CSO performs Spanish Flamenco Festival

COLUMBUS -- In a concert inspired by adventure and Spanish exoticism, the Columbus Symphony will perform the Spanish Flamenco Festival at the newly renovated Palace Theatre on March 1 and 2.

The auditorium of the 1926 historic venue received a six-month, $2.5 million facelift, and was reopened to the public in November 2018. Guest conducted by John Axelrod, musical director of the Royal Seville Symphony Orchestra, the program will feature local flamenco star Griset Damas and the Flamenco Company of Columbus. The full program includes Turina’s Danzas fantasticas, Falla’s La Vida Breve: Danse Espagnole No. 1, and concludes with the enchanting, rhythmic vitality of Dvořák’s richly melodic New World Symphony (Symphony No. 9). 

The Columbus Symphony presents the Spanish Flamenco Festival: From Seville to the New World at the Palace Theatre (34 W. Broad St.) on Friday and Saturday, March 1 and 2, at 8pm. Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased in-person at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), online at www.columbussymphony.com, or by phone at (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000. The CAPA Ticket Center will also be open two hours prior to each performance.

Prelude – Patrons are invited to attend a 30-minute, pre-concert discussion with John Axelrod and Ohio Dominican University Professor of English Jeremy Glazier.

Postlude – Directly following the performance, patrons may enjoy a flamenco demonstration by featured dancer Griset Damas and a sangria tasting. 

About guest conductor John Axelrod

With an extraordinarily diverse repertoire, innovative programming and charismatic performance style, John Axelrod is widely recognized as one of today's leading conductors and is sought after by orchestras throughout the world. Axelrod became artistic and musical director of the Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla (ROSS) in 2014, and his contract has been unanimously extended through the 2019-20 season. In 2017, he was also appointed the general director of ROSS, a unique position in the orchestra's history. Other positions include principal guest conductor of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano “Giuseppe” Verdi (2001-17), music director of the l'Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire (2009-13), music director and chief conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and Theater (2004-09), and music director of "Hollywood in Vienna" with the ORF Vienna Radio Orchestra (2009-11).

About featured dance artist Griset Damas

Born in Havana, Griset Damas began a ballet career at the age of eight with Escuela Alejo Carpentier and then in the Escuela Nacional de Arte before being selected by the Ballet Español de Cuba in a new career as a flamenco and classical Spanish dancer. In 2014, during a vacation to the US, Damas was invited by Columbus-based Flamenco del Corazon to teach a flamenco workshop. Damas decided to stay and began teaching regular flamenco and ballet classes. She was hired by Powell Dance Academy as a ballet and pointe teacher and invited to teach intensive flamenco courses by the Dublin Dance Center and Gymnastics and BalletMet. 

About Flamenco Company of Columbus

Created by Griset Damas in 2015, Flamenco Company of Columbus is the only group performing flamenco music and dance in the state of Ohio. Composed of guitarist Karl Wohlwend, percussionist Michael Yonchak, vocalist Maria Dolores Ramirez, and dancer Griset Damas, the group is dedicated to the study and development of this world-renowned genre, which in 2010, was added to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). www.uwilldance.com

About composer Joaquín Turina Pérez (1882–1949)

Turina was a Spanish composer of classical music. Much of his work shows the influence of traditional Andalusian music, and often conveys a feeling of rapture or exaltation. His Danzas fantásticas (Fantasy Dances or Fantastic Dances) was inspired by the novel La orgía by José Mas, and quotations from the novel were printed on the score at the start of each dance. The work was originally written for piano solo in August 1919. Turina then orchestrated the work between September 15-December 30, 1919. The orchestral version was first heard on February 13, 1920, in the Teatro Price in Madrid with the Orquesta Filarmonica de Madrid. The composer himself first presented the piano solo version on June 15, 1920, at the Málaga Sociedad Filarmonica.

About composer Manuel de Falla y Matheu (1876–1946)

Composer Falla was one of Spain's most important musicians of the first half of the 20th century. His image appeared on Spain's 1970 100-pesetas banknote. His La vida breve (Spanish Life is Short or The Brief Life) is an opera in two acts and four scenes written between August 1904 and March 1905, but not produced until 1913. The first performance was given (in a French translation) at the Casino Municipal in Nice on April1, 1913. Paris and Madrid performances followed, later in 1913 and in 1914 respectively. Debussy influenced Falla to transform it from the number opera it was at its Nice premiere to an opera with a more continuous musical texture and more mature orchestration. This revision was first heard at the Paris premiere at the Opéra-Comique in December 1913, and is the standard version.

About composer Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904)

Czech composer Antonín Dvořák’s Romantic-era nationalist style frequently employed rhythms and other aspects of the folk music of Moravia and his native Bohemia in his work. His Symphony No. 9, "From the New World" (popularly known as the New World Symphony), was composed in 1893 while he was the director of the National Conservatory of Music of America (1892-95). It is by far his most popular symphony, and one of the most popular of all symphonies. In 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong took a recording of the New World Symphony on the Apollo 11 mission for the first moon landing.

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