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Chick Corea leads Music from Angel Fire

Musician Chick Corea is the composer-in-residence for this year’s Music from Angel Fire.

Musician Chick Corea is the composer-in-residence for this year’s Music from Angel Fire.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Angel Fire’s composer-in-residence headlines 30th season

Grammy Award-winning pianist and composer Chick Corea is the 2013 composer-in-residence for Music from Angel Fire’s 30th anniversary season. Corea’s original music and his talent at the keyboard are featured during concerts taking place on Aug. 16, 17 and 21. The chamber music festival opens on Aug. 16 and runs through Sept. 1.

“I met Chick Corea back in the old days when my group Tashi was performing in the ’70s,” explained Music from Angel Fire’s artistic director and violinist Ida Kavafian. “He loved the group, we went to hear him and a wonderful friendship was born. I was on his recording ‘Leprechaun,’ which was the first time he wrote for strings. That grew into a number of recording projects and tours all over the world. We’ve kept in touch.”

Although Corea is devoted to improvisation, he’s been interested in composing music for classical musicians for many years. The piece Addendum for Piano, Violin and Cello, which will be presented during the Aug. 21 concert, was conceived 30 years ago.

“The group playing it in Angel Fire is a revival of the exact group that recorded it way back in 1984, with Chick at the piano, myself and Fred Sherry the cellist,” said Kavafian. “It’s a whimsical, spirited work that oozes the Corea style of energy and rhythm.”

The Aug. 21 program also includes Corea’s piece “Not Serious Music,” which receives its world premiere. It is performed by Corea, Kavafian, Sherry and clarinetist Richard Stoltzman.

“Well, this is a dream group of musicians to write for,” said Corea via email. “I had to complete the composition while traveling around the globe playing concerts so I couldn’t possibly get too serious, thus the title.”

Members of the Harlem String Quartet travel to northern New Mexico to play Corea’s “The Adventures of Hippocrates for String Quartet” during the Aug. 16 concert.

“This Hippocrates is a little robust character out of a science fiction series titled ‘Ole Doc Methuselah’ by L. Ron Hubbard,” said Corea. “This is the first piece I’ve written without including myself on the piano, and happily the Harlem String Quartet have made it their own.”

In addition to works by Corea, Music from Angel Fire’s season features classics of the chamber music repertoire such as W.A. Mozart’s Trio in C Major for Piano and Strings, Franz Schubert’s Quintet in C Major for Strings, Georg Philipp Telemann’s Trio Sonata in A Minor for Flute, Violin and Continuo and Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” arranged for woodwind quintet. Kavafian has programmed 30 works from the chamber music repertoire in celebration of the festival’s 30th anniversary season.

The roster of guest artists includes the Imani Winds, pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, violinist Guillermo Figueroa, cellist Peter Wiley, flutist Tara Helen O’Connor and vocalist Gayle Moran Corea, who is Chick Corea’s wife.

Two free family/youth concerts are offered during the season. Also free are The Closer Encounters concerts, which give audience members a behind-the-scenes look at the rehearsal process and a chance to interact with the musicians through a question and answer session.

Students from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, who are part of the Angel Fire Young Artist Program, perform during several of the season’s concerts.