For its concluding event of the 2016-17 season, the CSO Latino Alliance welcomed William Buchman, assistant principal bassoon, and Pablo Santiago Chin, a locally based composer, to its pre-concert reception held May 25 in Symphony Center’s Grainger Ballroom. With guest conductor Jesús López Cobos on the podium that evening, the talk turned to Latin influences in classical music.
CSO Latino Alliance co-presidents Loida Rosario and Ramiro J. Atristaín-Carrión moderated a Q&A session featuring Buchman and Chin. Buchman noted that of three works on the program — Turina’s Danzas fantásticas, Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 6 — “none have been performed here with great frequency,” and mentioned that López Cobos had suggested Turina’s work to the CSO, which last performed this piece in 1981. Written in 1919, originally for the piano and later arranged for orchestra, Danzas fantásticas was inspired by dances from Spain’s Andalusia region and a novel by Seville-born writer José Más y Laglera.
Calling López Cobos “a statesman of the podium,” Buchman lauded the conductor for “his clear ideas. He has an excellent way of getting colors out of the orchestra. He has great ears.”
Born in Costa Rica, Chin discussed the influences of geography and politics on his music. “An awareness of nature” runs through his work, and this characteristic has become more acute since his move to Chicago, where the ever-changing weather inspires him while he pursues a post-doctoral degree at Northwestern University. He especially likes snow, and the silences it evokes. He’s moving later this summer to New York City and hopes to retrace the steps of Spanish poet-playwright Federico Garcia Lorca, who studied at Columbia University in 1929.
Though he’ll miss Chicago, Chin is looking forward to living in New York City because “Chicago and New York are the best U.S. cities for new music.”