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Minnesota Public Radio to present Chanticleer at the Fitzgerald Theater for a world premiere—Gabriela Lena Frank’s Jalapeño Blues—on May 23 at 7:30 p.m.

Saint Paul Sunday commission explores culture and social justice with featured text of Chicano poet Trinidad Sánchez

May 8, 2007

What: Minnesota Public Radio presents Chanticleer, "America’s favorite choral ensemble" (The New Yorker), performing the world premiere of Gabriela Lena's Jalapeño Blues and the music of Vaughan Williams, Stockhausen and a selection of "Folk Songs from the Pacific Rim."

When: Wednesday, May 23, 2007, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Minnesota Public Radio’s Fitzgerald Theater, 10 E Exchange St, St. Paul

Tickets: $35, $30 and $25; discounts are available for Minnesota Public Radio members. Contact the Fitzgerald Theater box office, 651-290-1221, or visit www.fitzgeraldtheater.org

Minnesota Public Radio presents Chanticleer in a performance at the Fitzgerald Theater on Friday, May 23, 7:30 p.m., featuring the world premiere of Jalapeño Blues by composer Gabriela Lena Frank and text by Chicano poet Trinidad Sánchez, Jr. The concert will also include pieces from Palestrina, Finzi, Vaughan Williams, Stockhausen and a selection of "Folk Songs from the Pacific Rim."

Hosting the evening will be Bill McGlaughlin of American Public Media's Saint Paul Sunday, which will welcome Chanticleer into MPR's Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser Studio the following day, May 24, to record an episode for future broadcast. Jalapeño Blues is a special Saint Paul Sunday commission in honor of its 25th anniversary.

About the world premiere of Jalapeño Blues

Jalapeño Blues, written for the Chanticleer vocal ensemble and commissioned by Saint Paul Sunday, draws on the words of renowned Chicano poet, Trinidad Sánchez, Jr. (1943–2006). "Trino" was the ninth of ten children and spent 27 years as a Jesuit brother. After he left the order, he dedicated his life to prison ministry and human rights issues, especially those pertaining to the Latino and Latin American people.

"In March 2005, Trino sent me the preliminary manuscript of his forthcoming volume of poems entitled Jalapeño Blues," said Frank. "I was at once taken with the lyricism, passion and immediacy of his words."

Tragically, Trino passed away in July 2006. Both composer Gabriela Lena Frank and Regina Chávez y Sánchez, the widow of Trinidad Sánchez, Jr., will be in attendance for the performance.

In honor of its 25th anniversary in 2006, Saint Paul Sunday commissioned Jalapeño Blues in an effort to revive radio's long-neglected role as co-creator—as well as broadcaster—of new music. Its premieres include works by acclaimed American composers Aaron Jay Kernis, Kenneth Frazelle and Edgar Meyer, as well as the esteemed British composer Nicholas Maw.

About the artists

A recent addition to publisher G. Schirmer's prestigious roster of artists, Gabriela Lena Frank has been hailed as representing "the next generation of American composers." Her work has been elected to Chamber Music America's list of "Top 101 Great American Ensemble Works" and incorporates Latin American mythology, art, poetry and folk music into western classical forms, reflecting her Peruvian-Jewish heritage.

Her compositions exhibit "honesty and genius" (Springfield Union-News) and "unself-conscious craft and mastery" (Washington Post). Several CD recordings of Frank's solo, chamber, vocal and orchestral compositions are currently in production with major labels and artists. She has been featured and recognized by a number of organizations, including ASCAP, the National Endowment for the Arts, National Public Radio, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Composers Forum and many more.

Born in Berkeley, CA in 1972, Gabriela holds degrees from Rice University and a doctorate (2001) from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Her teachers for composition have included William Albright, Leslie Bassett, William Bolcom, Michael Daugherty and Samuel Jones. Her piano studies have been with Jeanne Kierman Fischer and Logan Skelton. She currently makes her home in the San Francisco Bay Area and travels often in Latin America.

Hailed by the New Yorker magazine as "America's favorite choral ensemble" and praised by the Los Angeles Times for its "luxurious perfection," the GRAMMY® Award-winning vocal ensemble Chanticleer is performing more than 80 concerts in 22 states across the U.S. during its 2006-07 season, including appearances at Walt Disney Concert Hall under the auspices of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., the Cathedrals of Saint Louis and Philadelphia, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and Vassar College. A tour of prestigious European summer festivals in July will see the ensemble in France, Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

Named for the "clear-singing" rooster in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Chanticleer was founded in 1978 by tenor Louis Botto, who sang with the group until 1989 and served as Artistic Director until his death in 1997.


Press Contacts:
Jennifer Haugh
Minnesota Public Radio
651-290-1369
jhaugh@mpr.org

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