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Percussion ensemble performs the music of Costa Rica

October 31, 2016

percussion-ensemble-of-costa-ricaThe Percussion Ensemble Costa Rica (Ensamble de Percusión Costa Rica) will present a concert at the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall on Sunday, Nov. 13 at 5 p.m. The concert is free, open to the public and accessible to all.

The repertoire of the concert is made up of compositions written for the ensemble by renowned Costa Rican composers. The music reflects the many cultures of this beautiful country with rhythms from Salsa and other Latin dance forms melded with elements of classical music, jazz and traditional Costa Rican music. The music is exciting, visual, virtuosic and relatable to a wide audience.

This is the closing concert of a two-week tour of the U.S. by the ensemble which includes six concerts and numerous clinics and workshops at universities and high schools on the east coast and Midwest. The highlight of the tour is a showcase concert in Indianapolis at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. This gathering of 5000 percussionists from around the world includes hundreds of concerts, clinics, workshops and master classes of the world’s finest percussionists in all facets of percussion – orchestral, drum set, marimba, ensembles, world and marching.

The six members of the Percussion Ensemble Costa Rica, four of whom are members of the Costa Rica National Symphony Orchestra, are Bismarck Fernández, William Ramos, Alejandro Molina, Ricardo Hernandez, Marco Ortiz and Ricardo Alvarado. Three American professors of percussion will join the group on tour: Chris Hanning (West Chester University) who is coordinating the tour, Robert Chappell (Northern Illinois University) and Fernando Meza (University of Minnesota).

The Ensamble de Percusión Costa Rica is one of the most important chamber music groups in Central America. Since its founding in 1993 by its director Bismarck Fernández, it has developed a language and repertoire of compositions and performances not previously explored by any other similar ensemble in Latin America.

The ensemble has performed throughout Costa Rica from the prestigious Teatro Nacional to small towns from Nicaragua to Panama as part of the arts outreach program of the National Distance Learning University (UNED). Internationally, the ensemble has performed at the Palacio de Linares in Madrid, Spain (1993), the festival We are Latin American in Santiago de Chile (1997), the Seoul Drum Festival, Korea (2002), the Increasingly Bógota Festival in Columbia (2006) and the first International Marimba Festival “Marimba 2010” in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The ensemble was also the host group at the Costa Rica International Percussion Ensemble Festivals held in San José in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015.

The ensemble has three commercially released compact discs which include many of the pieces played on this tour. These include Marimbando, released in 2001 and awarded the National Alternative Music Prize and the Award for Best Production of the year, Sur a Sur, (2012) and Sounds of My Land featuring traditional music from Costa Rica (2015).