- Featured: Gabriel Cabezas
- Release Date: 4/3/2007
Gabriel Cabezas and Juan-Miguel Hernandez are conquering a new horizon with the release of their new CD, Moyugba Orisha. Every year the Sphinx Competition, held in Detroit, offers young Black and Latino classical string players a chance to compete under the guidance of an internationally renowned panel of judges and to perform with established professional musicians in an encouraging setting. Cabezas, a cellist from the Chicago area, is the First Prize Laureate of the Junior Division of the 2006 Sphinx National Competition. Hernandez, the Gold Achievement winner of the Senior Division, is a native of Montreal, Canada, now studying the viola in Los Angeles. Moyugba Orisha, released in 2007 by White Pine Music, is a musical rendition of the way that culture can be expressed through music. Many of the pieces such as 'La Revuelta Circular,' have Latin roots. The composer, Claudia Calderón, describes this piece as 'the resonance of sounds from ethnic harps,' combining cultures from Madagascar and the central regions of Venezuela. Several of the recordings are world premieres, including the title work and Japanese-American composer Paul Chihara's 'Sonata for Viola and Piano.' The recording sessions took place in Central Michigan University's Staples Family Concert Hall. Joining Cabezas and Hernandez on the release are CMU faculty members Alexandra Mascolo-David and Rúbia Santos. Both pianists contribute culturally to the album, Mascolo-David hailing from Portugual and Santos from Brazil. Gabriel Cabezas, Biography Born in Chicago in 1992, violoncellist Gabriel Cabezas commenced his music studies at age four. Gabriel is the Overall Performance Winner of the Midwest Young Artists Junior Division of the 2004 Walgreens National Competition, the Bronze Medal Winner of the Junior Division of the 2005 Fischoff Chamber Music National Competition (as member of the BAM String Quartet), the Overall Performance Winner of the Midwest Young Artists Open Division of the 2005 Walgreens National Competition, and the First Prize Laureate of the Junior Division of the 2006 Sphinx Competition. He also received the María Isabel Prieto Award at the Fifth Carlos Prieto Violoncello International Competition for his "extraordinary talent and magnificent performances." The Oregonian described Gabriel as "... an intense player who connects to the music naturally, without artifice, and brings a singing line to the cello." Gabriel has performed with artist Béla Fleck in the televised program From The Top - Live From Carnegie Hall and with the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra at The Sphinx Gala Concert, both at Carnegie Hall in New York City. He has made appearances on National Public Radio (NPR) programs From The Top and Performance Today, and Chicago's WFMT 98.7's Introductions, as well as performances in Chicago's Music in the Loft, Exploring Music Live with Bill McLaughlin and The Northeastern Illinois University's Music Series. Also, he has performed for musicians including Andrés Diaz, Paulo Lima, William Molina, Bion Tsang, and Anton Nel. Gabriel's musical engagements for the 2006-2007 seasons include solo performances with the Portland Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, the New World Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Florida Symphony Orchestra, the Rackham Chorus and the Detroit Chamber Orchestra, among others. Gabriel studies under the direction of Professor Hans Jørgen Jensen and violoncellist Ji-Hee Kim of Northwestern University and Meadowmount School of Music. He attends The Academy of The Music Institute of Chicago and is a freshman at the New Trier Township High School in the Chicago area. Juan-Miguel Hernandez, Biography Violist Juan-Miguel Hernandez is the Gold Achievement Winner of the ninth Sphinx Competition. Canadian-born of Dominican parents, Mr. Hernandez has already performed as a concerto and recital soloist, in chamber music ensembles and in prestigious summer music festivals throughout the U.S. and Canada. His recent debut with the Atlanta Symphony was characterized by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as "... tender, lyrical, loaded with personality." Mr. Hernandez is a member of the Harlem Quartet, resident quartet for the Sphinx Organization, and performed with the quartet at Carnegie Hall. Mr. Hernandez began studying violin at age seven, switching to viola five years later. His early studies took place in Montreal at the Vincent D'Indy College. Currently he is in his junior year at the Colburn Conservatory in California under the esteemed performer and teacher, violist Paul Coletti.