A few weeks ago, Sybarite5 made its South American debut. We traveled to Cordoba, Argentina (our own Sami Merdinian’s hometown) to perform at the second annual New Docta International Music Festival. It was a packed week of concerts, outreach performances, masterclasses and rehearsals. We had the privilege of collaborating with the other New Docta artists: mezzo-soprano Solange Merdinian, cellist Yves Dharamraj, violist Nathan Schram, and pianist Riko Higuma for all of these activities, as we packed ourselves in and out of a very large van to travel all over the Cordoba area. Cordoba is Argentina’s second-largest city after Buenos Aires, and is home to a large university and other important cultural institutions including the grand Teatro San Martin in which we performed the gala concert at the end of the festival. For us, while we always love performing for new audiences in new places, the highlight was the outreach performances, which we gave for hundreds of schoolchildren in several schools. Though none of us, except Sami, speaks Spanish, we were able to communicate with the children through the music (and with the help of Sami, Solange and Nathan who thankfully do speak the language). We found it fascinating that the students reacted in very much the same ways that American children do when we present similar programs, and it really made us realize anew the power of music to transcend language and geographical barriers. We also had the profoundly moving experience of performing a varied selection of music with a children’s choir at the gala concert. The disparate works included Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus, a traditional Argentinean song, a traditional Armenian song and of course, in true Sybarite5 fashion, two of our Radiohead songs. It was very interesting to hear the Radiohead sung by children; it infused the music with an innocence that’s definitely not present in the original songs.
Our appearance in Cordoba marked the completion of our “hometown circuit”: we’ve now brought Sybarite5 to all of the places we are from; the others being St. John’s, Newfoundland; Concord, MA; Sarasota, FL and West Hartford, CT. We’d like to thank here everyone that made our visit to Argentina including Mid-Atlantic arts for their generous grant funds, the entire (extended) Merdinian family for their help and hospitality, all of the artists of the festival and all of the numerous community sponsors. (This engagement is supported by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtsists International in partnership with the National Endownment for the Arts and the Andrew W Mellon Foundations.)
We now turn our attentions (somewhat) closer to home with performances coming up in Georgia, Alaska, upstate NY, Iowa, Kansas, Texas, and our home venue in our home city, the cell in NYC November 6-7. Please visit the tour page for that information! A happy fall to all.