UC Davis Symphony Orchestra: “Brazil & Jazz”

The symphony orchestra is photographed from above. They sit on stage at Jackson Hall with a piano in front and no conductor
Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center 

with Evandro Matté, guest conductor

There will be a pre-concert talk at 6:30 pm with UC Davis Professors, moderated by Professor of Music Christian Baldini, who is the Barbara K. Jackson Chair in Orchestral Conducting and the Artistic Director and Conductor of the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra.

Leopoldo Bernucci 
Distinguished Professor of Spanish and the Russell F. and Jean H. Fiddyment Chair in Latin American Studies

Juan Diego Díaz
Associate Professor of Music and Director of the UC Davis Hemispheric Institute on the Americas

All three composers whose works are featured on this program bravely incorporated new aspects of music to the concert hall: George Gershwin brought jazz, Alberto Nepomuceno brought the beauty of the Portuguese language, and Nepomuceno’s student Heitor Villa-Lobos brought Brazilian ‘choro’ music into the fold. This concert features Sacramento’s own Natsuki Fukasawa as the Gershwin piano soloist and is guest conducted by the Brazilian Evandro Matté.


Alberto Nepomuceno: Batuque from Série Brasileira

Trinity College Professor of Music and Ethnomusicology Eric A. Gaim writes that Nepomuceno’s Batuque uses “diverse themes from Brazilian folklore, including the song ‘Sapo Jururu’ from the Northeastern Bumba meu boi (a dramatic processional dance that celebrates the death and resurrection of a bull) and the batuque (a Central African dance of Bantu origin).” Batuque evokes Samba-Carnival in an orchestral setting.

George Gershwin: Concerto in F
with Natsuki Fukasawa, piano

The orchestra leader Walter Damrosch heard Rhapsody in Blue and the very next day asked Gershwin to write what became his piano concerto, simply called the Concerto in F. Gershwin poured hours of uninterrupted writing time into it for nearly three months, orchestrating the concerto himself (unlike the Rhapsody). The concerto again uses influences from jazz, but goes deeper into what was then being called “An Experiment in Modern Music.”

Heitor Villa-Lobos: Chôros No. 6

In Heitor Villa-Lobos’s sixth of ten Chôros, he used not only the full orchestra for the first time but also a series of Brazilian percussion instruments. Among them are wooden tambi and tambu instruments, a friction drum called the cuica, and a roncador, which is essentially a lion’s roar. The piece celebrates Brazilian choro music—one of Brazil’s earliest musical traditions.

About the Artists

Steinway Artist Natsuki Fukasawa’s music career has taken her throughout the United States as well as Europe, Scandinavia, Israel, Australia, Brazil, Japan, and China, performing at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center and Copenhagen’s Tivoli Concert Hall. Fukasawa has won many accolades and international prizes, including rave reviews in Strad and Fanfare magazines, and Best Chamber Music Recording of the Year from the Danish Music Awards.

Fukasawa’s performance highlights include a tour of Italy performing Gershwin’s Concerto in F as well as Beethoven’s Third and Fourth Piano Concertos, Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto, Dohnanyi’s Variations on a Nursery Song, Mozart’s A-Major Concerto, K. 488, Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto, and Ravel’s Concerto in G with orchestras in California. She is the pianist for the soundtrack of the recently released film We Had to Go – Remembering Internment, and three compact discs, including a live solo recording, Year in Prague, one with violinist Igor Veligan titled Voices from Eastern Europe and another with bassoonist Scott Pool titled Vocalise. Most recently she was featured in the documentary film by La Casa Films and Arts titled 36 Views of Mount Fuji.

Evandro Matté is distinguished as a multifaceted artist. He is artistic director of the Porto Alegre Symphony Orchestra (OSPA), the SESC’s International Music Festival in Pelotas, the Theatro São Pedro Orchestra, and the Zaffari Community Concerts. For his cultural contribution to the development of French arts in Brazil, in 2019 he was made a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture. An innovative leader, Matté conducts orchestras and numerous social projects with a special mission to elevate the music and musicians of Brazil. He is frequently invited to collaborate as a guest conductor, and has led orchestras in Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia, China, Czech Republic, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and the United States.

$12 Students and Children, $24 Adults (Reserved Seats)

Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, Davis, CA

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