NEW TO YOUTUBE | VC Young Artist Zlatomir Fung Plays “Cumbia Concerto”
Zlatomir performs a cello concerto written by living composer Horacio Fernández, which celebrates and is inspired by modern Mexican urban folklore
Mexican composer Horacio Fernández’s “Cumbia Concerto” was written and produced in collaboration with VC Young Artist Zlatomir Fung. The piece blends the instrumentation and form of the cello concerto with the styles, rhythms, and textures of Mexican Cumbia.
Performed with a backing track, the concerto was influenced by Cumbia — a Colombian dance style — and the “Kolombia” counterculture movement, which originated in the Independencia neighborhood of Monterrey, Mexico.
“Horacio and I worked closely on the solo cello part of Cumbia Concerto, especially the cadenza,” Zlatomir told The Violin Channel. “Horacio had an intuitive feel for the gestures he wanted to hear from the cello. We tossed around ideas to find figurations that would embolden the music’s harmonic backbone.
“I was invigorated by Horacio’s passion for blending the soulful rhythms and textures of Cumbia music with the classical concerto form,” he continued. “Working with him reminded me that music-making is alive and in a constant state of transformation.”
To purchase the sheet music and backing track for the work, click here.
Cumbia originated in the 19th century as a style of courtship dance, created by enslaved Africans on the coasts of Caribbean countries and Colombia. Today, it has spread across Latin American countries, where its rhythms and instruments have been combined with electronic, country, and hip-hop styles, according to Masterclass.
Brought to Mexico in the 1940s, Cumbia has served, for an entire generation of Mexicans, as a “shield that protects our heart from the challenges of living in a country with various social difficulties,” Horacio says. “It is music that makes us feel at home, wherever we are.”
Currently studying composition at The Juilliard School, Horacio writes music that combines urban and western classical traditions, particularly those of Latin America. Winner of the New Juilliard Ensemble Competition, he was commissioned to write this cello concerto to premiere in May 2021.
A Juilliard School graduate studying under Richard Aaron and Timothy Eddy, Zlatomir Fung was the youngest musician ever to win first prize at the Tchaikovsky International Cello Competition in 2019. He is also a recipient of the 2020 Avery Fisher Career Grant and the 2022 Borletti-Buittoni Trust Award.