The University of Wisconsin symphony orchestra partnered with world-renowned brass instrumentalist Pacho Flores to present a concert March 12 at the Hamel Music Center.
Through an abundance of style, variety and personality, they paid tribute to the classics and to the boldness of Latin sound and innovation.
This is the second collaboration in a new effort by the Wisconsin Union Theater to pair the UW symphony with accomplished artists, like Flores, that have found their footing in their respective industries.
The first was a March 2020 performance with pianist Wu Han back. While the Covid-19 pandemic derailed plans, it was important to the Wisconsin Union Theater to reintroduce such a partnership, Wisconsin Union Theater Director Elizabeth Snodgrass said.
“We’re very excited about this second collaboration with UW Symphony Orchestra,” Snodgrass said.
For the opening piece of the concert, Flores took a back seat to the student performers as they played Albert Ginastera’s “Four Dances,” which set the mood for a spirited evening. This piece perfectly embodied the university’s Director of Orchestral Activities and Symphony Conductor Oriol Sans whose passionate instructions introduced a physical presence to the music.
Ginastera’s “Four Dances” express four different perspectives of life in the Argentine country — the writer’s native land. For instance, while the first song entitled, “The Land Workers,” is an energetic rollercoaster, the second, named “The Wheat Dance,” is a lyrical interlude highlighted by a soul-soothing flute solo towards its commencement.
Ginastera’s piece as performed by the UW symphony showcased the great talents of UW’s student musicians, almost making one forget about the show’s big-name headliner. A perfect opening act.
But as Pacho Flores, took the stage, the show quickly entered into full swing. For his first song, Flores partnered with the UW Symphony for a cover of Arturo Marquez’s “Concierto De Otonio”— a piece he debuted back in 2018.
The work’s three-song format illuminated Flores’ world-class skills on the trumpet while persistently accentuating the symphony which ranges from wind instruments to percussion and everything in between.
Pacho Flores grew up learning to play the trumpet as part of the Orchestra for Youth and Children in Venezuela, a program that produced many musical prodigies. His unique ability to incorporate his own energy, flair and colorful style into both classical and contemporary is perhaps what he is best known for.
It is what helped him claim first prize at numerous international competitions, which introduced his name to the industry. As a soloist, Flores has performed alongside a myriad of world-class groups such as the Orchestral Ensemble of Paris, NHK Orchestra of Japan and the Kiev Philharmonic. Additionally, Flores has performed recitals in several of the world’s premier concert venues like New York’s Carnegie Hall and Pleyel Hall in Paris.
While not touring the world, Flores works as a Founding Director of the Latin-American Trumpet Academy in Venezuela where he discovers and develops future generations of Latin-American brass instrumentalists.
For his swan song, Flores took over the reins with his solo performances of his original piece entitled, “Morocota.” In his original recordings, Flores’ trumpet playing is accompanied by an acoustic guitar, but in this performance, Flores’ inimitable style and show-stopping range were plenty, giving the slow-moving piece an imaginative narrative and capping off Flores’ night with a bang.
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Following a brief intermission, the UW symphony closed the night with a lengthy yet mesmerizing performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 entitled “Jupiter.” The four-legged work established the group’s ability to play at a variety of paces, supplying each which its own deserving amount of detail and attentiveness.
The final song, “Molto Allegro” brought the house down with an abrupt, passionate conclusion to a night of musical excellence, and perhaps more importantly, a night showcasing both established and rising talents in music.
The UW Symphony’s partnership with Pacho Flores is just one of many of the scheduled artistic talents on tap as part of the Wisconsin Union Theater’s concert series for 2022.
For more information and tickets for future events, visit the Wisconsin Union Theater website and social media pages.