Opening Concert: Kaufman Concerto Premiere
Monday, February 17, 2020
7:30 pm WPAC Concert Hall

$25 general, $20 senior/FIU faculty, staff, & alumni, $10 student

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2020 MIGF Festival Pass

is available to attend all festival events at a single reduced price: $100 general, $70 senior/FIU faculty, staff, & alumni, $25 student

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The 2020 Miami International GuitART Festival kicks off with the world premiere of Concerto for guitar and orchestra, commissioned by MIGF from the award-winning  composer Fredrick Kaufman, performed by virtuoso guitarist Mesut Özgen, as soloist, and FIU Festival Orchestra, directed and conducted by Maestro Javier Jose Mendoza. The program also includes Rumeli Turkusu for two guitars by Mesut Ozgen, performed by Ozgen and guest artist Federico Bonacossa, as well as two orchestral works The Unanswered Question by Charles Ives and Symphony No. 3 by Johannes Brahms conducted by Luis David Aguilar. The FIU Festival Orchestra comprises FIU faculty and students joined by the wonderful Venezuelan musicians of Kameristika Chamber Orchestra.

Mesut Özgen and Fredrick Kaufman, working on the new concerto.

Fredrick Kaufman’s notes about the concerto:

I have long been intrigued and excited about the complex rhythms found in Bulgarian and Turkish folk music, which is the cultural heritage of Dr. Özgen. Inspired by these exciting complex rhythms, which became the basis of the 3rd movement of the Concerto, I set to work. The formula I used was: melodic exploration/beauty & rhythm within the traditional 3 movement form of a classical concerto.

For the first time in my professional career as a composer I started writing the 3rd movement first. In addition to using the vast technical language of the classical guitar on a challenging cadenza that falls two thirds of the way into the third movement, I emulated the complex rhythmic patterns found in the folk music of Turkey and Bulgaria with a basic rhythmic pattern of 3+2+2+2+3(+1) just as Don Ellis did in his exciting big band jazz recording Bulgarian Bulge. I also employed traditional jazz patterns of call & response and a pizzicato walking bass line doubled on cello and other compositional devices that I am comfortable employing. The music came quickly to me and I finished the movement in less than 3 weeks.

The second movement was an easy one for me to write. In contrast to the 3rd movement, I explored the atmosphere and beauty of the classical guitar sound using it as a solo instrument enhanced with the magic and elegance of flute with the gentle support of the string section.

The first movement is where I encountered a real challenge. I slaved over it for next three months before the multiple divergent threads converged into a creative strategy and sound that I wove into a layered exaltation of the instrument itself. I wrote several versions of this movement and experimented with many contrasting ideas that seemed to mesh well together before I settled on the current version.

Ultimately, as in my Guernica Piano Concerto, I started the concerto off with a solo statement by the soloist. Here I did not immediately introduce the main theme until the gentle solo line of the guitarist set up a deceptive mood with harmonies and melodic lines that would be used throughout the movement. Contrary to my usual mode of writing where I “hear” entire movements and then take mental dictation, this one was an evolving process of pushing and pulling forces.

The relationship between composer and soloist is powerful. For a composer there is no greater pleasure than to work with a world class musician. The guitarist, Dr. Mesut Özgen, has been the epitome of patience, inspiration and positive energy that was invaluable to me as I wrote this work.

It is therefore with the sincerest pleasure that I dedicate this work to him.

Fredrick Kaufman