First Look

Special bond brings international musician Angel Soria Diaz to Jamaica for a second time, Saxophonist to perform at Xaymaca on December 4

Breakthrough Communications | 2017-01-03 13:34:00

Spanish musician Angel Soría Diaz has had a love affair with Jamaica since his first visit last year.

For Soría, making music means sharing with others.

“Music can help [you to be] to be more generous. If you play without caring about the others the ‘magic’ of music could never happen,” said the Spain-born music educator.

He is the featured performer at the Xamayca concert by Peter Ashburn slated for Sunday, December 4.

Soría, last year hosted a classical music workshop with the Alpha Institute, which was spearheaded by the Embassy of Spain and the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation.

What is more, having discontinued its classical music programme at Alpha, Soría’s sessions last year provided a much needed boost to the learning experience of the students- many of whom had never listened to classical greats such as Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi or Beethoven.

“When we first told Alpha that Angel was not a reggae saxophonist, at the Embassy, we thought they were going to be disappointed, but they saw it as a better opportunity to show the students something different,” said Carmen Rives Ruiz-Tapiador, Chargee D’Affaires of the Embassy of Spain.

This time around, Soría’s workshops at Alpha will consist mainly of reading scores, conducting techniques and will see the students work on two pieces, “Adestes Fideles” and “Ave Maria” by Franz Schubert.

“In my opinion, this is the most profitable workshop I can bring to Alpha,” Soría said.

The musician, who has two Masters of Arts in musical performance and music education, believes that children who play musical instruments are likely to have higher self-esteem, confidence, discipline, concentration, and emotional intelligence than kids who don’t play instruments.

According to Soría, “last years’ experience was so enriching for everyone that we all felt that a second opportunity would enable us to build on the work that we had done last year and improve it.”

“In my opinion, one of the most important activities of a musician is travelling. While travelling, you can meet another culture, another society, and, of course, another way to feel the music,” Soría said. “I’m a classic-contemporary musician from Spain, and for me, the main objective of my visit to Jamaica is to share my experience with the country as much as to learn from the local people and the students I’m going to work with.”

He said he has been working with musicians who he met last year for several months to organise the classical concert to be held at Sts Peter and Paul Church at 2pm.

At Xayamca, Soría will conduct the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica, showcase the results of the workshop at Alpha, premier the new piece for saxophone and orchestra by Jamaican composer Peter Ashbourne with the Samuel Felsted Chamber Orchestra.

“Definitely the premier of the Peter Ashbourne’s new piece will be one of the most amazing things I’ve done as a musician,” Soría shared, adding that classical saxophone with a World premier by a Jamaican composer is going to be a very interesting mixture.

“Peter is one of the most renowned Jamaican composers and he has written a very interesting piece for alto saxophone and string orchestra.”

Soría is imploring Jamaicans to support the concert.

“The church can sit 600 people, so we are hoping Jamaicans come out with their families to experience this musical marriage between Jamaican and Spain,” added the saxophone professor at the Conservatorio Superior de Castilla y León, Spain.

Soría will also host a workshop at Kingston College with the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica to rehearse for the final concert. He will also participate in the ‘Jamming 4-Alpha’ at the Constant Spring-Golf Course on Thursday, December 1. 

The aim of The Spanish-Jamaican Foundation is to give back to Jamaica.

“The visit of Angel is also an opportunity to give thanks to the country that hosts us, both the Embassy and the investments of companies from Spain in Jamaica,” said Rives. “He is a generous and humble person; he doesn’t only come to teach, but to learn.”

Soría studied with Marcus Weiss at the Musik-Akademie Basel, where he finished his Master of Arts in musical Performance (2012) and Master of Arts in Musikpädagogik (2014).

He won several artistic scholarships, which have enabled him to grow up as a musician. Some of these came from Ministerio de Educación, Instituto Valenciano de la Música, Hochschule für Musik der Stadt Basel, Kiefer Hablitzel Stiftung, Nicati Stiftung, Kultur Rahn Founds, Lyra Stiftung or Juventudes musicales de España. He was winner of the I Concurso de Interpretación Ramón Guzmán, Juventudes Musicales de España and Concurso Yamaha de Cuarteto de saxofones.

He is member of Sigma Project, a quartet whose driving force is based on a strong commitment towards contemporary musical creation and research through their close collaboration with composers.

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