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Contact: Joelle Park

For immediate release:
February 27, 2002

Carnegie Mellon's Leonardo Balada to Present world premiere in Germany

BERLIN—Leonardo Balada, university professor at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Music since 1970, will present a world premiere of his latest composition with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra in Germany next month.

The world famous composer will premiere "Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No. 2- New Orleans" at 8p.m. March 9, and 4 p.m. March 10 in Berlin's KonzertHaus. The conductor for these performances will be Rafael Fruhbeck. The piece is dedicated to the Concerto's soloist Michael Sanderling. This is the second time the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra will premiere one of Balada's works.

"New Orleans" is in two movements. The first movement, inspired by African American spirituals, is slow and lyrical. The second movement is virtuoso with jazzy rhythms. In "New Orleans," Balada's signature blending of musical styles is a symbiosis of Jazz concepts, tone clusters, aleatoric devices and textural structures.

The music of Carnegie Mellon's longtime composer-in-residence has always been marked by a technical bent toward avant-garde elements and folk music. Critics define him as the pioneer of blending ethnic music with unconventional technique. His present recordings highlight this token style.

Balada has released a collection of his most recent modernist recordings on the international classical music label Naxos. "Piano Concerto No. 3" (1999), "Concierto Mágico" (1997) and "Music for Flute & Orchestra" (2000) are performed by the Barcelona Symphony conducted by José Serebrier and three soloists: Rosa Torres-Pardo (piano), Eliot Fisk (guitar) and Magdalena Mártinez (flute). It was named one of the "Ten Best" classical instrumental recordings by for 2001. "Classics" critic Michael Jameson describes the recording as "a fusion between ethnic Catalan and Moorish idioms and the most progressive avant-garde techniques."

Balada has composed several operas of international acclaim. One of his most beloved works, "Christopher Columbus," premiered in Barcelona in 1989 with Jose Carreras and Monserrat Caballe in the principal roles. The Washington Times called it, "a masterpiece- a landmark score in the lyric theatre of our time."

The worlds leading orchestras, such as the New York Philharmonic and the Philharmonic Orchestra of London, perform Balada's works. Conductors of Balada's compositions include Lorin Maazel and Mariss Jansons.

Balada gained fame during the '60s for his dramatic avant-garde style in pieces such as "Guernica," "María Sabina" and "Steel Symphony."

Born in Barcelona, Spain, in 1933, Balada graduated from the Conservatorio del Liceu and the Juilliard School in 1960. He studied with Vincent Percichetti, Aaron Copland and Igor Markevitch.


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