MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Jimmy López Bellido’s Ephemerae

Javier Perianes and the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo led by Alexander Shelley recently gave the South American premiere of Jimmy López Bellido’s synesthesia-inspired piano concerto Ephemerae — available for the next few weeks from the stream captured above. The program also includes Jessie Montgomery’s Coincident Dances and Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony From the New World.

Perianes gave the world premiere of Ephemerae on 23 January 2022 at Royal Festival Hall with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Jonathan Berman (filling in at the very last minute for the originally scheduled conductor, Klaus Mäkelä). The brilliant and busy composer is also looking forward to unveiling his Symphony No. 3, which the Reno Philharmonic will premiere on  7 and 8 May 2022 under the baton of Laura Jackson. And for the Berkeley Symphony’s 50th anniversary, he has written Rise, which the orchestra and its chief conductor Joseph Young will premiere on 12 June 2022.

The composer writes: “Fragrances may be amongst the most fleeting and ethereal sensations most sentient beings experience in their daily lives. They come in a myriad of varieties, making them incredibly hard to verbalize and categorize. Although elusive, they are also capable of making lasting impressions, remaining in our memory long after they are gone. The perfume industry has found ways to harness their power by meticulously studying them and classifying them. Michael Edwards’ Fragrance Wheel is perhaps the most known successful attempt and has become an industry standard. Divided into three movements, Ephemerae journeys along the whole fragrance spectrum, from the high floral, fruity, and marine tones, all the way to the dark tones of dry and mossy woods…”

Filed under: Jimmy López, music news, piano

World Premiere of Dreamers


If you can’t make the world premiere of Dreamers this weekend by composer Jimmy López and playwright Nilo Cruz, don’t miss the live stream of Sunday afternoon’s concert (3pm West Coast time). Esa-Pekka Salonen is the conductor.

For more background, here’s my preview of a work that could not be more timely.

Filed under: Cal Performances, Jimmy López, new music

Dreamers at Cal Performances


My story on a major upcoming new premiere by Jimmy López in collaboration with Nilo Cruz has been posted here.

Music Makes the Dream Reality:
A New Oratorio Inspired by the Immigrant Experience

It has been a few years since composer Jimmy López and playwright Nilo Cruz first conceived their latest collaboration, the oratorio Dreamers. But the message behind this musical-dramatic reflection on the challenges faced by undocumented immigrants seems to become more pressingly relevant every day. The work, which was commissioned by Cal Performances and receives its highly anticipated world premiere March 17 in Zellerbach Hall, pays homage to the experiences of Berkeley students who were brought to the United States as children and now face uncertain legal status.


Filed under: Cal Performances, Jimmy López, Nilo Cruz

Within and Without: Addressing Citizenship through Artistic Engagement

Cal Performances at Berkeley has an especially compelling season lined up and is genuinely engaged with issues critical to our time — including the premiere of a new work commissioned by composer Jimmy López and writer-playwright Nilo Cruz. Here’s my preview:

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Filed under: Cal Performances, Jimmy López, Uncategorized

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