Did you know we have a world-class composer in our midst? Check his new work out on Sunday

Composer Robert J. BradshawAward-winning, local, world-class composer Rob Bradshaw’s new work premieres this Sunday 5/5 at Gordon Chapel with 2 performances at 2:30 and 5pm.  You may know Rob from over 20 works commissioned and performed about Cape Ann, including the cantata commemorating the Middle Street Fire, Requiem for Rockport and music for the dedication of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives statue and Schooner Adventure.

Beyond Gloucester, Rob’s works have been performed all over the world from Bangkok, Thailand, to Sydney, Australia.  In America, his works have been heard in many prestigious venues including Lincoln Center and during The Kennedy Center’s 2010 International VSA Festival at the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Sidney Harman Hall.

Here’s what he says about Las Apariencias Engañan, which premieres on Saturday as part of The Northeast Massachusetts Youth Orchestras Spring Afternoon Concert.  This concert is free and open to the public and appeals to all ages.  Each concert will last between an hour and two hours and both will be followed by a reception after the performance. The NMYO Silent Auction will take place during the concerts as well.

Las Apariencias Engañan, for orchestra, is inspired by Afro-Cuban Bembe rhythms.  These rhythms, widely performed throughout Latin America, have dramatically influenced American popular music but have been lost in their original form for most listeners.  This composition is intended to provide a fun and exciting way to help reintroduce this wonderful music to musicians and audiences.
As with all of my music, this work has a strong educational component and is intended to raise social awareness – in this case, of how Latin  American music has influenced (and continues to influence) American  music.Adam Hayes (Berry College) asked me to write a work inspired by  Afro-Cuban Bembe Rhythms.  If you are familiar with Latin American  music, you know that the “clave” rhythm (and many variations) is an integral part of the music and culture.  What you may or may not  know is that these rhythms are also found throughout American music.   We play them over different meters and this had led to Americans  losing both the knowledge of our rhythmic heritage and more  importantly, often the ability to even play or understand these  wonderful rhythms in their original form.Although not a Bembe per se, every rhythm in the work is directly inspired by the rhythm of this style and common variations.  For  many months, I have been working closely with percussion faculty and  other experts in the field, learning how to assimilate this style into my own work.
CiR:  As Composer in Residence with the Northeast Massachusetts Youth Orchestras it is my responsibility to teach students about the craft of composition and to inspire them to explore creativity through music.  We work on a composition project each year where the students create elements of a larger work that I assemble and they perform at their May Concert.

2 comments

  • He is also a very nice guy and has a beautiful family.

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  • Great article. It was an honor to have Rob premiering his wonderful opera, “.Gabriel” Sydney in 2010 ( for International Trumpet Guild Conference). All the artists from Opera Australia, who performed he work, were impressed by his music and thrilled to be part of such an exciting project. And yes, he is also a very nice guy. You SHOULD treasure him greatly.

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