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Mar 17, 2014

Arquetopia's Music Programs: Working Hard!

Traditional Mexican Wind Ensemble
Traditional Mexican Wind Ensemble

This year has started off with a loud bang at Arquetopia (in the music room)! In February, an intimate recital was staged in Puebla in which students performed a wide variety of orchestral miniatures specially arranged for the group to feature students of various levels and their director/instructor, Christopher Davis.

The students in our programs have been working hard on various concepts of music including theory, history, solfege, and, of course, performance. Each student was assigned an in-depth research project that involved analysis of several cornerstone works in the repertoire prior to choosing the pieces that student would be practicing and performing this year in concert. For some of the students, the emphasis is on performing solos with orchestra, while for others, it is on learning how to perform in small chamber ensembles. An integral part of this curriculum is the study of opera and the human voice, and how singing concepts dramatically affect a wind-instrument musician’s abilities and instincts regarding sound production.

Another facet of the students’ spring studies was a series of museum trips to learn about the invention and development of historic musical instruments in pre-Hispanic cultures of Mexico.

Arquetopia continues its additional focus on the sponsorship of one particular young student, Ángel Montellano of Oaxaca, Mexico, who made his public debut as a soloist last year as part of Ensemble Arquetopia’s summer concert series. This year, Ángel is working on an especially challenging curriculum of varied repertoire from which he will be choosing in order to expand his presence as an up-and-coming artist in different regions of the country.

From generous donations from our Global Giving project supporters, Arquetopia was able to obtain more critically needed equipment for students such as mouthpieces, reeds, instrument repair and maintenance kits, and orchestral music stands. Numerous educational resources were also recently purchased for the program including method books, sheet music and scores for the music library, music notation books, and music learning software for the students’ use. Currently we are having several instruments professionally refurbished and are always accepting donations of additional instruments (new and used) to build our programs. As well as the permanent building we are hoping to obtain this year, we hope to eventually purchase a digital piano for the classroom, to be used both for teaching complicated theory and harmony concepts and for performances.

As we push through the windy spring and head into southern Mexico’s seven-month monsoon season, we thank all of you for your generosity and continued support. Arquetopia’s music programs will continue to provide quality music education –and valuable life lessons– to marginalized but talented youth in the vibrant kaleidoscope that is this developing nation.

Angel Montellano in Clarinet Lesson
Angel Montellano in Clarinet Lesson
Historic Flute Carved from Human Bone (Mexico)
Historic Flute Carved from Human Bone (Mexico)
Master Flautist Andrik Arias in Rehearsal
Master Flautist Andrik Arias in Rehearsal
Director Christopher Davis in Recital
Director Christopher Davis in Recital
Our Neighborhood: Oaxaca, Mexico Historic District
Our Neighborhood: Oaxaca, Mexico Historic District

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Nov 5, 2013

ARQUETOPIA'S MUSIC PROGRAMS: SUCCESS!

Concert Teaser Poster (Oaxaca)
Concert Teaser Poster (Oaxaca)

Arquetopia’s music programs have made solid strides in progress since our last report, intertwining growing educational programs for young musicians with important professional opportunities.  This past summer, Arquetopia sponsored two very successful chamber music concerts in two of the most prominent venues in Puebla and Oaxaca, Mexico.

 

The first of the two summer chamber music concerts, held July 28, was performed to a full house at the Capilla del Arte, a beautiful art museum and concert space of the Universidad de las Americas (University of the Americas) in Puebla’s downtown Historic District.  The concert showcased the new Ensamble Arquetopia, a new “collective” of international professional musicians dedicated to performing chamber music from the Renaissance to the present.  The musicians featured on this concert were American clarinetist and Artistic Director Christopher Davis; Mexican clarinetist Citlalli Rosas, principal clarinetist of the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de Puebla (State Symphony Orchestra of Puebla); and special guest artist Lisa Maresch, Japanese-American concert pianist and prominent music educator now based in San Francisco California, who was Artist-in-Residence at Arquetopia for four weeks of collaboration during July and August.  The ensemble performed memorable works by Mendelssohn and Baermann, followed by Maresch who took the stage with a valiant solo program of piano works consisting of Liszt, Baley, and Scriabin.

 

The second summer chamber music concert of Ensamble Arquetopia, held August 11, was performed to a full audience in the spectacular cloister of the Exconvento de Santo Domingo, a magnificent former monastery in Oaxaca’s Historic District.  This longer concert featured Davis and Maresch; Mexican flautist Andrik Arias; and thirteen-year-old clarinet prodigy Ángel Montellano, also from Mexico.  Maresch performed a demanding solo recital of piano music consisting of Liszt, Baley, and Scriabin, and the ensemble performed difficult works by Saint-Saëns, Poulenc, Mendelssohn, and Baermann, receiving a standing ovation from the large audience and several offers for future concert engagements.  Highlighting the concert was young clarinetist Montellano’s formal public debut as soloist; he was particularly well-received by the emotionally charged audience.  The concert received much coverage by the local press.

