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The Latin American sound of Heitor Villa-Lobos will come alive 8 p.m. today at the Williams Center for the Arts as the Latin American Ensemble performs for the first time.

The concert is free and open to the public.

Ensemble director Jorge Torres, associate professor of music, says the program is intended to bring Latin American music to the Lafayette community.

“I hope this concert will generate some interest in Latin American music,” he says. “If there is sufficient interest, I would like the Lafayette Latin American Ensemble group to turn into a student ensemble.”

Torres says Villa-Lobos is Brazil’s greatest composer of art music in the 20th century. Most of his works have remained obscure, but the performance will present “a program of art songs by Villa-Lobos set in an instrumentation that reflects the composer’s earliest experiences as a young ensemble musician.” He adds that the “program lies somewhere between the realm of folk and art music, designations that Villa-Lobos himself sought to blur in his compositions.”

Torres’ research examines 17th century French lute performance, the Latin American bolero romántico, and primary sources for Latin American big band music. His publications have appeared in the Journal of the Lute Society of America, American Music, Notes, and Symposium. His article on the boleroromántico is included in the collection From Tejano to Tango.

The ensemble is comprised of vocalist Michelle Geoffrion-Vinci, associate professor and assistant head of of foreign languages and literatures; flutist Susan Charlton, flute instructor and director of the wind chamber ensembles; percussionist Larry Stockton, professor and head of music; and Torres on guitar. Guest musicians are cellist David Moulton and Todd Collins on mandolin.

Categorized in: Academic News