UCLA faculty collaborate on multimedia symphony at Disney Concert Hall

Mexico City’s Philharmonic Orchestra debuts at Walt Disney Concert Hall performing an exquisite repertoire of master composers Carlos Chávez, Arturo Márquez, José Pablo Moncayo and Silvestre Revueltas. Led by Maestro Enrique Diemecke, Mexico’s Philharmonic will premiere UCLA Professor Steven Loza’s América Tropical—a piece interpreted by Los Ángeles Opera mezzo-soprano Suzanna Guzmán and accompanied by a narrative and multimedia imagery created by UCLA Professors Jose Luis Valenzuela and Judy Baca. The presentation will feature a Mariachi concerto by Los Camperos de Nati Cano and a narration for Amèrica Tropical by actor Edward James Olmos.

América Tropical is inspired by the educational and artistic work of muralist David Alfaro Siquieros in Los Angeles during the 1930s. The piece, which will have its premiere on June 6, is a tone poem with narration embedded in a visual multimedia display of images of the art of Siqueiros and others—relating them to historical events in Mexican/Chicano Los Angeles. The multisensory presentation illustrates how such artistic movements influenced other sectors of the city and the world. Amèrica Tropical is a multimedia symphonic project created by three artist/researchers: Steve Loza, UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology; José Luis Valenzuela, UCLA Department of Theater; and Judy Baca, UCLA Department of Chicana/o Studies. Funding for the project was made possible, in part, through the UCLA Arts Initiative, which is supported by the Chancellor to stimulate collaborative programs in the arts.

Under the auspices of The Latino Museum and other sponsors, the concert will give life to some of the greatest Mexican classical compositions of the twentieth century. Danzón, Huapango and La Noche de los Mayas exemplify the ability of their creators to fuse European, American and indigenous rhythmical, instrumental and compositional traditions—defining a uniquely Mexican modernist style.

Mexico City’s Philharmonic Orchestra occupies a very important place in Mexico’s rich musical life since the 1970s and it is regarded as one of the most prominent orchestras of Latin America. Its debut in Los Angeles closes a binational tour led by internationally acclaimed Maestro Enrique Diemecke featuring Los Angeles based Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano.

Tickets ($20 - $120) are on sale now at Ticketmaster 213.365.3500



WHEN: FRIDAY, JUNE 6, 2008 AT 8:00 PM


CONTACT: For concert and performers: Ana Valenzuela, Pescador Communications & Associates, LLC. Tel. 213.590.8727; email: pca.acv@gmail.com

UCLA faculty: Steve Loza: Carolyn Campbell, ccampbel@arts.ucla.edu, (310) 825-6540

José Luis Valenzuela: Teri Bond, teri@tft.ucla.edu, (310) 206-3235

Judy Baca: Letisia Marquez. lmarquez@support.ucla.edu, (310) 206-3986 

UCLA Faculty Biographies:

Steven Loza

Professor of ethnomusicology at UCLA, where he has been on the faculty for twenty-three years, and adjunct professor of music at the University of New Mexico, where he formerly directed the Arts of the Americas Institute. He has conducted extensive research in Mexico, the Chicano/Latino U.S., Cuba, among other areas, and has lectured and read papers throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia. He has been the recipient of Fulbright and Ford Foundation grants among numerous others, and has served on the national screening and voting committees of the Grammy Awards for fifteen years. Aside from UCLA and the University of New Mexico, he has taught at the University of Chile, Kanda University of International Studies in Japan, and the Centro Nacional de las Artes in Mexico City. His publications include two books, Barrio Rhythm: Mexican American Music in Los Angeles (1993) and Tito Puente and the Making of Latiin Music (1999), both published by the University of Illinois Press, in addition to four anthologies, Musical Aesthetics and Multiculturalism in Los Angeles (UCLA Ethnomusicology Publications), Musical Cultures of Latin America: Global Effects, Past and Present (UCLA Ethnomusicology Publications, 2003), Hacia una musicología global: pensamientos sobre la etnomusicología (CENIDIM/CONACULTA, Mexico, in press), and Religion as Art: Guadalupe, Orishas, Sufi (University of New Mexico Press, in press). Loza has performed a great amount of jazz and Latin jazz, has recorded two CDs, and has produced numerous concerts and arts festivals internationally, including his role as director of the UCLA Mexican Arts Series from 1986-96 and co-director of the Festival de Músicas del Mundo in Mexico City in 2000.

