Picasso Ensemble holds benefit concert for Nicaraguan library on April 26

by Contributed Content on April 22, 2012

A benefit concert by Picasso Ensemble will take place on Thursday, April 26 at 7:oo pm at Bethany Lutheran Church, Menlo Park. The event is an opportunity to enjoy a chamber music concert while supporting the children’s library in Nicaragua founded 12 years ago by Escondido Elementary School teacher, Kristina Mundera.

Following her two years with the Peace Corps in Nicaragua, Kristina began a small collection of books shared with the local children. It is now a flourishing two-building children’s library and preschool, built by local families and artisans, serving 200 children a day. It is sustained by contributions to the local  non-profit ABREN (A Book to Read Empowers Nicaraguans.)

The Picasso Ensemble is composed of professional performers, active in major musical organizations from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. The group includes Menlo Park resident, pianist Jodi Gandolfi; violinist Susan C. Brown (faculty member of Cabrillo College); cellist Victoria Ehrlich (member of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra); and mezzo-soprano Wendy Hillhouse (faculty member at Stanford University.)

The benefit concert will offer a wide range of music from the Baroque to the present based on themes celebrating nature and care of the earth. Music of earlier eras will be represented by Rameau’s musical depiction of an earthquake, Handel’s representation of nature’s peace, Turina’s chronicling the unfolding of a day as the sun makes its way across the sky, and Ravel’s musical re-telling of fairy tales set in enchanted forest and garden through his beloved Mother Goose Suite.

Music of more recent times will include selections from California composers Henry Cowell, Karen Linford, and D’Arcy Reynolds. The program includes several songs with nature themes by Cowell, one of the great innovators in music, who was born and raised in Menlo Park. Karen Linford, choral conductor and composer on the faculty at Menlo School is represented by her songs based on texts in Spanish written by elementary school children at the Castro School, Mountain View.  D’Arcy Reynolds, a San Francisco Bay Area composer, offers her new work, Rediscovering Eden.

Suggested donation at the door is $20 general admission; $10 students.

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