Mexican conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto leads the Orchestra of the Americas (OA) in a 2017 concert program inspired by the musical traditions of the Western Hemisphere performed at the Teatro del Lago in Frutillar, Chile. They are joined by the effervescent Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero for the mesmerizing melodies of Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major and the surging passions of her own "Latin Concerto". One of the world’s most remarkable youth ensembles, the OA brings together accomplished young musicians aged 18 to 30 from both North and South America to create one formidable orchestra.
The evening opened with Aaron Copland’s El Salón México: based on selected Mexican folk songs, the tone poem captures the thrilling atmosphere of a Mexican dance hall in the 1930s. Gabriela Montero then takes the stage for Ravel's Piano Concerto in G Major, a stunningly beautiful work heavily influenced by the jazz Ravel had encountered in 1928 while on a concert tour of the United States. Next comes Montero's own “Latin” Piano Concerto No. 1, which she explains “is, as is true of Latin American music, full of extremes. It is relentless, moving, spicy, stormy, delicate and powerful. The musical language is modern and at the same time interwoven with Latino rhythms such as mambo, salsa, bolero, and Venezuelan dances.” The musicians bring the evening to a close with "Tico-Tico no fubá" ("Sparrow in the Cornmeal"), an orchestral arrangement of the Brazilian choro song by the Brazilian musician and composer Zequinha de Abreu.