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Paquito D’Rivera’s Dalí in the Tropics for French horn, jazz trio and orchestra debuts with the New Jersey Symphony and principal horn player Chris Komer in June.

Paquito D’Rivera has composed a new orchestral work for New Jersey Symphony and Xian Zhang, inspired by the artwork of Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí. Dalí in the Tropics for French horn, jazz trio, and orchestra will be premiered on June 11-12 by the orchestra, featuring principal horn player Chris Komer. The piece was commissioned as part of a larger four-movement work entitled Surreal Sketches, with each movement written by a different prominent jazz composer, based on the paintings of Dali: Paquito D’Rivera, Vivian Li, Gary Morgan, and Christian McBride.

D’Rivera—who embraces bridging the worlds of classical and Latin jazz—shares his thoughts about writing for a concerto for this instrument: “The French horn, a rather exotic instrument in the history of jazz music, has among its most illustrious practitioners, legendary musicians like Julius Watkins, Willy Ruff, David Amram, John Clark, and a few others, so I was so happy when the New Jersey Symphony commissioned me to write a piece for its principal hornist and great improviser Chris Komer.”

While New Jersey Symphony debuts the full orchestral version of Dalí in the Tropics on June 11, a chamber ensemble version of the piece premiered virtually in October 2020 with Chris Komer, alongside D’Rivera himself on B-flat clarinet, pianist Walter Gorra, bassist Dan Martinez, and percussionists Takafumi Nikaido and Pedro Sanjur. The video also featured illustrations by Cuban artist Omar Corrales, whose own aesthetic is inspired by Dalí’s paintings.

> Watch the video

D’Rivera comments on his inspiration for the piece: “Gorgeously illustrated by the painter Omar Corrales for this reduced preview of the original orchestral piece, the work contains elements of the Danzón and other Afro-Cuban rhythms, and is inspired by an imaginary, dreamy walk by the Catalan painter Salvador Dalí through the forest of my homeland.”

The world premiere of Dalí in the Tropics follows the April 7 premiere of D’Rivera’s Caribbean Berceuse for clarinet quartet and wind band, performed by the Barcelona Clarinet Players with the North Texas State Wind Symphony and conductor Eugene Migliaro Corporon.

Concert Information
Saturday, June 11 at 8pm ET
Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank
Sunday, June 12 at 3pm ET
New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark
Event info

New Jersey Symphony
Xian Zhang, conductor
Chris Komer, horn
Manuel Valera, piano
Ismail Lawal, drums
Diallo House, bass
Aaron Dworkin, narrator

DANIEL BERNARD ROUMAIN We Shall Not Be Moved: Symphonic Scenes and Samples (World Premiere)

VARIOUS Surreal Sketches for Horn, Jazz Trio and Orchestra (World Premiere)
VIVIAN LI “Galatea of the Spheres”
PAQUITO D’RIVERA “Dalí in the Tropics”
GARY MORGAN “The Metamorphosis of Narcissus”

GEORGE GERSHWIN An American in Paris

>  Further information on Work: Dali in the Tropics

Photo: Alberto Romeu

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