 

Currently, classes are back in session and Arquetopia's educational music programs are back in full swing with regular intensive lessons and rehearsals.  The rapidly growing Ensamble Arquetopia is now planning for future workshops and concerts to be performed in Puebla, Mexico City, and the United States (exact locations to be determined).  These concerts will again feature Davis and Montellano on clarinet as well as several international musicians, students and professionals alike, on various instruments.  Arquetopia will also soon unveil a new scholarship opportunity for a deserving young musician.  This scholarship will provide the opportunity to participate in a three-week educational music residency at both locations of Arquetopia in southern Mexico.  More information to come!

 

From deep within our hearts, all of us at Arquetopia thank you for your continued support.  We look forward to keeping you informed about our upcoming activities and progress.  We wish you a happy autumn and a memorable holiday season.

Maresch Rehearsal (Puebla)
Maresch Rehearsal (Puebla)
Maresch, Rosas, Davis Post-Concert Bows (Puebla)
Maresch, Rosas, Davis Post-Concert Bows (Puebla)
Arias, Maresch Rehearsal (Oaxaca)
Arias, Maresch Rehearsal (Oaxaca)
Montellano, Davis, and Maresch in Concert (Oaxaca)
Montellano, Davis, and Maresch in Concert (Oaxaca)
Ensamble Arquetopia Post-Concert Bows (Oaxaca)
Ensamble Arquetopia Post-Concert Bows (Oaxaca)
Jul 1, 2013

Arquetopia's Music Programs: Off and Running!

Angel Montellano and Chris Davis in recital
Angel Montellano and Chris Davis in recital

We’re excited to report that Arquetopia’s educational music programs for youth have been solidly growing!  This past spring, Arquetopia introduced its music programs to an audience of young clarinet students from all over Oaxaca, Mexico. The performance was a chance for Christopher Davis, Arquetopia’s Co-Executive Director and Director of Music Programs, to showcase his own skills as well as the skills of his star student, a thirteen-year-old clarinet virtuoso from Oaxaca named Ángel Montellano.  Ángel began studying clarinet with Chris at Arquetopia Oaxaca in July of 2012 and fast became the rising star of the studio, rivaling the artistry of university-level clarinetists of the USA.  Previously Ángel was self-taught and served as principal clarinet of the Orquesta Esperanza Azteca (Aztec Hope Orchestra), the largest youth orchestra in the area.  The two of them performed works by Mendelssohn to a packed room in Oaxaca’s main university’s Escuela de Bellas Artes (School of Fine Arts) which is housed in the Exconvento de San Jose, a majestic former Catholic convent from the 1500′s.  Afterward, Chris held an open discussion about the launching of Arquetopia’s music education and performance programs and the scholarship program that is now available for all participants.

 

Arquetopia’s music activities continue this summer with the highly anticipated arrival of Lisa Maresch, a tremendous Japanese-American concert pianist and prominent music educator based in Los Angeles, California, who will be Artist-in-Residence at Arquetopia for four weeks.  During her special residency in Puebla and Oaxaca, Lisa will participate in musical collaborations with young students in Arquetopia’s programs as well as with Arquetopia's adult professionals (see below); she will also perform solo piano recitals for the public of both communities.

 

Upcoming this summer are two key concerts sponsored by Arquetopia, the first one in July at the Capilla del Arte, a beautiful art museum and concert space of the Universidad de las Americas (University of the Americas) in Puebla’s downtown Historic District; and the other in August at the Exconvento de Santo Domingo, another magnificent former convent in Oaxaca’s Historic District.  These concerts will showcase the new Ensamble Arquetopia, a new “collective” of international musicians dedicated to performing chamber music from the Renaissance to the present.  As each concert consists of different configurations of musicians from this “collective” of both adult professional and outstanding youth musicians, from piano and flute to string quartet with clarinet, this ensemble is always evolving from concert to concert.  For these summer concerts, the musicians featured are American clarinetist and Artistic Director Christopher Davis; violinist Jonathan Avila and clarinetist Citlalli Rosas, both of whom are members of the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de Puebla (State Symphony Orchestra of Puebla); youth clarinetist Ángel Montellano of Oaxaca; and special guest artist Lisa Maresch, pianist of Japan/USA.  The August concert in Oaxaca will be Ángel’s formal public debut as soloist.

 

Thank you profusely for your past and continued support.  We look forward to keeping you updated on the exciting activities we have planned for the upcoming months.  To be able to create and maintain a quality program, with important opportunities for talented and dedicated young musicians in one of the poorest parts of the world, is truly a miracle for which we are grateful.

Students and teacher in class at Arquetopia Oaxaca
Students and teacher in class at Arquetopia Oaxaca
Special Guest Artist-in-Residence, Lisa Maresch
Special Guest Artist-in-Residence, Lisa Maresch
Exconvento de Santo Domingo, our concert venue
Exconvento de Santo Domingo, our concert venue

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Project Leader

Christopher Davis

Puebla, Puebla Mexico

Where is this project located?

Map of Support Music Scholarships for Mexican Youths