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Reverón Brings Venezuelan Music, Culture and Social History to Dickinson College

Portrait of members of Reveron

Venezuelan piano trio serves in-depth, multilayered artistic residency at Dickinson  

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

This week, the Reverón Piano Trio comes to campus to serve a multidisciplinary residency that includes not only small-group interactions with students and a free, public concert of Latin music but also free, public sessions on social and cultural history, and the neuroscience of successful learning. 

The Venezuelan trio (Simón Gollo, violin; Ana María Otamendi, piano; Horacio Contreras, cello) is named after Venezuelan modernist Armando Reverón, and its mission is to introduce global audiences to underrepresented chamber music from Latin America, alongside well-known classics and new music, while also providing cultural context behind the works. The idea is to not only provide audiences with a heightened appreciation for the music but also to deepen audience members’ understanding of Venezuelan culture and of the current crisis in that country. 

The trio has given recitals, lectures and masterclasses all across the United States; separately, Gollo, Otamendi and Contreras also teach at Louisiana State University, New Mexico State University and Lawrence University, respectively, and Gollo and Otamendi have led several successful music festivals. Gollo also actively advocates for Venezuelan musicians, who face difficulty during the ongoing crisis, as political forces that support and oppose President Nicolás Maduro struggle to gain control and as the rates of violence escalate.

Reverón begins its Dickinson residency on Thursday, Oct. 10, with a string/chamber music masterclass, followed by a presentation at Carlisle High School, and a 7 p.m. talk on the crisis in Venezuela and life as a musician and music student in their home country. On Friday, Oct. 11, Otamendi will share the latest research on how to learn new material efficiently—a subject she’s taught to music students at Louisiana State University and will present at an upcoming Music Teachers Association conference. She also will give a master class to Dickinson vocalists at 12:30 p.m. in Rubendall Recital Hall. 

The residency concludes on Sunday, Oct. 13, with a 4 p.m. concert in Rubendall Recital Hall, featuring Latin music that reaches far beyond salsa and merengue. Reverón will perform Crespo’s Trio, Op. 30; Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor by Villa-Lobos; Piazzollas’s Winter and Summer from Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas; and Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 49, by Enriques Granados with Professor of Music Blanka Bednarz on violin and Michael Stepniak of Shenandoah University playing viola.

View the full schedule of Reverón’s free, public events at Dickinson below. All events will be held in Rubendall Recital Hall.

Thursday, Oct. 10

  • Noon-1:30 p.m. – Masterclass with students in the string and chamber music ensembles.
  • 7 p.m. – Public lecture: Life as Latin Musicians in the U.S.: The Legacy of El Sistema, South American Culture, and Reverón’s Role as Venezuelan Ambassadors in the U.S. 

Friday, Oct. 11

  • 10:30-11:20 a.m. – Lecture: Learning Effectively: How to Practice and Learn New Material in any Subject More Efficiently
  • 12:30-1:30 p.m.– Vocal masterclass

Sunday, Oct. 13

  • 4 p.m.- Public performance, featuring Crespo’s Trio, Op. 30; Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor by Villa-Lobos; Piazzollas’s Winter and Summer from Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas, and Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 49 by Enriques Granados with Blanka Bednarz, violin, and Michael Stepniak, viola.

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Published October 10, 2019