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Past masters, new voices at Festival de Febrero

It is an honor for me to write about the Festival de Febrero on the celebration of 20 years since artistic director Chris Wilshere founded it in 2004.

The festival balances music from beloved past masters with that of fresh new voices. One intriguing new voice this year is poet, actor, composer and singer Sarah Slean, appearing Monday, February 19, 7:30 p.m. at the Auditorio. She’s also a graphic artist, a real renaissance woman. I’d love to sit down with her for a couple of hours and talk philosophy and poetry, but I doubt  that’s in the cards.  However, I have liked the songs that she’s written so I’m eager to hear her concert.

pg14aA few days later on February 22, at 4 p.m. is Harmony in Motion, another must-see event, which features contemporary dance and chamber music on stage together (see festivaldefebrero.com for interesting details). This is a fascinating concept because normally in a dance concert the musicians are below in the orchestra pit and are virtually invisible. Two interesting things happen when the musicians are on stage. First, we all like to watch the musicians when we listen to chamber music live. The movements of the players communicate so much. Second, with a small group on stage there is still plenty of room for the dancers to move, so we can see how the music affects them and how the dancers affect the music. The concept comes from a Toronto group called Echo Chamber, I’m guessing because music and dancers echo one another. This is going to be fun.

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