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Mozart Gabriel got a big surprise when talking with Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo: Both trace their ancestries to Taos Pueblo. The connection led to an exhilarating task for Gabriel and his wife: Helping to create an 11-plus-minute video for the band's song "Inamorata."

The times they are a-changin' in the white-male-dominated worlds of classical music and opera, with two big-screen events that demonstrate the change playing here — the feature film Chevalier, about 18th-century Black composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, and Champion, a new piece by jazz composer Terence Blanchard about the troubled life of boxer Emile Griffith, on the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD broadcast series.

Chamber music from four centuries is being performed on Tuesday, April 25, by the Santa Fe Symphony's four principal string players in a very unique chamber — three environments within Meow Wolf, in a promenade-style concert.

The Santa Fe Symphony brings a breath of youth to its celebration of Earth Day.

Chris Botti has rubbed elbows with some of the biggest names in popular music and become one of the best-selling instrumental artists in America. The Grammy Award-winner took some time out to visit with Pasatiempo and reflect on his storied career ahead of his April 10 performance at the Lensic.

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The New Mexico Gay Men's Chorus will transform the Lensic Performing Arts Center into an arena rock venue with its Friday, March 31, concert The Show Must Go On, a tribute to the seminal rock band Queen and the songs written by Freddie Mercury and Brian May. 

Laetitia Tamko, better known by her recording sobriquet Vagabon, is preparing a new album and gearing up for an appearance as the opening act for Weyes Blood at Meow Wolf on Wednesday, March 29.

Random Acts

Viva Vivaldi

The Jupiter Ensemble is a hot young classical music group that specializes in old music played with energy, precision, and lots of improvisation; their all-Vivaldi program on Tuesday, March 21 is a rare local chance to hear Baroque music played as it might have been heard three centuries ago.

Four works for string orchestra are featured on Santa Fe Pro Musica's March 11 and 12 concert program, which boasts a world premiere by wunderkind Xavier Foley, his Victory Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra, in which he'll also be the featured soloist.

Tanya Tucker has seen country music trends come and go, and she’s outlasted them all. The outlaw country star will bring her decades worth of chart-topping hits to the Lensic Performing Arts Center for one evening only on March 15.

Albuquerque resident Raven Chacon won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Music with his Voiceless Mass for orchestra and pipe organ. Now it's coming to Albuquerque, on a Saturday, March 4, concert by the Friends of Cathedral Music at downtown's Cathedral of St. John.

New Mexico Performing Arts Society's upcoming concert features one of J.S. Bach's great sacred cantatas and the world premiere of Aaron Alter's Earth Cantata, a new piece inspired by Bach's style that makes use of elements from jazz and rock as well as classical music.

Raven Chacon is an accomplished visual and multi-media artist, as well as a composer, and his scores often include or consist of graphic elements that go far beyond tr…

It's world premiere morning on Saturday, Feb. 25, when Chatter gives the inaugural performance of Sarah Hennies' Reservoir 3: Confirmation at Site Santa Fe. It just may be the music world's first piece for an ensemble of one violinist and four cellists.

When husband-and-wife folk duo Ordinary Elephant performs at Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery, it will be a visit for the southern Louisiana band but a homecoming for some of the songs they'll perform. 

One of the music world's preeminent solo cellists, Alisa Weilerstein, led a session for nine pre-college students from the area on Jan. 30, demonstrating her skills as a music coach, acting teacher, and psychologist while noticeably improving the performance skills of the aspiring musicians.

"Highly anticipated" is an over-used phrase in concert promotion, but it definitely applies to pianist Richard Goode's Feb. 21 concert. He's one of the world's top Beethoven interpreters and his program consists of three late Beethoven works, including the monumental Diabelli Variations.

Santa Fe doesn't get to hear many of the epic musical works from the Romantic era, apart from the summer opera season, so the Santa Fe Symphony's upcoming performance of Hector Berlioz' Roméo et Juliette is both a rare opportunity and a logistics puzzle, with 174 performers to fit on the Lensic stage.

Santa Fe Pro Musica’s contribution to the Art + Sol festival is a concert by the acclaimed Dover Quartet, featuring a bedrock work of the string quartet genre, Antonín Dvořák’s “Slavonic” Quartet No. 10, plus George Walker’s 1946 String Quartet No. 1 and Mason Bates’ 2022 Suite for String Quartet.

Susan Graham, Santa Fe's favorite mezzo-soprano, and the Music from Copland House Ensemble, making their local debut, team up for performances of three contemporary chamber music works. The centerpiece is A Standing Witness, a 75-minute survey of American history from 1968 to the pandemic by composer Richard Danielpour and librettist Rita Dove.

Area singers have a chance to sing gospel music under the direction of  a nationally recognized expert during the FebFest of African American music. 

He was just a talented kid thrust into an unfamiliar position by his diligence and preparation. Five decades later, Eric Henderson is still touring and mining the skills he learned from Spanish guitar master Andrés Segovia.

There's something to please just about every musical taste on Santa Fe Pro Musica's Winter Orchestra Concert. For new music lovers, there's the area premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis' Earth. Tenor fans get Nicholas Phan, soloist in Earth. Musical archeologists get a symphony by Joseph Bologne, an unjustly neglected 18th-century Black composer. For those seeking an energy fix, Mozart's "Haffner" Symphony and Falla's "Ritual Fire Dance" will be just the ticket.

