Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Artist Bio: Gabriela Lena Frank

The Vermont Symphony Orchestra is pleased to be playing the work of Gabriela Lena Frank, a young, contemporary composer. After hearing her piece, Elegia Andina, music director Jaime Laredo was impressed with the flute and percussion sections in particular and thought it would be a perfect fit for the musicians of the VSO.

For more information on Gabriela Lena Frank and her work:

Elegía Andina
Gabriela Lena Frank (1972-      )

In this work, written in 2000, Gabriela Lena Frank draws upon the culture and music of her parents’ lives and her own experiences traveling through South America.  Like composer/musicologists before her (the prime examples being Kodaly and Bartok), she collects music and culture from indigenous peoples and applies Western theoretical principles to create new worlds of sound.  The composer writes:  “Elegía Andina (Andean Elegy) is dedicated to my older brother, Marcos.  As children of a multicultural marriage (our father being Lithuanian-Jewish and our mother Chinese-Peruvian-Spanish), our early days were filled with Oriental stir-fry cuisine and Andean nursery songs, and frequent visits from our New York-bred Jewish cousins.  As a young piano student, my repertoire included not only my own compositions that carried overtones of Peruvian folk music, but also rags of Scott Joplin and minuets by the sons of Bach.  It is probably inevitable then that as a composer and pianist today, I continue to thrive on multiculturalism.  Elegía Andina is one of my first written-down compositions to explore what it means to be of several ethnic persuasions, of several minds.  It uses stylistic elements of Peruvian arca/ira zampoña panpipes (double-row panpipes, each row with its own tuning) to paint an elegiac picture of my questions.”