PAN-LATIN AMERICAN PREMIERE:
ABYA YALA CHORAL SUITE
A CO-COMMISSION BY NW ACDA & RESONANCE ENSEMBLE
Three lifelong choirs collaborate in premiering Abya Yala Choral Suite with Freddy Vilches and Portland-based Matices Latin Ensemble. The name, “Abya Yala,” comes from the Guna people, meaning “Land in its Full Maturity.” Abya Yala is often used by indigenous peoples to refer to Latin America, reclaiming the name to assert indigenous rather than colonized perspectives. Chilean-born composer and performer, Freddy Vilches, has created a multilingual choral suite composed of several movements and accompanied by his own Matices Latin Ensemble. This multilingual choral suite features bilingual poems in native languages and in Spanish, ranging from Mapudungun and Aymara in South America, to K'iche' Mayan and Nahuatl in Central and North America. Each movement also highlights musical styles and instruments from these regions. As a whole, this composition aims to vindicate the voices and struggles of historically marginalized communities and showcase the cultural richness and diversity of Abya Yala.
Freddy Vilches, composer
Performed with Matices Latin Ensemble
Katherine FitzGibbon, conductor
Performed by Combined Lifelong Choirs:
composer and leader, Matices Latin Ensemble
Freddy O. Vilches is a multi-instrumentalist (charango, Venezuelan cuatro, quena, zampoñas, Afro-Cuban percussion) singer/songwriter, and educator based in Portland, Oregon. Originally from Santiago, Chile, Freddy has performed extensively throughout the U.S. and Latin America (Chile, México, Cuba). He has recorded and performed with some of the most versatile Latin bands in the Northwest, including Latin Expression, Caliente, Palante, Bobby Torres Latin Band, and Sandunga, and he performs regularly with his own Matices Latin Ensemble. Freddy is an experienced teacher and workshop presenter, and he holds a Ph.D. in Latin American Literature from the University of Oregon. He joined the faculty of Lewis and Clark College in September, 2006, and is an associate professor in the Department of World Languages and Literatures.
Katherine FitzGibbon is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Lewis & Clark College, where she conducts two of the three choirs and oversees the vibrant voice, choral, and opera areas. Dr. FitzGibbon founded Resonance Ensemble in 2009, initially dedicated to thematic, collaborative vocal performances with artistic partners. In the last several years, she and Resonance have shifted their mission, using the same innovative thematic programming approach to amplify voices that have long been silenced, focusing on underrepresented composers and communities. Recently commissioned works include compositions by Melissa Dunphy, Renee Favand-See, Damien Geter, and Joe Kye.