For the ninth consecutive year, members of the classical music and dance communities in New York, Brazil and Europe came together for this festival, which serves both as a way to bring classical music (and other genres) to a broader audience and to bring classical education to communities that would otherwise have little access to advanced learning. The Festival’s model is a similar event in Tanglewood, MA, where the late maestro Eleazar de Carvalho studied in the 1940s. The Brazilian version is led by his widow, classical pianist Sonia Muniz, who has beaten the odds to make the festival happen in the maestro’s native state.
In addition to several workshops, there were several free live shows, featuring ensembles formed by professionals and students; on July 17, an orchestra formed by young students (mostly in their teens) played at the Historic Jose de Alencar Theatre before an audience of friends and relatives. There was no program to be had, and that generated complaints from one audience member, who asked what numbers were being played. After his queries fell on deaf ears, he got up and left the theater with his family.
The following Thursday we headed to the theater at The University of Fortaleza, where we saw a dance presentation directed by New York-based Luiza Barteldes (full disclosure: she is this writer’s sister), who presented solo and group choreographed numbers to Richard Strauss’s “Salome” and George Gershwin’s “Who Cares” (adapted from Balanchine) and “Rhapsody in Blue” set to original dance. The students seemed a bit nervous, and one seemed to be doing her moves a split second after the others, but that did not mar the performance as a whole.
Up next was a quintet formed by violinists Pablo de Leon and Enio Antunes, violists Renate Faulkner, Carlos Rocha and cellist Steven Thomas, who performed the whole K 515 Quintet in C Major. They repeated the performance on Saturday, following a solo presentation by pianist Paul Rudman. The only difference was that they added “La Muerte del Angel,” a piece by Argentinean composer Astor Piazzola adapted for string quintet.
A large crowd assembled on July 23, for the performance of Beethoven’s First Symphony in its entirety, plus the last movement of the same composer’s Ninth Symphony, conducted by maestro Maurice Peress, who struggled with the intense heat and also with the noise of a nearby truck that was blaring popular music outside the university’s grounds.
Before the music began, Sonia Muniz took the stage and presented a cello to an outstanding young student, Italo Nogueira. The gift represented an incentive from the classical community to these students, most of whom come from humble backgrounds and are unable to afford a quality instrument.