Bembé

(from Concerto for Orchestra)

I wrote this piece while I was waiting for my turn to audition at The Juilliard School. I remember that I was listening to “La Dueña del Swing” by Los Hermanos Rosario on a loop during my trip from Lyon to New York. Merengue music is so damn optimistic and charismatically sensual that it helped me get relaxed for my auditions. I wrote the first measure right before going into my first interview with Matthias Pintscher and it was really hard to not think about it during my interview. As said before, I have kind of an obsessive personality and whenever inspiration hits me, I just need to write down what’s next. I write very chronologically so once that first measure was written, the music just kind of poured out of me. I wrote most of the piece during my flight back to France once my audition was over. 

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The interviews went really well which helped me stay inspired and write a lot. I got the idea to orchestrate the piece soon after because I could just picture what other instruments would be doing. This piece would eventually become the third movement of my concerto for orchestra which was read and recorded by the Juilliard Orchestra on my first year in New York. The piano version piece was first played by a great pianist named Umi Garret, whom I met a few years before when I went to a summer festival in California. She was already quite well known even then, having had appeared in shows like Ellen and when I found out that we would be in the same class, I decided that I needed to work with her somehow so, after much insistence, we did!

On September of 2018, I premiered an orchestral arrangement of the piece with the Cinco de Mayo Philharmonic in my hometown of Puebla City. I played the piano part with the orhcestra, rather clumsly but it will at least always be something I can brag about! 

The piece was premiered on December 3rd 2018 at Juilliard by Tengku Irfan, another one of the genius performers I met in School. I July 2020, the piece received its European premiere at Geneva Puplinge Classique 2020 by François-Xavier Poizat another great pianist I met while visiting my sister in Switzerland. I have been blessed with great performances of this piece!

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