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Paquito D'Rivera

 b.4 June 1948, Havana, CubaPhoto credit: Alberto Romeu

Biography


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Short Biography:
In addition to Paquito D’Rivera’s extraordinary performing career as an instrumentalist, he has rapidly gained a dynamic reputation as a composer. His piece, Ladies in White, was presented in a ballet titled Come with Me by the José Limón Dance Company in June 2012 in New York’s Central Park. His compositions have earned him honors such as a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition, a 2007–2008 appointment as Composer-In-Residence at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and a Latin GRAMMY for “Best Classical Contemporary Composition” in 2011 for his Panamericana Suite.

The recent premiere of D’Rivera’s Cape Cod Concerto with the Silicon Valley Symphony was lauded as “sassy and brash, a big work of imagination and humor that arrives like a birthday cake with exploding candles” by the San Jose Mercury News. His works often reveal his widespread and eclectic musical interests, ranging from Afro-Cuban rhythms and melodies, including influences encountered in his many travels, and back to his classical origins.

D’Rivera’s music is published exclusively by Boosey & Hawkes.

— August 2012

This biography can be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with the following credit:
Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes.

Long Biography:
In addition to his extraordinary performing career as an instrumentalist, Paquito D'Rivera has rapidly gained a reputation as a dynamic composer. Boosey and Hawkes is the exclusive publisher of D'Rivera’s compositions. Recognition of his significant compositional skills came in 2007 with the award of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition, and the 2007-2008 appointment as Composer-In-Residence at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. His works often reveal his widespread and eclectic musical interests, ranging from Afro-Cuban rhythms and melodies, including influences encountered in his many travels, and back to his classical origins.

D’Rivera’s most recent work, Ladies in White, was presented in a ballet titled Come with Me by the José Limón Dance Company in June 2012 in New York’s Central Park. His clarinet sonata, The Cape Cod Files was commissioned by the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival in 2009, and given its world premiere performance by Co-Artistic Directors Jon Manasse (clarinet) and Jon Nakamatsu (piano). A commercial recording of the work is available on Harmonia Mundi. D’Rivera has also composed The Cape Cod Concerto, premiered by the Silicon Valley Symphony featuring Jon Manasse in May 2011.

Conversations with Cachao, a concerto for double bass and clarinet/saxophone pays tribute to Cuba’s legendary bass player and received its premiere in June 2007 at Caramoor. Inspiration for another recent composition "Three Poems from the New World" came from the writing of Fortunato Villarrondo, José Martí, and Dana Gioia. The three poems explore themes of societal struggles regarding racial intolerance, hate, injustice, and the appreciation of friendship, love, and life.

Another recent commission came about through ensemble Opus 21's interest in building bridges between audiences of different backgrounds. Dedicated to the works and art music of the 21st century, Opus 21 commissioned “The Chaser” and premiered it in May 2006. In 2005, Imani Winds, a woodwind quintet committed to the exploration of diverse world music traditions and the broadening of the traditional wind quintet literature, commissioned “Kites.” This work personifies freedom and the vision that liberty and independence have a foundation through culture and music. Just as a kite may fly freely, its path continues to be bound to the earth--its foundation, by the string.

In 2002, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Rotterdam Philharmonic, commissioned Paquito D'Rivera to write a wind concerto entitled Gran Danzón (The Bel Air Concerto) for acclaimed flutist Marina Piccinini. The premiere was conducted by Leonard Slatkin at the Kennedy Center. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Piccinini presented the concerto at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in April 2006.

"…best that night was Paquito D’Rivera’s, Gran Danzón (The Bel Air Concerto) in its world premiere. A spiky and imaginatively colored piece of Latin American orchestral writing…"
— Joe Banno, Washington Post, February 11, 2002

Other premieres include commissioned works for the Turtle Island String Quartet, The Ying Quartet, and the International Double Reed Society’s 30th Anniversary in Banff, Canada. A 2002 Library of Congress commission resulted in Fiddle Dreams, a jazz fantasy for violin and piano written for Regina Carter. Jazz at Lincoln Center commissioned D'Rivera's Panamericana Suite for their As of Now series in 2000. It was premiered and recorded by National Public Radio.

"…The centerpiece of the concert was La Jicotea a newly commissioned work composed by D’Rivera for the Turtle Island String Quartet. Well-crafted … the piece simmered with bits and pieces of Latin rhythms as the brief, but attractive, principal theme arched through flowing contrapuntal passages. As a showcase work, it will serve the TISQ well in future appearances. The most appealing segments of the program however were those in which D’Rivera performed with the quartet…the combination of clarinet and string quartet usually referred to as a Clarinet Quintet…"
— Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times, 2002

In 1999, the Kammer Orchester Schloss Werneck presented a series titled Paquito & Mozart, featuring his chamber compositions, along with those of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It culminated in Paquito’s Adagio, which features elements of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major.

"…The orchestra as well as the soloist executed the work with perfect intonation and precise interpretation. At no time came the impression that two different musical worlds were colliding. The concert was an offering of excellence by virtue of the soloist and the orchestra, led by Ulf Klautsenitzer. With a focused tone and intonation, he effortlessly graced through the various registers unwavering…"
— Peter Linhart, Main Echo Aschaffenburg Kultur, Montag, June 1999

His commission for the New Jersey Chamber Music Society, Rivers, A Poetic Suite…, premiered in 1998 for the organization's 25th Anniversary Opening Concert. In 1994, the Aspen Wind Quintet commissioned and premiered his suite Aires Tropicales at New York’s Frick Collection. Often recorded, Aires is now the mainstay of many important wind ensembles including the New York Woodwind Quintet. Additionally, D’Rivera has written and arranged many chamber works which have become the standard repertoire of international ensembles including the Caracas Clarinet Quartet, Cuarteto Latinoamericano, and Quinteto D’Elas. In 1989, the Montreal-based Gerald Danovich Saxophone Quartet, commissioned and then recorded his acclaimed “New York Suite.”

— August 2012

This biography can be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with the following credit:
Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes.

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