Burbank, CA – November 2010… Ask any music professional and they'll tell you that composing music, performing and engineering music are as different as night and day. The ability to bring together three very different, yet equally important, aspects of the music that moves us is precisely why album credits rarely list the same name for composer, performer, sound engineer and producer. But for Cuban-born Yalil Guerra, who found the American dream after emigrating to the United States at the age of 27, these four very disparate pieces of the musical puzzle are routinely part of his day-to-day activities. The year 2010 has been a stellar one for Guerra. With a nomination at the Latin Grammy Awards for a new CD and performances of his various chamber music compositions among this year's projects, Guerra is on a roll.
Guerra's latest album, Old Havana—released in June 2010 on the RYCY Productions, Inc. label—was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award in the category of “Best Classical Album.” The album includes two string orchestra works: “Old Havana” and “A la Antigua” (in Olden style); a trio for flute, clarinet, and bassoon titled “De Congo y Carabali”; a short SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) coral work titled “¿Donde estÃ¡ mi negro bembÃ³n?” (Where are my fat lipped black men?); and a brass quintet titled “Carnaval” (Carnival). All works are composed by Guerra and the recording took place in both Los Angeles and Cuba.
On November 13th, the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra premiered one of Guerra's string ensemble works titled A la antigua (In Olden Style) in a program titled “Viva las Americas.” In addition to his composition, the Corpus Christi Symphony performed works by Hector Villa-Lobos, Alberto Ginastera, Arturo Marquez, and Astor Piazzola. The concert took place at the Performing Arts Center at Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, TX.
With the Latin Grammy Awards and the performance by the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra being just two of 2010's numerous successes, Guerra is upbeat and appreciative of his good fortune. “I feel very fortunate to receive this recognition by the Latin Recording Academy,” says Guerra. “This organization is one of the most important musical institutions in the music world and I'm thrilled to be part of it. Also this year, I received an award from the Cintas Foundation of New York for my compositions, so I feel very lucky and enthusiastic about all of this.”
“I believe it is very important for the world to know there is a great classical music repertoire written by Latin American composers,” he continued, “and I am very proud of the fact that my music incorporates folk elements from my country, Cuba, and Latin America into the classical repertoire. Following a tradition of Latin American composers such us Hector Villa-Lobos, Aurelio de la Vega, Alberto Ginastera, Leo Brouwer, Luis Orbon, and others, I believe these compositions enrich the lives of all who are exposed to them. The Latin American influence in classical music opens many new creative opportunities since performers are willing to experiment creatively. A good performer will appreciate a challenging work and the audience will enjoy it because the composition is fresh and different.”
About Yalil Guerra
Yalil Guerra studied classical guitar in Cuba and Spain and he studied composition in the United States with Aurelio de la Vega. Guerra's work encompasses a wide variety of projects, including music production and composition in the pop, rock, Latin, jazz, and classical genres. Guerra's credits include the theme music for the Latin Grammy Awards (2005-2009), Premio lo Nuestro 2005-2010; the World Soccer Cup theme 2010, and music for numerous TV shows and international artists including Yamila and Rosell y Cary, among others.
Photo info: Image of Yalil Guerra.