FIU Music Festival Raise Funds for Disaster Relief

Photo by Christopher Downs

By Christopher Downs

With the holidays around the corner, the FIU School Music has presented their annual FIU Music Festival funded by the Miami Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. Following the recent tragedies in the Caribbean and Mexico, the proceeds helped FIU students and faculty members whose families were affected by Hurricane Irma and Maria.

The festival kicked off Nov. 3 featuring nine concerts from top local, national and international performers. The festival featured genres from classical, jazz, contemporary and early music artists. Among them were Grammy winners, such as Nestor Torres, Paquito D’Rivera, Charlie Sepulveda, Alex Brown and other popular jazz artists. The festival also featured a headlining performance by The New World Symphony.

Students from all backgrounds were able to come out for a special performance from artists paying tribute to those affected by such recent tragedies. Raymond Fernando, a sophomore studying biology, attended opening night on Friday Nov. 3, where the New World Symphony fellows took the stage paying homage to Puerto Rico. The concert consisted of melodies of jazz and symphony.

“I’m not really into music, I’m just here for my music appreciation class, but from what I’m seen tonight, I really think it’s cool that they’re doing this,” Fernando said. “I’m not from Puerto Rico, but I have family and friends that were affected by the storm.”

Other artist an ensemble that performed during the festival included Denis Brott, Jerry Bergonzi and Andy Laverne Duo, Stephanie Griffin, Guillermo Figueroa and Dr.Javier Jose Mendoza.

On Saturday, Nov. 5, the Continuum Ensemble performed for an evening of contemporary music featuring music from the Miami Beach Urban Studios Composer-in-Residence, featuring FIU’s own Orlando Jacinto Garcia and Professor Emeritus and Founding Director of the School of Music, Fredrick Kaufman.

The festival also continued performances by the FIU Symphony Orchestra, under the school of Music’s new maestro, Javier Jose Mendoza featuring concert organist, Raul Prieto Ramirez. The FIUSO presented an orchestral repertoire that spanned from the classical period to today. Under the new leadership of newly appointed Director of Orchestral Studies, Mendoza, the FIUSO now hosts their own performance in FIU’s own concert hall.

The final week of the festival featured Artist-in-residence, violinist, Robert Davidovici and pianist, Kemal Gekic, followed by Boston’s premiere early music ensemble, Grand Harmonie.

On Sunday, Nov.12, the Sydell Ida Wertheim Organ Recital performed, featured concert organist Raul Prieto Ramirez. Ramirez performed a wide-ranging repertoire with the flair and bravado of a matador. His performance included “Prelude and Fugue in D Major by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), Libster Jesu, wir sind hier by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) and Mephisto Waltz No. 1 by Frantz Liszt with his own arrangements.

As the festival concluded on Nov. 18, the FIUSO gave a special dedication to Hispanic heritage to Mexico for their finale. Their performance was conducted by FIU’s own Mendoza. Students were graced by FIUSO performance, remembering and support those affected by Hurricane Maria.

Ashely Garcia, student, studying public relations, expressed her opinion on the outcome of the festival, stating how she sentimental she felt knowing that her school supports the victims of these tragedies.

“It’s great to see people around supported and helping your loved ones, this has been a hard for a lot families including mine. After attending tonight’s concert, I’ve found a new love and appreciation for music,” said Garcia.


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