Brazilian violinist performs in Breckenridge |

Brazilian violinist performs in Breckenridge

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Saturday, violinist Carmelo de los Santos floods CMC’s auditorium with music both familiar and full of flair.

The violinist grew up in Brazil and came to the United States in 1997 to study at the Manhattan School of Music in New York. But he gained prominence before then – when he won Brazil’s most prestigious music competition in 1993, then toured with major orchestras in Brazil and South America. He’s currently the assistant professor of violin at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

Pianist Debra Ayers invited him to make his first appearance in Breckenridge when she met him at a Taos Chamber music group. For his mountain debut, he will present his “absolutely favorite repertoire ever,” he said.

The concert will begin with Souza Lima, a piece that blends European refinement with rustic Brazilian folklore. Then de los Santos and Ayers will move on to Prokofiev’s D Major Sonata, which is defined as a neoclassical piece because Prokofiev was experimenting with classical music at the time he composed it. He originally wrote the music for flute and piano, but David Oiftrakh helped him rework it for violin. It blends fast and slow passages with elements of jazz and ends in a bright, sunny style.

After an intermission, the musicians will perform Marlos Nobre’s “Desafio,” which means “challenge.” de los Santos describes it as a fun piece with Brazilian folk elements.

The show will end with Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” Sonata. de los Santos considers it the hardest Beethoven composition for piano.

“This is like a masterpiece,” de los Santos said. “It is the most important violin and piano sonata, at least for Beethoven.”

de los Santos loves the repertoire because it brings back memories of his performances as a teenager. And, he loves introducing audiences to music from his home country.

“The pieces complement each other,” he said. “It’s a varied program with a good range of emotional expressions throughout the recital.”

“The Beethoven and the Prokofiev sonatas make a perfect pair to showcase a violin and piano duo,” said Marcia Kaufmann, executive director of the Breckenridge Music Festival. “Beethoven was one of the first composers to use sonatas to create a musical conversation that equally highlights the violin and the piano, and this Beethoven ‘Kreutzer’ sonata makes the conversation sparkle with technical razzle-dazzle.

“Then Prokofiev takes this intricate form and translates it into a very contemporary musical language. I am looking forward to hearing the lesser-known Brazilian composers’ music as well. The violin has so many expressive possibilities, from singing, passionate and lyrical to rhythmic and percussive – these Brazilian composers will give us many different flavors to enjoy from a violinist like de los Santos.”

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