Exciting News! A new piano solo CD, Villa-Lobos has been released this weekend by renown Argentine pianist, Daniela Salinas.
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of making Ms. Salinas’ acquaintance on Instagram. Apparently IG’s algorithm deduced that I enjoy listening to and following great pianists and presented one of her performances on my IG news feed. I was immediately captivated by Daniela’s masterful and soulful playing and proceeded directly to her IG page for more. I wasn’t disappointed.
Corresponding with Ms. Salinas about our favorite composers and piano pieces was a delight. I found her to be gracious and warm. When she announced the imminent release of her new CD, I asked if she would consider an interview about it for my blog. Lucky for me she accepted my invitation.
Being a fan of the sparkling eclectic classical piano music from South America and the fact that I get ridiculously excited at the chance to learn about composers I have not yet had the pleasure of studying, I knew this blog was going to be fun as well as enlightening.
You see, South American classical music was not part of my piano studies back in the day. How I came to learn about this gorgeous music genre that speaks to my soul, and how it ties in with this new CD release is quite remarkable. Here’s the story.
Back in 2007 at a music teacher’s conference, Maestro Luiz de Moura Castro held a master class on composers from South America. He played an exquisite piano solo by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos during which I had visions of trees swaying in a breeze. No other classical piano music had this effect on me. It was a thunder bolt life-changing moment as a piano teacher and pianist. I was determined to learn more about this piano literature.
After the conference, Dr. Castro graciously took the time to review our Piano Practice and Performance book. His accolades grace the back cover. We are forever honored by this kind and gracious man.
Well, you can imagine how ecstatic I was when I learned that Daniela Salinas had not only studied with Dr. Luiz de Moura Castro, but has dedicated her CD, Villa-Lobos to him! Such a small world. Gives me goosebumps.
Before I embark on this interview, as a courtesy to readers not familiar with Heitor Villa-Lobos, here’s a little introduction. Villa-Lobos lived from 1887 to 1959. He was a Brazilian composer, conductor, cellist, and guitarist becoming one of the foremost Latin American composers of the 20th century. His eclectic music combines indigenous melodic and rhythmic elements with Western classical music.
And now without further ado, I’d like to introduce pianist Daniela Salinas.
LRW: As an art teacher, CD cover art gets noticed right away. May I ask who designed and photographed your CD cover art? What was the thought process behind the simple and elegant design? Did the record label hire the designer or did you get to choose?
DS: I hired the designer that is the same person who made the photograph: Ana Conde, a very talented professional. I love her artistic look. When we talked about the concept for the cover art, I just knew that I wanted something simple but unconventional. Ana found the photo and the design. The warmth maybe is the idea concerning the music.
LRW: I saw her work on Facebook. She’s fantastic! Now, a CD dedicated to one composer is uncommon. What is the story of how and why you chose Villa-Lobos and only this composer? Why were these particular works selected? Why now? Details, please.
DS: Villa-Lobos music is very familiar to me. For a long time, I studied with the Brazilian pianist Dr. Luiz de Moura Castro and, through him, I was little by little knowing the music from Brazil. I have played this repertoire for many years and in a way, I feel that this music interprets me. The selection for this album answers to my taste and affinity with the pieces. Villa-Lobos’ piano music is a vast universe of very varied works, as this album can show. Nevertheless, it is not representative of the variety that he was able to create.
1. Preludio (Bachianas Brasileiras N° 4)
2. Dansa do Indio Branco (Ciclo Brasileiro)
3. A lenda do Caboclo
4. Carnaval das crianças – I: O ginête do Pierrozinho
5. Carnaval das crianças – II: O chicote do diabinho
6. Carnaval das crianças – III: A manhã da Pierrette
7. Carnaval das crianças – IV: Os guizos do dominozinho
8. Carnaval das crianças – V: As peripécias do trapeirozinho
9. Carnaval das crianças – VI: As traquinices do mascarado mignon
10. Carnaval das crianças – VII: A gaita de um precoce fantasiado
11. A maré encheu (Guía Prático 1 Nº 2)
13. Idilio na rêde (Suite floral)
14. Rosa amarela (Guía Prático 4 N° 2)
15. Eduardo Santoro: Paulistana Nº 1 (bonus track)
LRW: I’ve had the pleasure of attending a master class with Dr. Castro. He also favorably reviewed one of our piano teaching books. I love how we are connected through him. I understand this is your first solo piano album. There are many labels out there. Why Acqua Records? Did they approach you for the project? Is it part of a series of albums dedicated to Villa-Lobos or a standalone recording?
DS: Acqua Records is a label from Argentina whose catalog match with this music. I presented them with my project and was very welcome. I don’t know if I will record in the future more music by Villa-Lobos but, at the moment it is not in my plans.
LRW: With concert halls closed, would you happen to be planning a live stream event of some of these remarkable works? Maybe a YouTube video or a series? If so, where may my students, readers and I find them?
DS: Well, I didn’t plan a streaming concert, but I uploaded on Youtube a video that was made during the recording session of the energetic “Dança do Índio Branco”.
LRW: Once concert halls open again, do you plan to perform these works live? If so, how may my students, readers and I be kept informed? Is there a mailing list we may subscribe to?
DS: For sure, I will play this repertoire in concert when it is possible. You may find my concert schedule on my webpage or on my Facebook, YouTube and Instagram pages.
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To learn more about this visionary pianist, visit her website. To purchase this CD, visit either Amazon.com or iTunes.
Want to listen first? Check out her CD on Spotify.
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