Christ Church Cathedral
Artists: Ensemble Constantinople; Federico Tarrazona, charango; Jonatan Alvarado, voice and guitar
This concert explores the juxtaposition of indigenous South American musical traditions with the ‘new’ repertoire introduced by the European colonizers in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. The two main sources used to explore this repertoire are The Trujillo Codex from Peru and the Codice Luz y Norte published in Madrid but written in Mexico. The charango and pan flutes featured in this concert are played by virtuoso Federico Tarazone from Peru. The charango is a small guitar with five double strings that looks like a Spanish bandurria and is one of the most popular Andean musical instruments. Its resonator, which is rounded, is made from the shell of an armadillo. It has many names and is also known as tatú, atatou, quirquincho, querú, cabasu, piche, mulita, toche, mataca. The Argentinian singer Jonatan Alvarado, specialist of South American repertoire whose passion is to revive the tradition of self-accompanied singing, will join the ensemble to recreate this colourful journey.
This concert is generously supported by Fran Watters & Paul Devine.
Constantinople is a musical ensemble that chose the journey—geographical certainly, but also historical, cultural and inner—as its cornerstone. It draws inspiration from all sources and aims for distant horizons. Inspired by the ancient city illuminating the East and West, Constantinople was founded in 1998 in Montreal by its artistic director, Kiya Tabassian.
Since its founding, the ensemble promotes the creation of new works incorporating musical elements of diverse musical traditions around the world, drawing from medieval manuscripts to a contemporary aesthetic, passing by Mediterranean Europe to Eastern traditions and New World Baroque. Underpinned by a spirit of research and creation, Constantinople has joined forces with leading international artists such as singers Marco Beasley, Françoise Atlan, Savina Yannatou and Suzie Le Blanc; the Mandinka griot Ablaye Cissoko; the Greek ensemble En Chordais, the Belgian duo Belem and the American group The Klezmatics; sarangi virtuoso Dhruba Ghosh, Syrian clarinettist and composer Kinan Azmeh, and Iranian kamancheh master Kayhan Kalhor.
Regularly invited to perform in international festivals and prestigious concert halls, such as the Salle Pleyel in Paris, the Berliner Philharmonie, the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music in Morocco, the Rencontres musicales de Conques in France, the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, the Cervantino Festival in Mexico, the Festival de Carthage in Tunisia, the Onassis Cultural Centre-Athens and the BOZAR in Brussels, Constantinople is acclaimed by the public, music professionals and critics alike. The ensemble has 19 albums to its credit on labels Analekta, Atma, World Village, Buda Musique, MaCase, Glossa, and Dreyer Gaido. Over the past fifteen years, Constantinople has created nearly 50 works and travelled to more than 240 cities in 54 countries.
Kiya Tabassian, dir.
Born in 1976 in Tehran, Iran. At age 14, Kiya Tabassian emigrated with his family to Quebec from Iran, bringing with him some initial musical training in Persian music and a fledgling musical career. Determined to become a musician and composer, he continued his self-education in Persian music, meeting frequently with Reza Gassemi and Kayhan Kalhor. At the same time, he studied composition at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal with Gilles Tremblay. In 1998, he co-founded Constantinople with the idea of developing an ensemble for musical creation that draws from the heritage of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, of Europe, and of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Serving as its artistic director, Kiya has developed close to 40 programs with his ensemble, which continues to be met with unparalleled acclaim by audiences around the world.
He has performed on stages throughout the world and collaborated on many eclectic projects as a composer, performer and improviser. These have included regular collaborations with Radio-Canada since 1996; participation in the international MediMuses project as a member of the group researching the history and repertoire of Mediterranean music and as a contributor on several publishing and recording initiatives from 2002 to 2005; musical collaborations with the Atlas Ensemble (Holland) and, as a tutor, with the Atlas Academy, on a dual project aimed at linking contemporary music with oral traditions, since 2009.
Numerous musical groups and institutions have called upon his talents as a composer, including the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and the European Broadcasting Union. He has also composed music for documentary and feature films, including Jabaroot and Voices of the Unheard.
Since the summer of 2017, he is Associate Artist at the prestigious Rencontres musicales de Conques festival (formerly the Conques, la Lumière du Roman music festival), where he presented many recent creations with Constantinople.