Judy Baca

Since 1976, Judith F. Baca has served as the Founder/Artistic Director of the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) in Venice, California. She has taught studio art as a Professor of Fine Arts for the University of California since 1980. As of 1996, she concurrently holds two academic appointments: as Vice Chair of UCLA's Cesar Chavez Center and as Professor of Art for World Arts and Cultures at UCLA.

As a visual artist and one of the nation's leading muralists, Judith F. Baca is best known for her large-scale public art works. In her internationally-known The Great Wall of Los Angeles, a landmark pictorial representation of the history of ethnic peoples of California from their origins to the 1950's, Baca and her planning and painting teams of approximately 700 participants produced 2,435 running feet of murals in segments over seven summers, from 1976 to 1984. The Great Wall engaged over 400 young people, 14-21 years of age, of diverse cultural and economic backgrounds. Working with scholars, oral historians, local artists and hundreds of community members, it is one of the most acclaimed monumental cultural projects in the United States dealing with interracial relations. It provides a vibrant and lasting tribute to California and the unrecognized ethnic groups who have shaped this state's history. Its half-mile length in the Tujunga wash drainage canal and its accompanying bike trails and park in the San Fernando Valley hosts thousands of visitors every year. Restoration of the older elements of The Great Wall, along with the research and design for its continuance into the 1990’s is currently underway.

Baca founded the first City of Los Angeles mural program in 1974. It produced over 400 murals and employed thousands of local participants during its ten years of operation. In 1976, she founded the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) in Venice, California, where she still serves as the Artistic Director. In 1988 at the request of Mayor Tom Bradley, she developed a new city mural program based on the previous successful model of The Great Wall of Los Angeles. This program, entitled Great Walls Unlimited: Neighborhood Pride Program, has produced over 85 murals in almost every ethnic community in Los Angeles. It has provided training for hundreds of artists and youth, making it one of the country's most respected mural education programs.

Baca has exhibited nationally and internationally. Her work appears in the museum collections of the National Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian and at the Wadsworth Antheneum in Hartford, Connecticut. The core of both her public and personal work is based on the belief that art is a tool for social change and self-transformation, capable of fostering civic dialogue in the most uncivil places.

José Luis Valenzuela

Professor of Theater at the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA. Valenzuela has directed at several prestigious regional venues including the Los Angeles Theater Center where he developed the Latino Theater Lab; El Teatro de la Esperanza; Mark Taper Forum and Teatro Jorge Negrete where his production of Hijos won Drama-Logue Awards for Best Direction, Ensemble and Actor. His international theater directing credits include Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt at the Norland Theatre in Norway and Manuel Puig’s Kiss of the Spider Woman at the National Theatre of Norway. He serves as the Artistic Director of the Latino Theater Company in Los Angeles, a group of artists committed to creating and producing new works that examine in bold contemporary terms the Latino/a experience in the United States. He directed the play and feature film Luminarias, that challenged Latina stereotypes. The film starred Cheech Marín, Scott Bakula and Lupe Ontiveros. Valenzuela directed the world premiere of Dementia, written by Evelina Fernandez, for the Latino Theater Initiative. The play was the first of its kind to tackle the HIV/AIDS issue in the Latino community and won the 2003 GLAAD Award for Outstanding Theater Production in Los Angeles. He was honored with the 2003 Hispanic Heritage Month Local Hero of the Year Award recognizing distinguished citizens for contributions to improving the quality of life in their communities.

Media Contacts

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