ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Something rare will happen next weekend in the professional life of Grammy-nominated guitarist Ottmar Liebert. He’s performing with an orchestra.
Liebert, the noted Santa Fe-based Nouveau Flamenco musician, is often just playing with his ensemble Luna Negra. On Saturday, April 4, at Popejoy Hall. Liebert and Luna Negra will be joined by the New Mexico Philharmonic.
The concert will feature Liebert’s compositions arranged for orchestra by Luna Negra bassist Jon Gagan. Those arrangements had their premiere at a philharmonic Rio Grande Zoo concert in 2013.
“The main objective I kept in mind while writing the score was to keep the orchestra involved and integral to the music, rather than just adding a layer of strings to what we’re already doing. It was inspiring to utilize the vast textural palette available with Ottmar’s trio and the string orchestra,” Gagan said.
That zoo concert was performed in front of a record 2,500-plus audience members, said Marian Tanau, the philharmonic’s executive director.
“We wanted to bring this wonderful concert to our Pops audiences at Popejoy,” Tanau said in an email.
Liebert calls Saturday’s concert “a happy return.”
The music for the concert is taken from several Liebert albums.
“We will play pieces from ‘Nouveau Flamenco,’ ‘The Hours Between Night + Day,’ ‘La Semana,’ ‘The Scent of Light’ and ‘Dune,’ thus spanning about 25 years of recording and touring,” Liebert said in an email.
“Nouveau Flamenco” was his first commercially released CD. It came out in 1990, and it was a remastered version of a self-produced album recorded under a different title the previous year.
Liebert has recently been touring Latvia, Finland and Germany.
“The six shows in Germany have been packed and we are playing three encores every night because the audience can’t seem to get enough,” he said.
Liebert is working on a new album to be released later this year.