Composer of the Month - Luis Serrano Alarcón.
While much of the original repertoire of Spanish music is essentially intended as pure entertainment, I suspect that there are a number of composers who transform the rhythms and idioms of the traditional dances and songs into "art" music. One such is certainly Luis Serrano Alarcón. Still not yet forty years old, and already established as one of the top wind band composers of the world, Luis Serrano Alarcon has recently completed a new work, Marco Polo, the Catai Years, to be premiered by Philharmonic Winds, Singapore at the WASBE Conference in Taiwan.
In 2006 he won the first award at the International Band Competition Contest of Corciano, Italy with the piece Preludio y Danza del Alba, for brass quintet and symphonic band. A CD of his music, played by Union Musical Utielana conducted by Frank de Vuyst gives an overview of three major works Concertango, the opening work, gives the CD its title; this is a twenty five minute, three movement concerto for Alto Saxophone, Jazz Trio and Band. Inspired by the music of Piazzolla, the spirit of the Tango is omnipresent, but there are sections which are jazz inspired and wonderfully lazy Mediterranean reflective passages. Two other works on this disc, Memorias de un Hombre de Ciudad or Memoirs of a City Man, and De Tiempo y Quimera, are both major pieces, but it is Marco Polo which for me was a revelation, combining the full Spanish wind band with cellos and basses, with a series of ethnic woodwind and percussion which help to paint the picture of the voyages.
Besides composing, Luis Serrano Alarcón is teaching Analysis and Composition at the Professional Conservatory of Valencia, and since november 2006 he is principal conductor of the symphonic band "Centre Artìstic Musical" from Betera (Valencia).
I fell in love with Concertango some years ago, and have conducted it in many countries including Australia, Netherlands, Singapore, UK, USA, and Venezuela, always with a huge success. It is a wonderful tribute to the spirit of the tango and of Piazola.
Click here for a video performance of Alarcón s Tramonto for cello and wind orchestra, played by world famous cellist Li-Wei Qin with the Philharmonic Wind, conducted by the composer.