Monday, June 18, 2018

“West winds”: Jamaicans to experience a Spanish Themed “West Side Story” at Embassy of Spain-hosted concerts in June


The Embassy of Spain in Kingston has organized two free concerts as part of its ongoing contribution to the promotion of music and the arts in Jamaica.

With the collaboration of The Spanish-Jamaican Foundation (SJF), Spanish engineering company TSK, responsible for building the 190MW powerplant in Old Harbour, and  Lasco Icool, the Embassy of Spain will host two events, dubbed West Winds - a musical experience based on ‘West Side Story’.

Sigmaproject-2015: Saxophonists: Josetxo Silguero (top left), Andres Gomis (top right), Angel Soria (bottom left) and Alberto Chaves

West Winds features performances from Spanish saxophone quartet, Sigma Project, and violinist Cecilia Bercovich and pays homage to the 100th anniversary of the birth of American composer Leonard Bernstein, known for his role in promoting arts with his television lectures on classical music.  The Embassy is especially grateful to the events’ co-sponsors whose support ensures that the free admission concerts can be accessed by the widest possible audience thereby expanding on Bernstein’s own passion for exposing the arts.

Cecilia Bercovich

‘West Side Story’, is one of the most memorable musicals and greatest love stories of all time – inspired by Shakespeare’s play ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Music for the West Side Story was composed by Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, and is widely regarded as one of the best ever.

The first of the two local staging of the concert will be held on Saturday June 23, at the Rose Hall Great House in Montego Bay at 6PM, and the second will be held at the UWI, Mona Chapel Kingston on Monday, June 25 at 7pm

Ambassador of Spain, Josep María Bosch, views the concerts as a cultural exchange between Spain and Jamaica. He is particularly enthused about sharing the experience with attendees from the west, where most of  the Spanish businesses and hotels are located. “We are excited to host one of the concerts in the beautiful location of Rose Hall, Great House, thanks to the collaboration of Michelle Rollins, a great supporter of the Arts”. We want to contribute to the cultural life in the area where our investors and most Spaniards reside, in order to get closer to the communities and its people”.

He also hopes the performances will resonate with the Jamaican audience, who may be familiar with the music and have a natural liking for the saxophone. However, he sounds a warning. “Wait for, and expect sounds you would never have thought saxophones could make”.  The quartet, Sigma Project, is known for its contemporary interpretation of the Saxophone, constantly searching for new sounds.

The four Spanish saxophonist Ángel Soria, Andrés Gomis, Alberto Chaves and Josetxo Silguero and lone female violinist Bercovich will also meet and share lessons with youth in Kingston and Montego Bay. Montego Bay Community College in St James will host the workshop for students in the western part of the island, while youngsters in Kingston and surrounding areas will gather at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.

SIGMA Project is more than a saxophone quartet; it is an essential vehicle for instrumental music in the 21st century. The quartet has performed at more than 150 concerts across the world. For her part, Bercovich is a multifaceted performer of violin and viola, an enthusiast about contemporary creation. She was Artist in Residence at the Banff Centre in Canada.

The upcoming concerts and workshops will take Ángel Soria to Jamaica for a third time. His last visit saw him perform at the Xamayca concert by Peter Ashbourne in 2016 with the Samuel Felsted Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica. The year prior, the Spanish-born educator hosted a classical music workshop at the Alpha Institute and the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica, as well as a Master Class on Contemporary music at Edna Manley College. This year, collaboration with Jamaican composer Peter Ashbourne is also expected to surprise the audience.

The musician, who has two Masters of Arts in musical performance and music education, believes that children who play musical instruments are likely to have higher self-esteem, confidence, discipline, concentration, and emotional intelligence.

The Embassy of Spain has seen over the years working with projects like Alpha Institute and The National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica how music can play a vital role in ‘keeping youth out of trouble’.