Ever gone to a concert with new work and wondered, "What was the composer thinking?" Now you can find out in advance, at least for the New Mexico Performing Arts Society's presentation of Aaron Alter's Earth Cantata, at a meet-the-composer event about a month before the world premiere takes place.

In an era of such celebrated French polymaths as Voltaire and Beaumarchais, Joseph Bologne certainly stood in their company, as many contemporary reports indicated. 

Tony Furtado likes working with his hands — whether it's writing songs on his banjo, performing to appreciative crowds, or creating sculptures. The artist performs Saturday, Jan. 21, at San Miguel Chapel.

Random Acts

The Axman cometh

Los Alamos promises to be the site of some very high-level pianism on Sunday, Jan. 22, with a solo recital for the Los Alamos Concert Association by the legendary Emanuel Ax.

The Modern Jazz Quartet was one of the most important and highly regarded groups working in the genre for several decades and its "third stream" style was created by pianist and Albuquerque native John Lewis. The Aaron Diehl Trio and guest vibraphonist Jason Marsalis reinterpret the MJQ songbook in a Jan. 19 concert at the Lensic.

There was only one Aretha Franklin, a point made clear with the new tribute show R.E.S.P.E.C.T., which has a total of four vocalists, plus a live band, to tell her story and perform her most famous songs.

Junior Brown will showcase his unique guitar playing and many original songs during a performance with his wife, Tanya Rae Brown, in Madrid.

Violinist Colin Jacobsen, Santa Fe Pro Musica’s new artistic director, is on a mission to widen the classical music tent. He’s just as comfortable programming works written by a contemporary American jazz great or a composer from the classical Indian Odissi dance form or by a Syrian clarinet virtuoso as he is with the Eurocentric tradition, so future Pro Musica seasons will start to take on a more global sensibility.

You can celebrate New Year's Eve with superstar countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo (last seen in Santa Fe as a vampire in The Lord of Cries at the Santa Fe Opera) in music by Handel, Gershwin, and Beethoven with conductor-pianist Joe Illick and the NYE Orchestra at the Lensic.

The Santa Fe Symphony and the Santa Fe Opera seem to be creating our town's newest holiday tradition, a Christmas Eve concert of opera excerpts featuring members of the opera's apprentice program for singers.

Necessity was the mother of invention for Santa Fe Pro Musica, which has created a six-performance festival devoted to J.S. Bach at St. Francis Auditorium to replace its traditional holiday concerts at Loretto Chapel.

One of our holiday season’s more charming events is the annual children’s Messiah offered by Maxine Thévenot and her choral group Polyphony: Voices of New Mexico. 

If you're in a holiday music rut, our recommendations for alternative tunes will recharge the season with options classical or comical, soulful or syncopated.

If your holiday memories are indelibly tied to a Christmas LP or two that you tossed long ago, you're in luck. A company called Christmas LPs to CDs can almost certainly provide you with the record, along with a digital copy of it on CD or MP3 download. Its inventory is extraordinary.

The Santa Fe Women's Ensemble's upcoming holiday concerts include a commissioned work, one of 40 the group has performed since its founding in 1981, as well as carols from five different European traditions and some contemporary interpretations of seasonal texts.

Foursomes of singers from the Santa Fe Desert Chorale will be offering holiday carols at six Santa Fe locations during mid-January, as free gifts to the community during the end of its 40th season.

Española native Santiago Alberto has made a name for himself in the music world in Los Angeles. On Dec. 2, he'll take the stage solo in Santa Fe for only the second time.

Michael Martin Murphey's 1991 album Cowboy Christmas: Cowboy Songs II inspired several sequels, as well as Murphey's series of holiday performances. He plays Dec. 3 at St. Francis Auditorium.

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Processed instruments, quadraphonic sound, and field recordings are among the distinctive elements of a new monthly series focused on experimental music.

Although Hermanos Gutiérrez is based in Switzerland, the band's music can be described as a soundtrack to a Southwestern journey. 

You know the holidays aren't far off when the Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus perform Handel's Messiah. By Santa Fe tradition it's first out of the gate in the seasonal sweepstakes, this year on Saturday, Nov. 19, and Sunday, Nov. 20, at the Lensic Performing Arts Center.

A Santa Fe man has parlayed his passion for music into a record label, Mama Mañana Records.

One of the jazz world's greatest living pianists, George Cables, is heading to Santa Fe for a gig sponsored by the Santa Fe Music Collective and featuring the members of his trio, bassist Essiet Essiet and drummer Jerome Jennings.

Music groups love to talk about talking their audiences on an emotional journey, but the Santa Fe Symphony is going one step farther and taking patrons on a physical journey, with Rite this Way. It's a chamber music concert that begins in the Santa Fe Scottish Rite Center's theater and ends in its ballroom, with a champagne break at the midpoint.

What has 16 strings and two vocal cords? The Escher String Quartet and soprano Susanna Phillips, featured artists in a unique program of chamber music for string quartet and voice at St. Francis Auditorium on Sunday, Oct. 30.

It's wall-to-wall Tchaikovsky with the New Mexico Philharmonic's three-concert Tchaikovsky Festival at Albuquerque's Popejoy Hall, with performances on Oct. 15, 16, and 22.

The Santa Fe Symphony's upcoming concert includes Ernst von Dohnányi's delightful Variations on a Nursery Song (it's "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"), as well as Cesar Franck's Symphonic Variations and the suite from Igor Stravinsky's ground-breaking ballet The Firebird.