When the New Horizons Symphony Orchestra began rehearsing in August for this weekend’s concert, the musicians could not have imagined the concert would be in memory of their conductor, Dr. Marianna Gabbi. The beloved conductor, who had been a pillar of the Las Cruces classical music scene for four decades, died on September 11 at the age of 90. She had conducted NHSO since 2012.
Conductor Jorge Martinez-Rios, who had already been enlisted by Gabbi to conduct half of the concert, will conduct the entire program. The concert features acclaimed guitarist Javier Calderon, who was originally supposed to play with the orchestra last February, but had to cancel when he was hospitalized. Calderon will perform one of the most famous guitar concertos of all time, the “Concierto de Aranjuez,” by Joaquin Rodrigo. The program also includes music by Aaron Copland ("An Outdoor Overture"), Leonard Bernstein (a medley of "West Side Story" tunes) and "Postludio" by Joaquin Gutierrez Heras. As a special tribute to Gabbi, violinist Daniel Vega-Albela will perform the last movement of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5, which he performed with Gabbi and the NHSO last May; it was to be Gabbi’s last concert.
“I’m excited about this concert,” said Martinez-Rios in this interview with Intermezzo host Leora Zeitlin at the KRWG studios (full disclosure: Zeitlin also plays violin in the NHSO). “I’m excited about honoring the legacy that Marianna has left us,” noting her years of teaching, her role as conductor of the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra from 1975-1999, and her work with the NHSO. “I know many of her former students will be here for the concert, and that says a lot about the kind of person she was.” The interview includes a clip from an interview with Gabbi on KRWG from last February.
The free concert takes place on Sunday, November 11 at 3 p.m. at the Atkinson Recital Hall in the NMSU Music Building. Following the concert, there will be a reception, and a screening of a 30-minute film about Gabbi made by her brother, Jack Paone.
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