Chamber Music Series Highlights Piano

Chamber Music Series Highlights Piano



SOCORRO – Piano takes center stage in the upcoming Presidential Chamber Music Series at New Mexico Tech. Willy Sucre and Friends will perform at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21, at the Macey Center Auditorium.


The concert, the third of four in the series offered through Tech’s Performing Arts Series (PAS), is sponsored by the University’s president, Dr. Stephen G. Wells.



Willy Sucre


Hosted by well-known violist Willy Sucre as part of “Willy and Friends” chamber music programs, Sucre will be joined by violinist Guillermo Figueroa, cellist James Holland and pianist Ivonne Figueroa. The group will play pieces by Ludwig van Beethoven, Joaquin Turina, and Robert Schumann.



Willy Sucre


Sucre is a member of the New Mexico Philharmonic and is the driving force behind the "Willy Sucre & Friends" concerts. Born in La Paz, Bolivia, Sucre studied music in Peru; Waterville, Maine; New York; and Baltimore.


Sucre’s vast experience includes extensive chamber music concerts, lectures, school demonstrations, CD recordings, and television performances throughout South, Central, and North America. He spends most of his summers in South America looking for new works of chamber music by modern composers and encouraging composers to write new pieces, especially piano quartets. He enjoys performing with ensembles of diverse instrumentation.



Guillermo Figueroa


Guillermo Figueroa is artistic director of The Figueroa Music and Arts Project, an innovative organization that combines music with other art forms. He is the new music director and conductor of the Lynn Philharmonia and is also music director of the Music in the Mountains Festival in Durango, Colo. Additionally, he is the former music director of both the New Mexico Symphony and the Puerto Rico Symphony. With this last orchestra, he performed to critical acclaim at Carnegie Hall in 2003, the Kennedy Center in 2004, and Spain in 2005.


Figueroa is a Berlioz specialist; he created the most comprehensive Berlioz festival in the United States in 2003 for the composer’s bicentennial. An advocate for new music, he and the NMSO won an Award for Adventurous Programming from the League of American Orchestras in 2007.


A renowned violinist as well, Figueroa was concertmaster of the New York City Ballet, and a founding member and concertmaster of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. His recording of Ernesto Cordero’s violin concertos for the Naxos label received a Latin Grammy nomination in 2012.


Ivonne Figueroa


Ivonne Figueroa began her musical studies at the age of five with her father Guillermo, her aunts Carmelina and Angelina, and her uncle Narciso Figueroa, members of Puerto Rico’s most distinguished musical family. In 1966 she was awarded the Pablo Casals Scholarship by the maestro himself, to study at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. She has performed in Europe, Central America, and the Caribbean, and has been a soloist with orchestras in Germany and across the United States.


In 1974 Figueroa was the first artist from the Western Hemisphere to win a prize at the famous Robert Schumann International Piano Competition in East Germany, competing with 98 pianists from around the world.


Figueroa holds a doctorate from New York University and has been involved with the music education of children in Puerto Rico. At present she is a professor at the Faculty of Education at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus.


James Holland


Cellist James Holland is a native of Pensacola, Florida. He holds degrees in cello performance from the University of Alabama and the Eastman School of Music.

In 1996, Holland was appointed principal cellist of the Charleston (South Carolina) Symphony Orchestra, a position he held until his relocation to Albuquerque in 2007 with his wife, violinist Megan Julyan Holland. He performs frequently with most of New Mexico’s musical organizations. He spends his summers in Breckenridge, Colo., as principal cellist of the Breckenridge Music Festival orchestra, a position he has held since 1998.


He can also be heard performing the music of Duke Ellington with jazz legends Eddie Daniels and Roger Kellaway on the 2013 IPO Recording release, Duke at the Roadhouse: Live in Santa Fe, which was recently named Best Jazz Album of the Year by L’Académie du Jazz in Paris, France..


Sonata for Violin and Piano in E-flat Major, Op. 12 No.3 by Beethoven


The three violin sonatas in Beethoven's Opus 12 are dedicated as a set to Antonio Salieri. Details about the background of these works are not well known. The published edition containing them appeared in 1798. The E flat major Sonata opens with a tonic arpeggio. This splendid key for pianistic display meets with a violin which reinforces the opening phrases in a game of catch-up in the playful first movement. Syncopations, a Beethoven trademark, add further to a sense of slight tipsiness or instrumental hiccoughs. The closing rondo is closer to Haydn in character, perhaps even with a hint of the ‘Hungarian’ side of that composer’s music.


Piano Trio No. 2 in B minor for Violin, Cello, and Piano, Op.76 by Joaquín Turina


Written in 1933, Turina’s Piano Trio No. 2 in b minor, Op. 76 is one of his three mature piano trios. Distinctively Spanish elements pervade its vocabulary in the form of melodic intervals, harmonic chord progressions, and rhythmic patterns.


The first movement follows a sonata outline with clear, contrasting themes first in minor, then major keys, followed by a developmental interlude introducing fresh melodic material. The second movement is a brief but dense scherzo based on a spicy 5/8 dance rhythm, a bright countermelody, and a languid trio. The finale is a majestic landscape miniature with all the poetry and perfume of great Spanish music.

A rondo, it visits a number of vivid scenes between recurring refrains of a dark, masculine cast. Using a technique that Turina likely acquired from his French schooling, he takes a cyclic look backward in the final episode, recalling all the themes from previous movements before a dazzling entrance into the final, wonderfully elaborated refrain.


Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 47 by Robert Schumann


The Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, op. 47, completed by late November, 1842 performed in December at private soirées, with Felix Mendelssohn playing the piano on at least one occasion.

Clara expressed obvious delight over the work’s lyricism and freshness in her diary in April, 1843, “In the evening we played Robert’s E-flat Major Quartet for the first time at our house, and again I was really enchanted by this beautiful work, which is so youthful and fresh, as if it were his first.”


The first movement is in sonata form, preceded by a slow introduction that returns strategically in the Allegro proper, perhaps reflecting Schumann’s study of Beethoven’s string quartets. The second movement Scherzo has two trios. The Andante, in three-part form, starts with a brief introduction, after which the cello plays a tender melody that is taken over by each instrument in turn and subject to ornamental variation, both here and in the closing section. The theme of the contrasting middle section is hymn-like. The Finale demonstrates Schumann’s contrapuntal facility, incorporating fugal writing in the exposition, development, recapitulation, and coda.

– NMT –