Contemporary Classics

Fresh festival presents now sounds

We'd venture that "new" is not the word that immediately comes to mind when you think of classical music. The New Music Miami ISCM Festival will change that perception. Presented by the FIU School of Music in association with the International Society for Contemporary Music, the event brings together some of the leading contemporary composers in the world with virtuoso players for three days of mind-expanding concerts. This year the festival focuses on new solo and chamber music for strings.

New Music Miami features work by twenty composers hailing from Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the U.S., all of whom bring a wide variety of sources and styles to their music. Chinary Ung, originally from Cambodia, is an expert on Khmer music and a master of the ronoeat-ek, the Cambodian xylophone. Mexican composer Mario Lavista writes music for electronic and acoustic instruments, has scored many films, and created an opera based on the story Aura by Carlos Fuentes. Orchestras worldwide have performed FIU professor Fredrick Kaufman's compositions, and the Miami String Quartet recently released a CD of his music. Havana-born Orlando Jacinto Garcia's work (to be played by Cuarteto Latinoamericano, above) has been described as "time suspended, haunting sonic explorations." Tania Leon's global percussion piece Drummin' was commissioned by the Miami Light Project and performed here in 1997. Her first opera, Hyacinths, based on a play by Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, has been performed in a production directed by Robert Wilson.

In all, five concerts will be given. And fans and students can meet these fascinating composers and others who make classical music contemporary during 30-minute preconcert sessions.

The New Music Miami ISCM Festival runs from Thursday, April 10, through Saturday, April 12, at the Wolfsonian-FIU, 1001 Washington Ave, Miami Beach. All events are free, but seating is limited. Call FIU at 305-348-1998 or the Wolfsonian-FIU at 305-531-1001. -- Judy Cantor

Outta La Box

Cuban-born writer Juan Gerardo Hernandez on his 1965 arrival to the U.S.: "I was a piece of human contraband," he writes in his book of monologues, Cuban, That's All. "I had been smuggled into this country ... And, I had been smuggled in a shoe box." Inspired by exiled voices, Hernandez stages the 27 speeches in his book. The work traces 44 years of immigration -- from a marimba queen to the mighty shoe box child. The performance begins at 8:00 p.m. at Books and Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Admission is free. Call 305-442-4408. -- Juan Carlos Rodriguez

Big Easy Bash

Nocturnal home to smokin' blues and rock music plus el cheapo steak and lobster dinners, Miami's oldest bar, Tobacco Road (626 S. Miami Ave.; 305-374-1198), offers a family-oriented daytime event with a Cajun twist when the fourth annual Crawfish Boil gets rolling. In conjunction with Broward eatery Rosey Baby, 2000 pounds of crawfish are swimming in from New Orleans. But there's more on the menu than buckets of mudbugs: Tasty jambalaya and gumbo will be served, as will jovial party music by Big Easy favorites Rosie Ledet and the Zydeco Playboys and local funksters Hashbrown. Fun runs from noon to 6:00 p.m. -- Nina Korman

It's All Relative

Who doesn't love a family reunion? You get to face those annoying aunts, uncles, and cousins you haven't spoken to in years and for good reason. It's not like they're your friends; you just happen to be related to them. A more agreeable sort of get-together takes place at noon at Hialeah Park (2200 E. Fourth Ave.), the Hot 105 Hits & Oldies Family Reunion. Sponsored by the popular local radio station WHQT-FM, the outdoor event features arts and crafts, kiddie activities, and food plus sets by the SOS Band, Ohio Players, Tyrese, and headliners the Isley Brothers featuring Ronald Isley. Tickets cost ten dollars. Call 305-567-5660. -- Nina Korman

 
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