Encounters Conference 2006

By Catherine Szilagyi, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing

Last month at UC Riverside, the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences’ Music Department presented its second annual Encuentros/Encounters, featuring a themed concert program along with an all-day conference. The Encounter’s theme this year was “Music & Politics in the Andes” and presented a series of speakers as well as performers over the two-day-long event.

The Encounter’s concert series showcased the award-winning Kronos Quartet, which is composed of violinists David Harrington and John Sherba, Hank Dutt on viola, and cellist Jeffrey Ziegler. The group performed at the University Theater on the first day of the Encounter, giving the West Coast premiere of Inkarrí, a work that they commissioned from Peruvian American composer Gabriela Frank. Internationally renowned for its provocative performances, Kronos has released more than 40 recordings of “extraordinary breadth and innovation,” after a lengthy career that has earned them many accolades including a Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance and the Musicians of the Year Award from Musical America. On the second evening, Peruvian music performers Manuelcha Prado and Carlos Falconi presented a concert of testimonial music from the Ayacucho region, an area devastated by political violence in the 1980s and 1990s.

The Encounter’s one-day conference explored the rich and complex relationships between traditional/popular music and the often fractious realm of contemporary politics in the Andean region. The conference series took place on the second day of the Encounter and featured over a dozen leading scholars from the United States, Britain, and South America. In addition to this, UCR filmmaker Ann Kaneko presented a documentary screening of her film “Against the Grain: And Artist’s Survival Guide to Peru.”

Encuentros/Encounters is organized by the Music Department’s new Center for Iberian and Latin American Music and began last year as an annual celebration of the Iberian and Latin American musical heritage, through the presentation of original research and high-quality performance in a particular area of interest. The first Encounter focused on music in the time of Goya and Goya’s impact on the music of Enrique Granados a century later. Detailed information about Encounters 2005 and 2006 can be found at music.ucr.edu/encounters. The proceedings of all conferences will be published in the Center’s online journal Diagonal (www.cilam.ucr.edu/diagonal).

Forthcoming Encounters will focus on Mexican folk music and its transmission across borders (2007), music of the Philippines in celebration of 110 years of independence (2008), contemporary music in Brazil (2009), and music under the Franco dictatorship in Spain (2010). Later Encounters will explore the music of colonial Mexico and the California missions, tango, and flamenco.


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