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Take a deeper dive into specific pieces of music and composers with Classical KC and the UMKC Conservatory while learning how they connect to events today.

UMKC Conservatory's América Festival boasts a world premiere by composer Luis Quintana

Composer Luis Quintana (left) and flutist Ebonee Thomas (right).
Courtesy of artists
Courtesy of artists
Composer Luis Quintana (left) and flutist Ebonee Thomas (right).

On April 11, Ebonee Thomas will perform the world premiere of Luis Quintana's "Huraké" for solo flute as part of UMKC Conservatory's América Festival. Learn more about this work and its influences.

Tianrui Hu and Katie Worsham are students at the UMKC Conservatory.

Composer Luis Quintana has collected many awards and accolades throughout his career. His work, "Huraké" showcases many of the elements that reflect his influences and unique style.

The Puerto-Rican-born composer’s music is often inspired by the rhythmic pulses and playful figures of Caribbean and African music. A prolific composer whose published oeuvre features experimental sounds in both acoustic and electronic mediums, Quintana’s flair for creative sounds is evident in compositions, such as "Souvenir d'une musique à venir," "Cantigas do desassossego," and "Kaleidosroloi."

This same adventurous spirit pervades "Huraké."

"Huraké" comes from the Taino language and means “the land of wind.” The composer constructs a windy soundscape inspired by traditional flutes such as the Andean zampoña (pan flute), the Japanese shakuhachi, and the single-toned Pygmy n’dehou.

"Huraké" requires the flutist to employ various extended techniques to develop these sounds, such as pizzicato effects, key clicks, harmonics, headjoint glissando — and most importantly — differing levels of air within the flute tone.

Quintana writes, “While it is no surprise that the word hura [wind] has been used for a flute piece, the suffix [land] is associated with the ‘earthly’ rhythms employed mainly in central African music and its derivatives. As such, it blends elements from both Afro-Caribbean and pygmy music to constructs its discourse — eg. an ostinato with variations, in this case variations of timbre.”

"Huraké" features ever-evolving flute timbre, beginning with the indication “voiceless and percussive… progressively towards an airy bambu-ish sound.” The opening rhythmic groove intensifies as accents, tongue flutters, and pitch are progressively introduced. The groove is interrupted by rapid, free-flowing lines whose diminuendos, dissolving pitches, and gradually fragmenting rhythms sound as restless echoes across time.

Each of these restless interruptions imbues the following rhythmic section with greater energy, illustrated by heightened tempo, dynamics, pitch jumps, and flute tone (over airy tone).

Between Quintana’s vibrant writing and Thomas’ compelling interpretation, "Huraké" promises to deliver an exciting world premiere.

Learn more about the April 11 performance and the festival on the UMKC Conservatory's website or by following América Festival on Facebook.