#187– February 20, 2023
Danzas, by Hispanic American composer and conductor Giovanni Santos is our Composition of the Week.
Danzas was written in 2022 and premiered on April 20, of the same year by the Florida State University Wind Orchestra, in Tallahassee, with Giovanni Santos conducting.
The work has a duration of about 12 minutes and pays tribute to Cuban music. It is scored for standard wind band setting including a large percussion section, contrabassoon, as well as piano and string bass.
“Danzas takes a journey through the colorful and unique musical traditions in Cuban folklore. Heavily influenced by Afro-Cuban heritage and diaspora, this work sets to celebrate and honor its rich music history.
This collage of styles starts its tribute with a musical tradition that began in West Africa and migrated to Cuba, the bembé. The bembé is traditionally in 6/8 and was introduced to the world by the Yorubá people. This work quickly travels through other important folkloric fusions, such as the songo, a section inspired by colonial Cuba, and a dreamlike son, or song.
This work is dedicated to my Cuban grandparents, Ireneo and Onelia Santos.” (Program notes by Giovanni Santos)
Giovanni Santos is a graduate of La Sierra University (B. Mus) and earned his Master in music education from the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. He completed his Ph.D. in music education with an emphasis in instrumental conducting from Florida State University in 2022.
Giovanni Santos serves as Director of Wind and Percussion Studies at La Sierra University, where he directs the University Wind Ensemble, Chamber Winds, Big Band, and teaches courses in graduate and undergraduate instrumental music education, popular music, conducting and composition.
As a composer, Santos has premiered his works across the United States, Asia and Europe, including a premiere with the United States Naval Academy Band Brass Ensemble at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., under his baton. His works have received performances across the United States and has also been performed for music education conferences such as The Villa-Lobos Music Festival and for the Tanglewood Music Festival in 2022.
More on Giovanni Santos
Other works for winds include:
- Blue Dances (2018)
- Three Latin American Dances (2020)
- Chávez 1927 (2022)
- Dolores, AmeriCan (2023)
View the score here.