Prepare to be transported to the Andes Mountains with the Apollo Chamber Players’s Latin Beats on July 3. A roster of international artists, including violin great Eddy Marcano and composer-guitarist Javier Farias, join the Houston chamber ensemble for this concert that also explores the music of Brazil, Cuba, and Venezuela.
The free program, which will also be streamed online, is an ambitious mix of traditional tunes and work commissioned by Apollo. “It’s basically our greatest hits of Latin America over the last four or five years,” Apollo Executive Director Matthew Detrick tells Houstonia with a laugh.
Farias, now based in Washington, D.C., says one of those newer works, his Andean Suite, was inspired by the mountain range that crosses much of South America. Originally composed as part of Apollo’s 20x2020 project, Andean Suite references South American folk music sounds and traditions. “This is an opportunity to introduce a bit more about what happens in South America's music,” he explains.
Several Houston-based artists will also be joining Apollo on stage, including percussionist Jesús Pacheco and Houston Ballet’s Karina González, who choreographed two pieces for the show—a program the native Venezuelan says she’s anxiously awaiting. “I’ve been wanting to collaborate with maestro Eddy Marcano,” she says, “so when I found out that they will be doing Suite Venezolana, I immediately knew that I wanted to dance a small pas de deux with the Dulce Añoranza waltz.”
But it’s not just any pas de deux. Gonzalez created one inspired by folk dancing. “I use quick, small steps, like folk dance but on pointe shoes,” she says. “Also, the use of the skirt was a part of the inspiration. I wanted to show the elegance of the classical ballet, with the softness of the waltz.”
The program also features a newly commissioned canvas by Brazilian-born artist Tony Paraná, which will provide a backdrop for the lively multicultural performances. Adds Apollo violinist Anabel Ramirez Detrick, “what you see on stage is a mosaic of Houston.”
July 3. Free. Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Dr. (live streaming also available). For more info and tickets at milleroutdoortheatre.com.