Leo Brouwer: “My goal is not to transcend, but to be the best musician I can be”
- Submitted by: lena campos
- 09 / 11 / 2012
A perfect marriage of intelligent music…That is how it has been promoted the 4th Leo Brouwer Chamber Music Festival, to be held from October 3rd-13th gathering renowned Cuban and international artists.
This festival has it all. The public will be able to enjoy live concerts of different music genres such as tango, Spanish, American, flamenco, and son.
At least 145 Cuban and foreign artists will participate; namely, Niurka González, Ernan Lopez-Nussa, Sonantas Habaneras, Liuba María Hevia, Las Hermanas Labèque, Edin Karamazov and B3: Brouwer Trio.
This festival will pay tribute to outstanding artists and institutions like Igor Stravinsky, Dulce María Loynaz, Umberto Eco, Compay Segundo, Philip Glass and Eusebio Leal, as well as the National Lyric Theater, Radio Encyclopedia, the National School of Arts, and the dance theater company Retazos.
Two pieces of Cuban master Leo Brouwer will be performed within the program: Sonata para archilaúd and Sonata para bandurria.
Brouwer referred to some concerts the public should not miss; for example, French´s sisters Katia and Marielle Labèque. They are one of the most renowned contemporary piano duos. Both have recorded and performed most of the works for two pianos in instrumental, chamber, and concert genres.
The last day of performances will be dedicated to the 105th anniversary of the author of Chan Chan, and the recital will include world premieres, and the piece "Chacona", composed by Brouwer to honor Compay, said Isabel Hernandez, director and producer of the event.
Besides the concerts, there will be a photo exhibition at the headquarters of La Jiribilla and a film series at the Infanta Movie Theater because Leo Brouwer has been very close to cinema during his lifetime.
Another festival activity is the burning of the Tarascan, a ritual from the colonial period, associated with the Corpus Christi processions. In the words of the organizers, this is a great show for the crowd. It is a carnival night, a true expression of street art.
With an invitation to attend the festival, Leo Brouwer revealed us some details.
"The event has been labeled by many as bizarre. We are not interested in stars, but in the artists´ repertoire. When we say tango, we are referring to Astor Piazzolla —we are commemorating the 20th anniversary of his death—, but we will not perform his work. In fact, people will listen to tangos anyone has ever listened to before. Liuba will sing some and others will be performed by Osvaldo Doimeadiós. He is an excellent actor. In my opinion, he is possibly the best living comedian in Cuba”.
Leo Brouwer agreed to answer some questions exclusively for Cubasi:
You have highlighted the presence of Sisters Labèque at the festival...
Yes, I have. We have urged pianists to come to the festival. Those who will be on stage are great musicians in the world, and they are also our friends. That is why they come here, friendship. We could not afford the costs of the duo, which will premiere in Cuba the "West Side Story" by Leonard Bernstein. It will be an amazing show, like others in the program.
Other great musicians like Marco Lo Russo are coming. He is one of the greatest virtuosos in Europe with the large accordion, and Pedro Chamorro, the most famous Spanish bandurrist of the 20th century. The Brouwer trio…I do not name it (laughs). Perhaps they like my music. They must be crazy.
Summing up, we are privileged to having relevant foreign and relatively young Cuban musicians here to do their best.
You mentioned that the repertoire is what matters to you, and it has to do with the phrase of the festival “a perfect marriage of intelligent music”. What cannot miss intelligent music?
First of all, we must listen to it. Since the emergence of television, image has taken the place of sound. The media fascinate and it is logical the emergence of such a new and magical world. However, it has its pros and cons.
The abandonment of cultural forms is among the disadvantages. This is a worrying issue in our country. But I will not talk about it because we are celebrating the beginning of our festival, which bring happiness to us.
You said that you do not compose pretty music. Nonetheless, your work is admired everywhere ...
Thank you very much. I would not know how to call this music then. It is simply a need I have to write. I do say I know what style and history are. My goal is not to transcend, but to be the best musician I can be. I insert myself in the Asian and African cultures, essence of Cuban culture.
This festival will be closely linked to cinema. You are closed to cinema as well. Is Leo Brouwer doing something nowadays related to cinema?
No I am not. Quality of cinema in the world is unofficial. There are not many quality film companies. The Sundance Film Festival and the Festival of Poor Cinema in Gibara are perhaps the exceptions.
I am not interested in the official book. Generally speaking, clichés vanish quickly. Sometimes they last one year, but it happens because there is nothing else. And people start to find and rescue the values.
Are you waiting for a change to compose again for the screen?
I do not know. Cuban television suffers from a problem: lack of culture.