A Convergence of Musical Cultures: Spain, the Netherlands, and the Sephardim in the Old and New Worlds

Performed on Saturday, March 21, 2009
Also performed on Monday, March 30, 2009

Both concerts will celebrate 17th-century Spanish, Dutch and Sephardic music in Spain, in the Netherlands and in their New World colonies. They will explore the musical relationships between Old and New Worlds, Dutch, Spanish and Sephardic cultures, and Catholic, Protestant and Jewish religions.

Conductor-composer Lynn Gumert, Music and Artistic Director of both the HPRS and Zorzal, will conduct. Zorzal Music Ensemble features vocal quartet, recorders, guitar, harpsichord, viola da gamba and Latin American percussion. HPRS performs with recorders, violins, cello and harpsichord.

Both concerts will feature the world premiere of a new composition by Dr. Lynn Gumert, especially commissioned by the Highland Park Recorder Society in celebration of its 22nd Anniversary. The new composition will draw on texts about immigration, exile and displacement, taken from three different sources: 16th century Nahuatl poetry about the desolation of war and defeat; an 18th century Galician poem by Rosalia de Castro about the emptiness of lands – and hearts – left behind by those who must emigrate to find work; and a contemporary Mexican Sephardic poem about Jewish memories of exile by UNESCO Ambassador Homero Aridjis.

The Highland Park Recorder Society celebrates its 22nd anniversary this year. March 2009 will mark the 17th annual international celebration of Play-the-Recorder Month. Recorder players and chapters of the American Recorder Society have observed Play-the-Recorder Month since 1993 by finding creative ways to raise the profile of the recorder in their own communities.

In recognition of its artistic caliber and its service to the community, the Highland Park Recorder Society has been the recipient, for more than 16 years, of competitive grants from the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. The Society has just been awarded such a grant for 2009.