The MMG’s Multicultural Music Encounters annual series (MME) is the professional component of the Multicultural Music Group. Since 1996 the MMG has produced an annual concert series in which composers from different cultures are commissioned to write a symphonic piece that presents a major historical event from a particular region of the world which had with minor media and/or curricular exposure. The Multicultural Music Encounters (MME) have been a success for the development of new symphonic repertoire with a multicultural focus and the support of cultural awareness in the NYC communities.
The MME has presented music symposiums focused on the musics from Indonesia; Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, China, the Middle East, the United States, and Africa. The symposiums presented workshops for music educators emphasizing on how to perform these musical styles in the conventional settings of public schools. In addition to the music symposiums, the MMG presented at the legendary Avery Fisher Hall a tribute to the music of Charlie Palmieri, one of the greatest pianists of Puerto Rican descent and also another tribute to the music of Latin American composers at a sold out concert at the Saint Peters Church. In recent years we had the privilege of working with great artists such as ten times Grammy Award Winner Mr. Eddie Palmieri, Blues and Jazz superstar Mr. Olu Dara, and Klezmer Ambassador Mr. Frank London.
We also have added social and musical themes to our concerts giving a local and global perspective to the presentations. Some of the themes were: the use of improvisation in different cultures, the combination of artists from different generations bringing audiences together into the same presentation, and the panel/concert/reflection perspective in which scholars discuss a historical event which will be presented later in a symphonic concert and consequently analyzed in an aesthetic reflection.
For 2013/14 – MME XII: “La Lucha Sigue”
June 12th, 2014: Dancer, Singer, Percussionist & Master Historian Mr. Alex La Salle presented his historical research of Puerto Rican music: Cultura, Raices y Evolucion.
June 13th, 2014: Colombian folklorist Mr. Pablo Mayor and the premier of his new orchestral composition “El Bogotazo” depicted the social and political events of the late 1940’s in Bogota, Colombia.
June 14th, 2014: A tribute to hall of fame player and humanist Roberto Clemente. Emphasis was presented on the efforts to retire his number from the major league’s roster, Grammy award winner Mr. Robert Navarro was the composer for this endeavour.
For 2014/15 – MME XIII: “Decisions”
“The Challenge: Tiananmen Square” by Chinese-American composer, Jason Kao Hwang. This commission will depict the incidents occurred in Beijing, China in 1989 during the students’ protests for speech and press freedom.
“Decree 900: The AFC’s Nightmare” by Guatemalan Composer Sergio Reyes. This presentation will highlight the agrarian reforms that triggered the events that led to the drastic deposition of Guatemalan President Mr. Jacobo Arbenz in 1954.
“Allende: In Peace We Trust” – by Chilean Composers Fernando & Alex Garcia. This composition will depict the peaceful movement of Salvador Allende in order to change Chilean economic and political systems in the 1970’s.
For 2015/16 – MME XIV: “The Indigenous People of the Americas”
“The Last Taino Battle: The South Bronx” by William Cepeda
“The Eroded Soul of the Houma People” we are consulting to obtain the services of Louisiana’s Composer Donald Harrison for this commission
“Chiapas: Passport Required” – we are consulting to obtain the services of Mexican Composer Arturo Marquez for this commission
The structure of the presentations has an hour of panel discussion, a 45 minutes to an hour of commissioned work performance and the performance reflection for approximately 30 minutes. This last section gives the opportunity to the audience, musicians, panel members, the conductor, and the composer to express their opinions, emotions and affective reflections towards the music/history connection. This section and the panel is moderated by Dr. Luis Mojica, a composer, educator and an urban community leader for the past 25 years.
The selection of topics, composers and panelists is accomplished with the support of the MMG Board of Directors and an advisory board composed by scholars, composers, conductors, orchestra leaders and musicians.