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Choral Conducting, The Forging of the Conductor

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 15 may 2011 19:59 por Jesus Hidalgo   [ actualizado el 17 may 2011 16:04 ]

Tittle: Choral Conducting, The Forging of the Conductor

Second Edition, July 2009

GGM Editors / Earthsongs

ISBN 0-9621532-9-X

This book represents an exceptional and visionary contribution for our continent as we seek to establish a vibrant and diverse youth choral movement that will promote, inspire and serve as a vast aesthetic conscience. The author could have been none other than Alberto Grau, distinguished educator of generations, whose 40+ brilliant and productive years of experience qualify him as an authentic Hispano-American leader of a new path for choral music. He is equally venerated in the slums and the schools, not lowering down to the deepest reaches of existence, into the collective life that surrounds him. This is a fraternal love and unlimited source of solidarity, paired with an ideal of justice that foresees coexistence in mutual understanding and peaceful.

Beyond its structure as an artistic body, a choir constitutes the most beautiful and eloquent of all communities. Souls and bodies in harmonic coexistence, transcending every language, ineffably bring together text and music to express a song that, whether cursing or comforting, worshiping or full of rage, is both pure human essence and divine inspiration.

In this era market by the loss of art forms, especially of minority communities, choral singing constitutes a unique and indissoluble resource. All the more so if we consider the contemporary realities of Latin America and the Caribbean, where music is undeniably woven into the collective social fabric, and artistic education is considered an inalienable social right. In Venezuela, choirs and orchestras open their doors to youth and children of any condition, especially in those communities in which poverty or violence, physical incapacities or academic exclusion, makes access to an instrument, orchestra or choir virtually impossible.

This book summarizes a life of learning and the accumulated experiences of a choral-symphonic works, which will be of great profit not only to choral conducting students, but also to learn more about the role of the conductor, that musical protagonist and re-creator that transforms the strange alphabet of music into glorious sonorities.

An outstanding Venezuelan musician of Spanish origin, Alberto Grau (1937- ), has distinguished himself both as a composer and choral director. Since his early days he was inclined towards choral music, a Capella and instrumentally accompanied, both sacred and secular. Convinced of the validity of a variety of musical language, he has incorporated both popular and classical sensibilities in his compositions. As a composer and arranger more than five publishing companies have edited his works. His catalogue in comprised of numerous commissions, as well independent works, several of which are international prizewinners.

As a choral director he has created a variety of successful ensembles, with which he has traveled, earning recognition for Venezuelan choral music. With the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela, founded by him in the 60’s, he won first prize in the Arezzo Polyphonic Competition (Italy) in 1974. Among others, he also founded the Orfeón Universitario Simón Bolívar and the Ave Fenix Choir with whom he has completed many successful artistic tours. He is the Artistic Director of the Schola Juvenil de Venezuela and the program Construir Cantando.

Alberto Grau is also a prestigious educator who has taught choral music in higher education centers, academies, universities and conservatories, and has been invited as a conductor by outstanding ensembles in North America, Europe, Asia and throughout Latin America. He has also served as a jury member for the most distinguished international choral competitions. For nine years he was Vice President of the International Federation for choral Music.

The music production of Alberto Grau, together with his versatility and leadership, are presented to us in each of his performances and also in the over 30 recordings on several music labels, which are a significant testimony to his work.