“It began about 15 months ago with a wonderful performance I heard featuring James Carter and Roberto Sierra’s Caribbean Rhapsody at the Oregon Symphony!” On the eve of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s August 27 world premiere of Caribbean Rhapsody’s new chamber orchestra version, conductor Sarah Ioannides shares some thoughts about Sierra’s popular work. The performance features internationally known saxophonist James Carter, who in 2002, who premiered the work its original chamber ensemble version with the Detroit Symphony. Ioannides conducts this chamber orchestra premiere as part of the ensemble’s “SummerMusik” Festival.
Ioannides continues. “When I was selected as a finalist for the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s Music Director Search, I was seeking a diverse, eclectic and exciting program, full of newness and collaboration. I was looking for the right partners to match [my programming ideas], and had seen the synergy between James Carter, the Oregon Symphony and the audience — all resulting from James’ and Roberto’s partnership. I love Latin American music, and reaching out to these artists was a natural choice. I was looking for a new work to balance a program [featuring] Milhaud’s La Création du Monde and Poulenc’s Sinfonietta, works that are both romantic and fresh — even today. [I was drawn] to the influences that parallel both Sierra and Milhaud’s exploration to incorporate jazz into their own classical and national heritages. I found the idea most compelling. Both [Sierra and Milhaud] were influenced by jazz, [and] with mastery and virtuosity, they found ways to create new paths and new styles. Roberto and James’ abilities to fuse the worlds of jazz and Latin American music with classical training are electrifying. It is a great honor for me to bring this world premiere performance to life with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra on this special occasion.”