Cuban group to play with Toledo SymphonyWritten by Scott McKimmy | | email@example.com
Audience members at an upcoming concert at the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle may find themselves succumbing to an irresistible urge to dance in the aisles.
Tiempo Libre, a two-time Grammy-nominated group based in Miami, performs Sept. 20 with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra in a two-part show that “fuses the urban rhythms of past and present Cuban music with the sophisticated sounds of the classical symphony orchestra.” The group will perform “Rumba Sinfónica” with the orchestra, a 25-minute piece that composer Ricardo Lorenz said warms up the crowd for an “electrifying” set of Cuban music to follow known as timba.
Lorenz said the combination of jazz, classical and Latino genres offers a unique experience not often duplicated. He has organized smaller performances as a composer in residency of a program with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where he combined symphony chamber groups with Latino bands from the barrio. “Rumba Sinfónica,” which means “symphonic party,” takes the concept “several notches higher to a much bigger scale.”
“Very rarely do you get to see a band coming together with a symphony orchestra and very rarely do you find somebody who has the guts to put them together because it’s just complicated,” Lorenz said from his office at Michigan State University, where he serves as an associate professor of composition. “The purpose of ‘Rumba Sinfónica’ is to have audiences ponder and really listen to this combination of jazz music with symphony music.
Lorenz, originally from Venezuela, collaborated with Jorge Gomez, Tiempo Libre’s pianist, who grew up in Cuba and learned to play in the street. Cuban law prohibits musicians from playing or listening to American music such as jazz, pop and blues, leaving them little choice other than Cuban classical music.
Gomez said he and his six band mates are excited by the prospect of performing in Toledo, having played venues around the country, including Minneapolis, Chicago, San Francisco and San Antonio, Texas. He considers the audience’s reaction a clear indication of whether Tiempo Libre makes a hit or miss during the performance.
“At the end of the piece, yes, [they dance] because it gets crazy,” Gomez said from his Miami studio. “The style of music that we play is called timba; we play to see people dance. So it’s normal to see people dancing. If they don’t dance, we are tired.”
The performance begins at 8 p.m., with Chelsea Tipton II conducting. The Peristyle will host a “Salsa Dance Party” at 6 p.m. offering ticket holders free dance lessons by Matt and Paulette of The Dance Clinic. Tickets range from $25 to $35 and are available by phone at (419) 246-8000 or online at www.toledosymphony.com.