This preview has been provided by Mallarmé Chamber Players.

The Mallarmé Chamber Players, in partnership with Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (ERUUF), will present the world premiere of a new work by American-Peruvian composer and Latin-Grammy winner Gabriela Lena Frank. The premiere will be presented in a concert of music by Latin American composers on Sunday, May 1, 2011, 3:00 pm at the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (ERUUF), 4907 Garrett Road in Durham.

The piece, Rapsodia Andina, scored for viola, cello, flute and harp, was commissioned by a consortium of seven chamber music ensembles from around the country*; Mallarmé is the consortium organizer and lead organization. Ms. Frank will discuss elements of the work and the creative process at a post-concert panel discussion about the new work. The balance of the program will be music by Latin American composers Astor Piazzolla (Argentina), Heitor Villa-Lobos and Paul Kampela (Brazil), and Paul Desenne (Venezuela).

 “Rapsodia Andina is inspired by the glimpses of ancient Peru contained in dusty yet colorful textiles, cracked ceramics and carved bones,” said Frank. “Not being an archeological expert, merely one who is fascinated to claim heritage from this small Andean nation, my imagination is stirred by the fragments of humanity that speak so poignantly to me. In this work, I’ve captured my musings in seven short movements scored for flute, harp, viola and cello.”

In addition to conducting her composition, Frank will also present workshops with area music students of all ages during her time in Durham. “We are very excited to have Ms. Frank in Durham for the premiere and surrounding activities,” said Suzanne Rousso, artistic director for Mallarmé. “She’ll be working with advanced music students at the North Carolina School for Science and Math, beginning strings students at KidZNotes, and Duke University composition students during her residency,” added Rousso.


    Astor Piazzolla – Tangos for flute and harp

    Heitor Villa-Lobos – Quintet for flute, violin, viola, cello and harp

    Paul Desenne – Pizziquitiplas for three cellos

                            – Pajaro-Guaracha for four cellos

    Gabriela Lena Frank – Khazn’s Recitative: Elu D’vorim for solo violin

    Arthur Kampela – Gestures for solo violin

    Gabriela Lena Frank – Rapsodia Andina* WORLD PREMIERE


ARTISTS:    Jacqueline Carrasco, violin; Jonathan Bagg, viola; Nancy Green, Brooks Whitehouse, Brian Carter cello; Laura Gilbert, flute; Jacquelyn Bartlett, harp; Gabriela Frank, composer

The program’s title, Pernambuco!, is also the name of the special wood used for making string-instrument bows. Found mostly in Brazil, pernambuco wood is now on the endangered species list. The title serves to increase awareness about the efforts of the IPCI (International Pernambuco Conservation Initiative) a coalition of bow makers who are attempting to reverse the decline of pernambuco, and in particular, to promote its sustainable use so that bow makers can continue to craft their products responsibly. This initiative involves research on distribution, variation, reproductive biology and genetics of the pernambuco species, together with an extensive replanting program which aims to plant 500,000 new trees over five years, both in farm and forest locations.

Read more at Suite101: Conservation of Pau-Brasil – Wood for Violin Bows.


The Mallarmé Chamber Players is a flexible ensemble of professional musicians based in Durham, North Carolina, whose mission is to enrich the lives of their community through outstanding chamber music. The ensemble distinguishes itself by its innovative educational programs, its commitment to creative collaboration with other organizations, its creation of significant new work and its dedication to serve a diverse population.


Identity has always been at the center of Gabriela Lena Frank’s music. Born in Berkeley, California, to a mother of mixed Peruvian/Chinese ancestry and a father of Lithuanian/Jewish descent, Frank explores her multicultural heritage most ardently through her compositions. Inspired by the works of Bela Bartók and Alberto Ginastera, Frank is something of a musical anthropologist. She has travelled extensively throughout South America and her pieces reflect and refract her studies of Latin-American folklore, incorporating poetry, mythology, and native musical styles into a western classical framework that is uniquely her own. She writes challenging idiomatic parts for solo instrumentalists, vocalists, chamber ensembles, and orchestras.

A 2010 United States Artists Walker Fellow and a 2009 recipient of a prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship to assist in research and artistic creation, Frank’s upcoming premieres include Rapsodia Andina (flute, harp, viola, cello) for a large consortium of commissioners galvanized by the Mallarmé Chamber Players; a new piano 4 hands work for the ZOFO duet and a large scale cantata for the inimitable San Francisco Girl’s Chorus.

A frequent collaborator with artists in other disciplines, Frank is developing a number of projects with the Pulitzer Prize-winning Cuban playwright Nilo Cruz. Other collaborations include Hynagogia (2008) for Concertante; New Andean Songs(2007) for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella new music series; Quijotadas (2007) by the Brentano String Quartet; Jalapeño Blues (2006) for Chanticleer based on the Spanglish poetry of renowned Chicano poet Trinidad Sánchez; La Llorona: Tone Poem for Viola and Orchestra (2007) for the Houston Symphony with principal Wayne Brooks under the baton of Hans Graf; Ritmos Anchinos (2006) for the Silk Road Project; Cinco Danzas de Chambi (2006) for viola and piano commissioned by the Aspen Summer Music Festival; Canto de Harawi (2006) for the Da Camera Society of Houston; Manchay Tiempo (2005) for the Seattle Symphony under the baton of Jun Märkl; Inkarrí (2005) for the Kronos Quartet; Illapa: Tone Poem for Flute and Orchestra (2004) for flautist Leone Buyse and the Shepherd Symphony Orchestra; and Three Latin-American Dances (2004) for the Utah Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Keith Lockhart.

Three Latin-American Dances was subsequently recorded by the Utah Symphony for the Reference Recording Label and has been hailed as “dazzling” and exhibiting “wit, brilliance, atmosphere, and poetry (Classics Today), and “a rare treasure of modern orchestral music” (Hong Kong/China Hi Fi Review). Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout(2001), performed by its commissioner, the Chiara String Quartet, was released in early 2007 on the New Voice Singles label. In reference to this recording, the American Record Guide called Gabriela “a remarkable composer.” Recent recordings include the 2009 Latin Grammy Award winning Inca Dances with guitarist Manuel Barrueco and the Cuarteto Latinoamericano released on the Tonar Music Label; and several chamber/orchestral works for the Filarmonika label as part of the groundbreaking Caminos del Inka project under the directorship of conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya. In 2011, Naxos released an all Gabriela Lena Frank disc entitled Hilos which includes that work as well as Danza de los Saqsampillos, Adagio para Amantaní, and Quijotadas. The disc was praised by thusly: “A wonderful disc of inventive, fresh, characterful music, plain and simple.”

Frank attended Rice University in Houston, Texas, where she earned both a BA (1994) and MA (1996). She studied composition with Paul Cooper, Ellsworth Milburn, and Sam Jones, and piano with Jeanne Kierman Fischer. Frank credits Fischer with introducing her to the music of Ginastera, Bartók, and other composers who utilized folk elements in their work. At the University of Michigan, from which she received a DMA in composition in 2001, Frank studied composition with William Albright, William Bolcom, Leslie Bassett, and Michael Daugherty, and piano with Logan Skelton.


* Consortium Commission by the Mallarmé Chamber Players (Durham, NC), The Azure Ensemble (NY, NY), the Colorado Chamber Players (Denver, CO), Cornish College for the Arts (Seattle, WA), Fulcrum Point New Music Project (Chicago, IL), Monadnock Music (New Hampshire) and Pacific Serenades (Los Angeles, CA).