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Tiempo Libre

The Canadian

Miami's Tiempo Libre performs with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Canada's capital on January 17, 18, and 19

The Canadian

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

by Allison Ravenscroft

The Canadian premiere of Rumba Sinfonica piece will be performed by the two time Grammy-nominated group Tiempo Libre and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in the NAC’s Southam Hall ( 53 Elgin Street, at Confederation Square in Ottawa Ontario ) on Thursday, January 17th; Friday, January 18th; and Saturday, January 19th, 2008, at 8:00 PM.

Tickets are $29.00 - $86.00 for adults, and $15.75 - $44.25 for students, and may be ordered by calling Ticketmaster at (613) 755-1111 or checking out LINK. Students with a valid Live Rush™ membership card may buy up to 2 tickets per performance at the discount price of only $10.00 per ticket.

Rumba Sinfónica – First Half

Rumba Sinfónica is a dynamic new work celebrating Cuban music by revered Venezuelan composer Ricardo Lorenz in collaboration with Jorge Gomez of Tiempo Libre. The piece fuses the urban rhythms of past and present Cuban music with the sophisticated sounds of the classical symphony orchestra and explores the full possibilities of a Cuban band and orchestra playing together. Rumba Sinfónica seeks to make a bold statement by allowing Cuban rumba to not only infuse a symphonic work, but to also guide its musical content from beginning to end, without ever losing its basic features of rhythmic intricacy and melodic plaintiveness.

Lorenz draws upon his deep understanding of Caribbean and Central American folkloric traditions to create this sophisticated musical narrative featuring Gomez’s virtuosic, jazzed-up arrangements.

At one level, this collaboration results in a symphonic tribute that pays homage to the extraordinary music that results from the continuing evolution of the traditional and the classical music of Cuba .

At another level it is the story in sound of how decades of rich, authentic, emotionally charged music can result from the natural interplay and porous borders between the classical and popular traditions.

The performance allows Tiempo Libre to honour its twin musical inspirations – classical and traditional Cuban music. The result is celebratory in nature, and can therefore be described in two words: symphonic party, English for rumba sinfónica.

Rumba Sinfónica is co-commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, the Ravinia Festival and the Festival of the Arts Boca. Thursday’s performance by Tiempo Libre and the National Arts Centre Orchestra marks its Canadian premiere.

Tiempo Libre Performance – Second Half

Miami-based Tiempo Libre will perform a dynamic, high-voltage and passionate set of timba music, an exciting and engaging combination of Latin jazz and traditional Cuban son. Their music, which has earned them two consecutive Grammy nominations, celebrates both their Cuban heritage and their new American experience.


Tiempo Libre is the first all-Cuban timba group in the United States . Hailed as ambassadors of Cuban music, the group has enjoyed unprecedented success – two consecutive Grammy nominations and a record deal – through its electrifying performances.

And it’s fitting that they should come full circle back to classical music with their performance of Rumba Sinfonica. When they were growing up in Cuba , it was illegal for them to listen to American songs on the radio or even perform jazz, pop or the blues. So they studied and performed the classics at Cuba’s premiere conservatories. And now, with Rumba Sinfónica, they have the opportunity to draw on their classical roots while celebrating traditional Cuban music.

Lorenz served as composer-in-residence of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Armonia Musicians Residency Program. His orchestral works have been performed by major orchestras in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe . Gomez graduated from Cuba's premier music conservatory, the ENA and has since established himself as an excellent arranger and exciting performer. Lorenz and Gomez worked closely together, meeting together in joint sessions in Miami during the initial phase of the creation of the work.

In the process, Gomez’s virtuosic piano style and sophisticated arrangement approach inspired Lorenz who incorporated this influence in many orchestral passages of the work.

About Composer Ricardo Lorenz

Venezuelan composer Ricardo Lorenz has earned international recognition for the harmonic sophistication and rhythmic vitality of his orchestrations. His compositions have been performed by leading orchestras and symphonies including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony and the Minnesota Orchestra, and by premier orchestras in Germany , Spain , the Czech Republic and Mexico . He served as the Composer-in-Residence of the Armonía Musicians Residency Program of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and also with the Billings Symphony, Montana . Lorenz has been the recipient of numerous distinctions and awards from prestigious organizations including the Rockefeller Foundation Humanities Fellowship, Barlow Endowment for Music Composition and ASCAP.

About Jorge Gomez, Tiempo Libre Musical Director and Pianist

Born in Havana in 1971, Jorge Gomez graduated from the ENA (Escuela Nacional de Arte), Cuba 's premier music conservatory and quickly established a reputation as an excellent arranger and exciting performer. As a pianist, Jorge performed with numerous groups playing salsa and jazz with artists such as Bobby Carcaces, Kaliz, Charanga Latina, Angel Quintero and Beatriz Marquez, to name a few.

Living in Guatemala for 5 years, Jorge's professional activities included extensive work as an arranger and record producer and he continued an active performing career, sharing the stage with artists such as Giovanni Hidalgo, Willy Colon, Eddy Santiago, Habanos and numerous other groups. Since his arrival in the United States in 2000, Jorge has expanded his activities as producer and arranger and, in addition to his work with Tiempo Libre, he toured extensively with Albita through 2003.

About Tiempo Libre

True modern heirs to the rich tradition of the music of their native Cuba , Grammy-nominated Tiempo Libre is one the hottest young Latin bands today. Equally at home in concert halls, jazz clubs and dance venues, the Miami-based band has become known for their incendiary, joyful performances of timba – an irresistible, dance-inducing mix of high-voltage Latin jazz and the seductive rhythms of son.

Schooled in different Havana conservatories and all enjoying thriving careers in Latin music performing, touring and recording with such artists as Albita, Arturo Sandoval and Roberto Torres, these seven extraordinary musicians came together in their free time between projects to realize their collective musical dream: to create the first authentic all-Cuban timba band in the United States. Hence the name Tiempo Libre (Free Time).

Tiempo Libre has released three CDs: Timbiando, the Grammy-nominated Arroz Con Mango and the Grammy-nominated Lo Que Esperabas. Their busy touring schedule has included appearances at Lincoln Center, Miami ’s JVC Jazz Festival, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and at other leading performing arts centers, as well as sold-out concerts in China, Turkey, Italy and Southeast Asia .

read the full article: The Canadian