Juilliard’s Focus! Festival To Emphasize Little-Known Latin American Composers

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Titled “Our Southern Neighbors: The Music of Latin America,” the Juilliard School’s annual Focus! Festival will highlight the Latin sound. Longtime administrator and conductor of the free festival, Joel Sachs, aims to emphasize the stylistic diversity of composers whose sounds originate from that region, and those sounds that have been carried around the world by the composers and musicians who’ve set out to start lives outside of their homelands.

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Mr. Sachs explains the origin of the show in the news release for the event saying, “As my knowledge of the music of Latin America has increased in the ensuing years, so has the number of composers. A Latin American Focus! festival seemed badly needed, even if six concerts could only scratch the surface. I wanted to emphasize composers still living in their home countries, but could not exclude the Latin America diaspora – composers who went abroad for education, opportunity, and in many cases, to escape the persecution and violence of the 20th century military regimes.”

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The respected New Juilliard Ensemble will be conducted by Mr. Sachs starting on Friday, Jan. 20. The program will include compositions from Cuban composer Alejandro García Caturla, the “Mística No. 5” (1976) by Bolivian composer Alberto Villalpando, and the American premiere of Mexican composer Alejandro Castaños’ “Détours,” written in 2015, among two world premieres.

The festival will be broken up into six free shows that celebrate Latin America. Get your tickets here.