Kiya was a member of the Conseil des arts de Montréal for seven years, serving as chair of the music decision-making committee for three years, and he is now a Board member of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. He also received a mandate from the Conseil québécois de la musique to set up a committee that will examine the role of music from around the world within the context of performance music. His desire to be involved and engaged with the musical community and Quebec society led him, in 2017, to co-found the Centre des musiciens du monde in Montreal, for which he will serve as artistic director.
His artistic projects and creations have received the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Conseil des arts de Montréal for years.
Federico Tarazona, charango
Renowned for his exciting interpretation, extraordinary technique and musical expression, Federico Tarazona is considered one of the world’s finest Andean charango virtuosos, and one of the most important contemporary Peruvian composers working today.
He began his musical studies at the age of eight on the violin and piano with his father and sister respectively. Later, he pursued classical guitar with Ricardo Barreda and composition with Walter Casas and Edgar Valcarcel at the Lima Conservatory in Peru. He subsequently studied composition with Genady Belov at the Saint-Petersburg Conservatory in Russia, guitar with Sonja Prunnbauer under a KAAD scholarship at the Freiburg Musikhochschule in Germany, electro-acoustic music composition at the Bordeaux Conservatory in France, and a Masters Degree in composition at the Laval University in Québec City, Canada.
Equally at home in both classical and folkloric musical genres, Mr. Tarazona is an authority on traditional Peruvian charango styles and traditions. He has adapted techniques from his classical guitar studies and applied them to his “Hatun” 8 strings charango, allowing him to perform Latin-American and European works written for or transcribed from the vihuela, lute, guitar and violin.
Mr. Tarazona has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards for his contribution to Classical Music and to Peruvian Culture. In 2008, he was granted an honorary medal from the Peruvian Education Ministry for his distinguished work in the promotion and dissemination of art and culture. In 2011, he won the “Guitar Composition Prize Productions d’Oz” in Quebec, Canada. In 2013, he received the “International Composition Prize Casa de las Americas” in Havana, Cuba and an Honorable Mention for the “Ibero-American Composition Prize for Symphonic Orchestra, Ibermusicas”, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2014.
Jonatan Alvarado, voice, guitar
Jonatan Alvarado is an Argentinian singer, lutenist, director and researcher. He began his musical studies on the modern guitar at his hometown’s conservatory of Mercedes. He would go on to pursuing a Degree in Orchestral Conducting and Composition at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata, while also beginning private singing lessons in Buenos Aires. During his studies he founded his own baroque orchestra, with which he would go on to give the Argentinian premier of Bach’s John’s Passion on period instruments, while also performing several works by Charpentier and Scarlatti for the first time in South America. Parallel to this, he developed a successful career as a folk-singer, culminating with his performance at the Cosquin Festival with his group Dos en Trío.
Taking the decision to develop his skills as singer and performer of historical European repertories, he applied for a Bachelor in Early Music singing at the Amsterdam Conservatorium where he was accepted into the class of Xenia Meijer. While advancing in his singing studies he also explored the possibilities of period plucked instruments, taking lessons with the lutenist and theorbo player Fred Jacobs. The combination of singing and lute playing in historically informed performances would lead to a Master’s in self-accompanied singing, custom-created for his studies, resulting in a “Cum Laude” for his final examination recital.
During his time as a student he became the cofounder and co-director of the ensemble Seconda Prat!ca, with which he entered the EEEmerging platform, an initiative of the European Commission for Culture to support rising early music talent. The ensemble’s high level of performance has led to their releasing of the debut album “Nova Europa” in 2016 with the Ambronay label, which garnered a coup de coeur and became album of choice of France Musique.
He is currently working with Dr. Rebecca Stewart in developing vocal techniques for historical repertoires and connecting early music with oral practices such as the folklore of his own country. This research has led to the recording of his debut solo album ‘Pajarillos Fugitivos’ released by the label Ayros. It includes Spanish guitar songs found in non-Spanish sources, aiming to explore its possible connections and transformations within the realm of Latin-American traditional music and poetry.
With his ensemble and as a soloist he has sung and played in some of the most important festivals of his specialty including Ambronay, Sablé, Stockholm and Göttingen. He has collaborated with other musicians and directors such as Sigiswald Kuijken, Richard Egarr, Gabriel Garrido, Adrian van der Spoel and Eduardo Eguez.