Can American-born musicians learn to play your music? Paquito D’Rivera

Can American-born musicians learn to play your music? Paquito D’Rivera

Paquito D’Rivera
Photo by Mary Kent

Cuban-born composer and saxophonist
Based in New Jersey

In the last few years, an increasing number of artists with the most diverse backgrounds have been attracted towards musical currents coming from South of the Rio Grande and mainly towards the music of Cuba, Argentina and Brazil, the three streams that form, along with North American Jazz what I would call the musical golden circle of the New World. Names such as Piazzolla, Lecuona, Villa Lobos and Ginastera are performed each time with more frequency in concerts alongside Schuman, Ravel or Stravinsky; and behind the most recognizable names in the Latin American Music world, comes an avalanche of much younger composers some of which we should mention, such as the Venezuelans Aldemaro Romero and Antonio Lauro; the Cubans Leo Brouwer and Oriente Lopez; the Argentineans Carlos Franzetti and Pablo Ziegler; the Mexican Samuel Zyman; and the Puerto Rican Roberto Sierra.

As long as it is approached with the required seriousness and discipline, this tendency towards the rich musical art of Latin America, with its intricate rhythms and exotic melodic and harmonic turns, should be interpreted as a positive signal of open mindedness and renovation of the well-known and often over exposed traditional symphonic, operatic and chamber repertoire. I have always maintained the thesis that you do not need to be an Austrian to be able to interpret Mozart, if not more (or not less!) than talent, dedication and respect for this style, or for any other musical genre which you may pretend to attain. Latin American music is no exception.

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