ASO Presents Masterworks II: A Taste of Spain


Press Release – For Immediate Release

October 17, 2023

The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra (ASO), a 501c3, nonprofit organization and the largest and oldest performing arts institution in Anne Arundel County, brings Spanish guitarist Pepe Romero to Annapolis for a performance of Rodrigo’s Fantasia para un Gentilhombre (Fantasia for a Gentleman) November 3rd and 4th at 7:30 PM at Maryland Hall. Masterworks II, entitled “A Taste of Spain” in honor of Spanish connections peppered throughout the program, also features the Italian Rossini, the Mexican Revueltas, and the French Ravel. The audiences can expect a performance filled with Mediterranean flair, passionate music, and momentos sin respiración (moments of breathlessness). For notes on the instrumentation and music presented in this program, please click here.

Artistic Director and Conductor, Spanish-born José-Luis Novo, was thoughtful of how to use the Masterworks II program to present the concept of musical creativity. He was inspired by the genius of Rossini, Rodrigo, Revueltas, and Ravel, whose music looks into the soul of Spain from many different angles. “Rossini’s Barber of Seville exploits the comical aspects of Figaro’s personality in the celebrated Spanish city. Joaquín Rodrigo turns to medieval Spain to enchant us with his Fantasia for a Gentlemen. Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas glorifies one of Spanish’s greatest poets in his Homage to Federico García Lorca, and Ravel was inspired by the many stories about Spain his mother told him when he was still a child, which helped him nurture the vivid imagination necessary to translate another classic of storytelling as Mother Goose into music,” Novo said.

World-famous guitarist Pepe Romero brings Joaquín Rodrigo’s Fantasia para un Gentilhombre (Fantasia for a Gentleman) to life. Fantasia presents four movements based on six Spanish dances written in the late 1600s by Gaspar Sanz specifically for Spanish guitar. Rodrigo, a composer and virtuoso pianist, lost his sight at age three due to diphtheria. This never prevented him from composing vivid and colorful music. The dance-filled Fantasia owes its success not just to the fact that Sanz’s music resonates with audiences in 2023 as well as it did in 1697, but also to the inclusion of other traditional Baroque forms, which many composers up to Rodrigo, who wrote in 1954, commonly disregarded. The Spanish dances of the villano, the españoleta and the tarantella are featured, in what has been called a “vividly depicted portrayal of musical sunshine”.  

Pepe Romero will join the ASO for Fantasia. Romero is a living legend in the world of classical music. Honored by kings, heads of state, and major institutions, Romero’s most significant contribution to music is his affinity for connecting the richness and beauty of classical guitar to every audience. “The most vivid representation of Spain’s soul will be Pepe Romero’s playing”, Novo said. “Pepe’s guitar is the voice of Spain itself carrying the history of its people and their music for centuries. During the July 2022 Spain international tour Pepe and the ASO discovered the incredible synergy we had performing together, and having him return to play with us another famous work by Rodrigo, a composer that he knew personally, is going to be nothing less than a musical fiesta.”

It can be argued that if not for Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas, there may be no JLo or Marc Anthony. In fact, music with Latino rhythms and riffs might not exist or at least be appreciated by audiences at all. Revueltas’ works juxtapose folk, popular, and Indigenous musical elements that reflect his nationalism and respect for Central and South American cultural traditions. In this way, his creativity and artistry, as well as his great success, brought the melodies, tunes, and rifts of Latin America to audiences around the world.  Homenaje a Federico García Lorca (Homage to Federico García Lorca), which premiered in Madrid in 1937, is widely regarded as one of Revueltas’ most compelling works. It combines a highly personal and modernist approach juxtaposing folk, popular, and Indigenous musical elements. Revueltas used musical elements of folk, popular, and Indigenous music in his homage to the Spanish Civil War martyr, Federico García Lorca. The music premiered in 1937, and was composed around the same time as other Mexican masters like Manual Ponce, who also incorporated popular traditional songs and Mexican folklore into his works.

Heitor Villa-Lobos, the brilliant Brazilian composer, cellist and guitarist, met Ponce in Paris in the 1920s: “It gave me great joy to learn that in that distant part of my continent there was another artist who was arming himself with the resources of the folklore of his people in the struggle for the future musical independence of his country.”

We move from Spain to southern France in a performance of Ravel’s Ma mère l’Oye (Mother Goose),  a beautiful musical rendering of childhood fairy tales brought to life by Ravel, whose compositions were strongly influenced by his mother’s Basque-Spanish heritage. In 1911,  Ravel re-wrote this piece for an extended ballet. This evening the ASO presents the complete ballet, including the original five-piece suite for orchestra. 

Tickets & Community Discounts

Tickets are available at AnnapolisSymphony.org or by calling the Box Office at 410-263-0907. Student tickets are available for just $10 for up to 2 tickets per transaction, using code STUDENT10 at checkout. Active duty and retired military personnel, law enforcement, and first responders can use code TEMPO to receive up to 4 tickets per transaction at 25% off, not including Parterre or Orchestra AA seats. 

About Season 62

Season 62 marks the second Masterworks Series season returning to live concerts at Maryland Hall and Music Center at Strathmore since the pandemic, and follows a hugely successful international tour to Spain in July, 2022. The highest level of professionalism and excellence are evident in musical programming choices made by Maestro Novo for Season 62. Carlos Simon, Anna Clyne, Boris Pigovat, Narong Prangcharoen, and Nicky Sohn are stunning and virtuosic examples of contemporary composers assuming the mantle of engaging the full power of music to speak to culture, art, and society.  Guest artists include internationally renowned  musicians: pianist Gabriela Montero, cellist Steven Isserlis, classical guitarist Pepe Romero, violinist Elissa Lee Koljonen, pianist Awadagin Pratt, and violist Peter Minkler. Classical pieces by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Respighi, Elgar & Schumann contribute to a full and vibrant season of symphonic music. 

About the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra

The mission of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra is to inspire, educate, and enrich lives near and far by creating extraordinary musical experiences with uncompromising artistic excellence. As we celebrate our 62nd year in Annapolis, we are more intent than ever on bringing More Music, To More Places, For More People.

The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra offers subscription packages, both for in-person and virtual viewing, as well as tickets for single in-person programs. For more information or to purchase tickets or subscriptions, visit AnnapolisSymphony.org or contact the box office at 410-263-0907.

Media Contact: Diana Love, Director of Marketing and Communications, DLove@annapolissymphony.org – 410-267-3631