 23, 2023

Mathew Imaging

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Last night at Zipper Hall, Camerata Pacifica debuted their new Baroque Series curated by 18th century master baroque flautist Emi Ferguson titled "From Bach to Bolivia."

Joining her were highly accomplished musicians: Katie Hyun (violin), Coleman Itzkoff (cello), and Mikael Darmanie (harpsichord).

The repertoire for the inaugural concert included five major Bach chamber works: Prelude and Fugue; Trio Sonata No. 5; Prelude; Trio Sonata No. 2; and Toccata and Fugue. They were set against six anonymous chamber works composed during the same era in Bolivia, which were rediscovered in the past 20 years in the Chiquitos Music Archives housed in a Bolivian Jesuit mission church and compiled by Dr. Piotr Nawrot. Also on the program was La Folia by Domenico Zipoli, an Italian composer who completed his musical training in Europe before moving in 1717 to Cordoba in Spanish Colonial America (now Argentina), where he served as music director for the local Jesuit church.

Ferguson mentioned how grateful and fortunate that she felt for being the ensemble that was granted the Bolivian compositions that have never been heard before. And the quartet creatively delivered each piece to the delight of the audience members. Ferguson also made mention that during some of the Bolivian works, the musicians were engaging improvisation, going with the flow of the music in the moment. It was fascinating how Itzkoff and Darmanie alchemized together.

Camerata Pacifica usually premieres more contemporary compositions in their concerts so this new Baroque Series is a breath of fresh air not only for the musicians but also the audience.

Every piece they played took the audience on a magical journey, the chemistry and synergy between the musicians was evident. Hyun, a virtuoso of the violin; Itzkoff and his keen sense of technique; Darmanie, a gifted cross-genre pianist; and Ferguson, an acclaimed flautist who was awarded a 2023 Avery Fisher Career Grant.

The stage lighting was also a special key variable in the presentation of the music.

At the end of the program, there was a feeling of delight and appreciation that Camerata Pacifica made the wise decision to create their Baroque Series.

 

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