Symphony Space Live Hear It ALL
Now Playing:
Bongo Passion
facebook icon twitter icon google plus icon
Listen Everywhere

Symphony Space Live is now on Soundcloud so our programs can easily be played on any mobile device!

Having trouble listening in Safari? Here are instructions on how to play Soundcloud in Safari.

Follow Us

This project is funded by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, through the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

+ About the Performance
This program was recorded 10/28/2010 at Symphony Space.

Electrifying works with bongo by Roberto Sierra, Alfonso Fuentes, and Raymond Torres are core to this cross-over program bringing rich Caribbean culture into the realm of classical music.

Featuring unique solos and different combinations of the clarinet, bassoon, cello, piano, and bongos, the program will range from Fuentes' Grammy-nominated "Voces el Barrio" for clarinet solo and "Mejunje del fagobongo" for bassoon and bongos, to Sierra's "Salsa on the C string" for cello and piano and Torres' Hollywood-inspired trio for clarinet, cello, and piano.

The lively dances of the Caribbean- bomba, plena, salsa, mambo- are a constant inspiration in this program, which ends closer to home with the boogie-woogie of "Sonata" by Sierra. "Bongo Pasión," the work for bongos by Fuentes that gives name to the program, is a World Premiere.

Featuring Oskar Espina Ruiz, clarinet; Saxton Rose, bassoon; Luis Miguel Rojas, cello; Andrew Lázaro, bongos; and Rafael Sueiras, piano. The performance is in collaboration with the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music, founded by Pablo Casals, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.




Bongo-0 (1982, rev. 2003)

Roberto Sierra (1953)

Andrew Lázaro, bongos


Con tres, for clarinet, bassoon, and piano (1990)

Roberto Sierra (1953)

I. Pasacallejera

II. Adagio lírico

III. Un motivo para establecer algunas diferencias (A motive to establish some differences)

Espina Ruiz, clarinet; Rose, bassoon; Sueiras, piano


Voces del Barrio (Voices from the Latin Ghetto) (2006)

Alfonso Fuentes (1954)

I. De la calle (From the streets)

II. Pritikín pin pon

III. Clamor de piel pandero (Moan of the frame drum skin)

Espina Ruiz, clarinet


Bongo Pasión WORLD PREMIERE (2010)

Alfonso Fuentes (1954)

Lázaro, bongos


Trio for clarinet, cello, and piano (1998)

Raymond Torres-Santos (1958)

I. Visión sublime (Sublime Vision)

II. Palmeras (Palm Trees)

Espina Ruiz, clarinet; Rojas, cello; Sueiras, piano


Salsa on the C String for Cello and Piano (1981)

Roberto Sierra (1953)

Rojas, cello; Sueiras, piano


Mejunje del fagobongo (Bassoon-Bongo Mix) (2006)

Alfonso Fuentes (1954)

Rose, bassoon; Lázaro, bongos


Sonata for Clarinet and Piano (2006)

Roberto Sierra (1953)

I. Salseado

II. Delicado y expresivo

III. Enérgico 

IV. Veloz (with swing)

Espina Ruiz, clarinet; Sueiras, piano


+ About the Artists

All five performing artists are current or former faculty at the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Oskar Espina Ruiz has been described by the press as a “masterful soloist” and a “highly expressive” clarinetist who “brings forth the notes with an energy that reaches down to one’s soul.” Over the past nine years Espina Ruiz has performed at major concert halls and festivals to high critical acclaim.

Bassoonist Saxton Rose’s virtuosic and innovative interpretations of traditional repertoire and his dedication to new music have afforded him a prolific and varied career as soloist, and orchestral and chamber musician. Rose is Artist/Professor of Bassoon at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and the principal bassoonist of the Winston-Salem Symphony.

Venezuelan cellist Luis Miguel Rojas got his initial training in El Sistema as a member of the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar. Currently principal cellist of the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, he has appeared as soloist in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean.

One of the foremost bongoists of our time, Andrew Lázaro, a graduate of Indiana University, has collaborated with George Crumb, Juan Orrego Salas, Tania León, Mario Lavista, Eddie Gómez, and Danilo Pérez.

Pianist Rafael Sueiras was trained in Puerto Rico with Jesús María Sanromá, Amaury Veray, Héctor Campos Parsi and others. He has collaborated with numerous artists and organizations, including Ópera de Puerto Rico, Culturarte, and Festival Interamericano de las Artes.


About the Composers:

All three composers are Puerto Rico Conservatory alumni.

Alfonso Fuentes, a composer, pianist, poet, and educator, was nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2009 for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. His music, which includes works for orchestra, ensembles, and solos, has been performed by the Warsaw Symphony, Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba, Aulos Wind Quintet, Warsaw Wind Quintet, Camerata Caribe, “Transit,” and Inocente Carreño String Quartet, as well as faculty members of the Universities of Michigan, North Carolina, Colorado University at Boulder, and the National Conservatory of Guatemala. His music has been heard at festivals in Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba, Holland, Germany, Austria, Poland, Israel, England, United States, and Puerto Rico. Fuentes graduated from the Puerto Rico Conservatory and the New England Conservatory in Boston.

Composer Roberto Sierra studied composition in Europe, notably with György Ligeti in Hamburg, Germany. He came to prominence in 1987 when his first major orchestral composition, Júbilo, was performed at Carnegie Hall by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Since then, his works have been performed by the orchestras of San Francisco, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Detroit, San Antonio, and Phoenix, by the American Composers Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra (United States), the Kronos Quartet, Continuum, England’s BBC Symphony, Wolf Trap, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Festival Casals of Puerto Rico, France’s Festival de Lille, the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, and Germany’s Neue Musik Bonn. Sierra’s Missa Latina was premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., conducted by Leonard Slatkin to considerable acclaim. Sierra is a professor at Cornell University where he teaches composition.

Composer and conductor Raymond Torres-Santos has received international recognition for the quality of his musical compositions and great talents as a pianist, arranger, producer, and conductor. Currently the Dean of the College of the Arts and Communication at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, Dr. Torres-Santos’ catalog of compositions range from orchestral and chamber music, to electronic, ballet, and popular music for film, theater, television, and radio. His compositions have been performed by the American Composers Orchestra, Boston Pops, Pacific Symphony, Bronx Arts Ensemble, New Jersey Chamber Music Society, Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, and the orchestras of Mexico City, London, and Vienna, as well as at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico.

Explore the Archive