A musical brawl between good and evil takes to the Ambassador Auditorium stage in Pasadena, California, this Sunday, Dec. 11 for the world premiere of Lucha Libre! by composer and CalArts alum Juan Pablo Contreras (Music BFA 10) and presented by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO).
Lucha Libre! kicks off SHAHAM + CONTRERAS, the second of LACO’s three Sound Investment season premieres. The work is Contreras’ musical ode to Mexican freestyle wrestling and its legendary luchadores, featuring fictional competitors envisioned by the composer and his wife Marisa. Contreras discussed the work’s concept on Instagram:
It’s a musical battle between six orchestral musicians. I chose three rudos (bad guys) and three técnicos (good guys) …. Each one of them has their own name, their own melody. In fact, you’ll be able to hear each theme as a separate track on the album, and then listen to Lucha Libre!, which is the complete match. You’ll be able to recognize each character, how its melody faces another melody, how they fight each other, and how they interact.
Listen to the Lucha Libre! track “La Kalva” above.
Contreras’ premiere is followed by performances by violinist Gil Shaham, who will perform a Dvořák concerto and works by Ligeti, Bartók, and Kodály. The evening program is conducted by Jaime Martín.
Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Contreras is a Latin Grammy Award-nominated composer and recording artist whose works have been performed at 30 major orchestras around the globe. He was appointed a Sound Investment composer by LACO for its 2019-2020 cycle, and joined fellow CalArtian Ellen Reid (Music MFA 11) for a virtual salon conversation hosted by the Sound Investment commissioning program in 2020. The following year, he founded the Orquesta Latino Mexicana, an “ensemble dedicated to performing and recording new music by Latinx composers.” This past October, Contreras was awarded the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Music.
CalArts students and staff may use the code LACOLuv_23 to receive 20% off select seats for SHAHAM + CONTRERAS.