Music and Poetry from the Colombian Conflict

Thursday, January 31, 2019 @ 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Free RSVP Watch Online 2019-01-31 7 p.m. 2019-01-31 9 p.m. America/New_York Music and Poetry from the Colombian Conflict 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15212 Alphabet City

(This program will be presented in Spanish with English translation available.)

Alia Musica presents poetry, discussion, and music interwoven in the memory of the Colombian armed conflict. Works of music stemming from different aspects of the conflict, with a special appearance of professors John Beverley, Juan Fernando Velasquez, and Colombian poet Piedad Bonnet (winner of the National Poetry Prize 1994 and the Casa de las Américas award 2014, among others), whose poems are musicalized in Johan Hassler’s work, La Cicatriz en el Espejo.

This program is cosponsored by Colombia in Pittsburgh and produced in part with the support of the Leveler Foundation and the Heinz Endowments.

Música y poesía del conflicto colombiano

Alia Musica presenta poesía, discusión, y música entretejidas en la memoria del conflicto armado colombiano. Obras de música de cámara surgidas de diversos aspectos del conflicto, con la participación especial de los profesores John Beverley, Juan Fernando Velásquez, y la poetisa Piedad Bonnet (ganadora del premio nacional de poesía 1994 y Casa de las Américas 2014, entre otros), tres de cuyos poemas aparecen musicalizados en la obra de Johan Hassler, La Cicatriz en el Espejo.

Alia Musica Pittsburgh:

Gizelxanath Rodriguez, soprano
Laura Motchalov, violin
Ryan Ash, cello
Abby Langhorst, Paulina Michels, percussion
John Arrigo-Nelson, guitar
Vladimir Molov, accordion
Sarah Steranka, flute
Federico Garcia-De Castro, conducting


Alia Musica Pittsburgh

The organization behind the biennial Pittsburgh Festival of New Music, Alia Musica Pittsburgh has performed in venues throughout Pennsylvania and in six states, as well as internationally at the 2015 MusicArte Festival in Panama. Its collaborations include composers of the stature of Fred Rzewski, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Ken Ueno, and Marilyn Shrude, as well as conductor Cliff Colnot, soprano Tony Arnold, and Chicago-based vocal ensemble Quince. Founded in 2007, and balancing a grass-roots component with a commitment to artistic quality and to the listener’s experience, Alia Musica’s events have been listed in the Top Ten Classical Music Performances by the New York Times and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and has gained recognition as an arts leader in Pittsburgh’s 21st-century cultural renaissance.


Piedad Bonnett was born in Amalfi, Colombia in 1951. She studied philosophy and philology in Colombia and Madrid and has been a literature professor at the Universidad de los Andes since 1981. Bonnett is best known as a poet of clear language imbued by irony and deep feeling that explores the subjects of love and the harsh realities of life in Colombia. Her writing is deeply rooted in her lived experience and express the vision of a woman in a country torn apart by violence, inequality and multiple armed conflicts. Starting with her award-winning first volume of poems, De círculo y ceniza (1989), she has written in almost every genre including for the theatre, and published a dictionary of the most important concepts of her Nobel Prize-winning fellow countryman in The world according to García Márquez (2005). In 2014, she won the prestigious Premio Casa de las Americas for Explicaciones no pedidas. Her works have been translated to six languages, including Italian, English, and French. She has also made the promotion and diffusion of art, literature, and poetry in her country one of the focuses of her life’s work.


Gizelxanath Rodriguez is a Mexican singer and activist born in Mexicali, Baja California.

An award-winning operatic singer trained at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, The Ark Institute in San Diego, California, and the the Conservatory of Music in Tijuana, Mexico, her extended repertoire encompasses also diverse styles of Latin American folk music, from Argentinian tangos to Mexican boleros.Her recording catalog includes three solo albums, as well as many collaborations with world-renowned artists. She has been a featured artist at Lincoln Center NDI and Repertoire Español, and was a recipient of the Latin Ace Award in 2014.Today she thrives as one of the most versatile Mexican sopranos, and leads the Afro Yaqui Music Collective, an indigenous-jazz band based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and the ASCAP Jazz Awards, and which last October they premiered their opus magnum, the Mirror Butterfly, Migrant Liberation Movement Suite, written by Gizelxanath’s partner and co-leader of the group, Ben Barson.


The works of composer and conductor Federico Garcia-de Castro (born in Bogota, Colombia, in 1978) are regularly programmed in festivals and concerts throughout the US and around the world. After graduating from Bogota’s Pontificia Universidad Javierana in 2001, where he studied composition principally with Rodolfo Acosta and Gustavo Parra, Garcia-De Castro moved to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, to pursue graduate studies in composition and theory with Mathew Rosemblum and Eric Moe, as well as private instruction in conducting with Robert Page.

In 2006 he co-founded Alia Musica Pittsburgh. As Artistic Director of the organization, he has produced and conducted twelve seasons of new music by living composers and classics of modern music, from Ives and Varese to Berio and Haas. His collaborators include artists of such stature as Frederic Rzewski, Ken Ueno, and Tony Arnold, as well as ensembles like New York’s Varispeed, Mexico City’s Inner Pulse, Chicago’s Dal Niente, and Quince Contemporary Ensemble, with whom he conducted the Pittsburgh premiere of Luciano Berio’s Laborintus II in May of 2017.

Notable works include Memoria (commissioned by Ensemble Dal Niente for premiere in Bogota in their 2015 Latin American tour), Rendering for solo piano (commissioned by Pittsburgh’s New Hazlett Theatre for premiere by Danie Pesca), Bajo el Hechizo, for marimba, guitar, and piano, and Passacaglia for Orchestra on a Theme by J. S. Bach, first prize in the 2001 Colombian National Composition Competition. His output includes also solo works for cello, clarinet, flute, and guitar, a percussion concerto, and works for various chamber groupings.

Event Details

January 31, 2019 @ 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15212

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