University of Pittsburgh
August 30, 2004

Something Old, Something New

Pitt's Center for Latin American Studies begins its 40th anniversary celebration Sept. 10 with a free public concert of Brazilian classical and popular music
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—It's not often that classical and popular music of any nationality are performed in tandem, but one might say that a performance of this kind is befitting of a milestone anniversary—a time reserved for celebrating the old and the new. Pitt's Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) in the University Center for International Studies begins its 40th anniversary celebration with a free public concert that mixes classical and popular Brazilian songs.

The Sept. 10 concert, titled BRAZIL: From Villa-Lobos to Jobim, combines Quartet No. 4 by famed Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos with a range of Brazilian popular songs by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes, Chico Buarque, Carlos Lyra, and Jayme Silva. Cuarteto Latinoamericano—a classical string quartet featuring violinists Saul and Aron Bitran, cellist Alvaro Bitran, and violist Javier Montiel—joins soprano Lilly Abreu for the 8 p.m. concert, taking place in the auditorium of the Frick Fine Arts Building, Schenley Drive, Oakland.

For the concert, Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University commissioned three composers to make arrangements for the string quartet and soprano of popular Brazilian songs. Two of the three composers are from Brazil—flutist and saxophonist David Ganc and pianist Leandro Braga—and one, jazz guitarist Eric Susoeff, is from Pittsburgh. These new arrangements were designed to act as a musical bridge between Rio de Janeiro, "Cidade Maravilhosa," and the "Steel City." The concert is funded by gifts from Reference Metals Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração, and The Pittsburgh Foundation.

"The goal of this concert is to present Brazilian music that is not only enjoyable but also deepens listeners' appreciation of Brazilian arts and promotes mutual cultural understanding through the arts," said John Frechione, associate director for research and development in CLAS.

Grammy-nominated Cuarteto Latinoamericano is in its 22nd season, performing a repertoire of classical and contemporary music and specializing in the works of composers from the Americas. The award-winning quartet, native to Mexico, has been in residence at CMU since 1987 and, since 1995, at the Centro Nacional de Artes in Mexico City, where it is credited with fostering the emergence of a new generation of string players.

Abreu has performed as a recitalist and soloist with orchestras in France, Spain, Portugal, Argentina, and the United States, including the Pittsburgh Opera. She also is an accomplished popular music artist. Abreu lent her voice to Disney characters in the Brazilian versions of Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, and Bambi, among others.

For more information on this event or others marking CLAS' 40th-anniversary celebration, call 412-648-7391.