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Camerata Del Sol presents Black History Month concerts in El Paso and Las Cruces

Pianist Alejandro Barrañón and violinist Daniel Vega-Albela
Leora Zeitlin
Pianist Alejandro Barrañón and violinist Daniel Vega-Albela

This weekend, Camerata Del Sol, the regional chamber ensemble, will present two Black History Month concerts showcasing music by Florence Price, Margaret Bonds (who studied with Price), contemporary composer Jessie Montgomery, and jazz composer Francisco Mora.

Daniel Vega-Albela, executive director of Camerata del Sol, said in this interview with Intermezzo host Leora Zeitlin, that Black History “simply is part of our history. And classical musicians need to embrace that aspect of the culture of classical music in the United States, particularly when it comes to such wonderful composers we will be performing.”

You can hear about all of these composers and the pieces that will be performed in this interview, which also includes Alejandro Barrañón, one of Mexico’s leading pianists. Barrañón will join Camerata for the Piano Quintet in A Minor by Florence Price, and perform solo the short work, “Troubled Water,” by Margaret Bonds. Speaking of Florence Price, he said, “She was a fantastic composer. There’s this dialogue always between American folk music, the spiritual music, and also the late Romantic tradition. She had a very personal voice.”

Camerata will present the local premieres for most of the works. “It’s so exciting to be playing music nobody has heard here,” Vega-Albela said, noting that it is part of the ensemble’s mission to “bring repertoire that is not performed as regularly.”

The concerts are Friday, February 2 at 7:30 p.m. at Christ Temple Apostolic Church in El Paso, and Saturday, February 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the Atkinson Recital Hall on the NMSU campus in Las Cruces.

Musical clips in this interview come from Florence Price’s Violin Concerto No. 2, performed by Rachel Barton Pine with Jonathan Heyward conducting the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (Cedille #214), and Margaret Bonds’ “Troubled Water,” performed by Althea Waites (Cambria Records #1097).