LAWRENCE DELCASALE, Guitarist
Lawrence Del Casale
“Mr. Del Casale is a solid, musicianly player who performs eloquently.” The New York Times
\"Lawrence Del Casale plays this music admirably with clean technique and with an ear for bringing out the music\'s contrasts. “Zenobia, The Music of Ernesto Cordero” is an unqualified success” Fanfare
“Mr. Del Casale’s recording, Zenobia,, is a handsome introduction to the music of one of Puerto Rico\'s outstanding composers, one whose music is marked by a cool lyric quality that comes through very strongly in the sensitive interpretations of this highly simpatico artist” Atlanta Audio Society
Mr. Del Casale performs regularly as a soloist but his love for the ensemble format as demonstrated on his CD, Zenobia, has afforded Mr. Del Casale the opportunity to work with a variety of distinguished artists including, Gustavo Colina, Marco Granados, Gerry Saulter, Michelle La Porte, Ilya Martinez, and his distinguished vocal partner, Ms. Sarah Long, soprano. Most notably it is his association with the Brazilian Guitar virtuoso Maestro Carlos Barbosa-Lima with whom he has assisted in duo recital since 2003 that Mr. Del Casale is recognized. In April 2008, Mr. Del Casale had the honor to perform with Barbosa-Lima at the maestro’s 50th Anniversary Concert at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.
Most recently, Mr. Del Casale has been invited to perform at the New York Guitar Seminar at the Mannes College of Music in June, 2008 where he will perform the Preludios Primaverales by Ernesto Cordero.
From 1999 to 2003 Mr. Del Casale presided as Artistic Director and promoter of The Aranjuez Guitar Series, a successful classical guitar series held exclusively at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall under the auspices of the guitar impresario, Juan Orozco creator of Aranjuez Strings.
In 1999 Mr. Del Casale formed Ensemble Americas with guitarist, Richard Jacobowski and renowned percussionist, Chico Mendoza. Ensemble Americas made their debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on October 2, 1999. Since then Mr. Del Casale and Ensemble Americas have performed as featured artists at guitar festivals and concert series’ including the Orvieto Guitar Festival in Italy.
Mr. Del Casale has performed on major radio stations including WQXR, 96.3 and WNYC, 93.9 in New York City and on the Cablevision program, The Guitar Show. In 1997 Mr. Del Casale was the featured artist in a retrospective concert of the music of Ernesto Cordero at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall sponsored in large part by a grant from the D’Addario Foundation for the Performing Arts. This same concert event culminated with Mr. Del Casale’s CD recording (MSRCD.com) Zenobia, Music of Ernesto Cordero. Mr. Del Casale has been an invited guest artist to the University of Puerto Rico presenting a series of concerts and lectures on the music of Ernesto Cordero.
Mr. Del Casale is a graduate of The Mannes College of Music where he studied under the eminent Albert Valdes-Blain and later with guitar virtuoso, Michael Newman. Mr. Del Casale has taught Music for the New York City Board of Education and is currently a full time Music Teacher and Choral Director in the Peekskill Community School District, in Westchester County. Mr. Del Casale teaches privately in Northern Westchester where he resides. As an author Mr. Del Casale has written feature articles/interviews for Classical Guitar, U.K, and Soundboard magazine.
ERNESTO CORDERO, Composer
Composer and guitarist Ernesto Cordero (born in 1946 in New York and raised in Puerto Rico) has composed a large rich catalogue where he has embraced the music of the Caribbean and used its Afro-Hispanic flavor as a basis for his own language. He has written seven concertos (four for guitar, one for violin/mandolin, one for flute-piccolo and one for the Puerto Rican cuatro), a variety of chamber works in which the guitar appears in diverse ensembles and numerous guitar solos, some of which have become standards. He has received important awards for composition and his music is performed and recorded worldwide by the finest artist. To date, there are more than forty recordings of Cordero\'s works and all of his several dozen compositions that include the guitar, have been published appearing under the banners of leading publishers, for example; Max Eschig (France), Berben (Italy), Chanterelle, Antes Edition and Hubertus Nogatz (Germany), Doberman-yppan (Canada), Mel-Bay Publications and Boosey and Hawkes (USA).
Although Ernesto Cordero is now generally known only as a composer, the New York Times reviewer Peter G. Davis highly acclaimed Ernesto Cordero\'s January 1978 New York Carnegie Recital Hall debut as a guitarist and as a composer: \"His technique is impeccable, remarkable for its finger independence and ability to clarify and articulate the most complex textures. The colorist variety of his playing is also extensive, and the subtle interplay of tonal nuances gave each piece a solid musical profile as well as supplying a beguiling sensuous wash of sound\". Of Cordero\'s compositions, the New York Times review said, \"...like Mr. Cordero\'s performances they projected a healthy combination of skill, sensitive invention and sound musical effect\".
Milestones for Ernesto Cordero have been the performances and recordings of his guitar concertos: the 1978 and 1983 premieres in Puerto Rico of the Concierto Evocativo and the Concierto Antillano, the 1988 performance of the Concierto Antillano in Paris by the Philharmonic of Radio France under the baton of his close friend and colleague Leo Brouwer, and the 1991 premiere at the Sixth International Congress of Guitar in Mettmann, Germany of the Concierto Bayoán. Ernesto Cordero\'s countrymen Iván Rijos, Leonardo Egúrbida and Juan Sorroche have all performed his concertos, as have leading international performers including, Angel Romero, Carlos Barbosa Lima, Manuel Barruecos, Costas Cotsiolis, Eduardo Fernández, Pepe Romero and Alírio Díaz. The Concierto Antillano, has been recorded three times, first by Costas Cotsiolis and the Philharmonic Orchestra of liege directed by Leo Brouwer (Música Viva MV 88.045), later by Carlos Barbosa Lima (Concord CCD-42048-2), and more recently by Angel Romero who made a video of the Concerto (Corporación de las Artes Musicales). Presently, the San Juan Orchestra directed by Roselín Pabón has recorded \"Tres Conciertos del Caribe\", an all Cordero CD which presents the Concierto Evocativo with Leonardo Egúrbida as guitar soloist, the Concierto Bayoán with Iván Rijos as guitar soloist and the Concierto Criollo with Edwin Colón Zayas as soloist on the cuatro, the characteristically Puerto Rican folk lute which is double strung with metal strings like the mandolin or the bandúrria (Tropical Concerti CD).
Ernesto Cordero began his higher studies in 1963 when he entered the Conservatory of Music in Puerto Rico and he continued at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid, Spain where he earned a diploma in 1971. Subsequently, he did post-graduate work in composition with Roberto Caggiano in Rome, Italy from 1972 to 1974 and with Julian Orbón in New York from 1977 to 1978. He first studied guitar from 1961 to 1964 with Jorge Rubiano and he later worked with several teachers, most importantly Regino Sainz de la Maza in Spain in the 60s and Alírio Díaz and Claudio de Angelis in Italy in 1972. Since 1971 he taught composition and guitar at the music department of the University of Puerto Rico. In addition to his activities as composer, performer and teacher, Ernesto Cordero, was music director since 1980 to 1997 of the International Guitar Festival of Puerto Rico. He is in demand throughout the world as a distinguished participant in leading competitions and festivals.
Michael Lorimer, New York, NY 1997