Sinfónica de Tenerife is offering a new season show featuring Robert Kurka’s  Concerto for marimba and orchestra at 7:30 pm on Friday, 24th May. This is the first time they are performing this piece and are joined by North American marimba player Leigh Howard Stevens as soloist. The programme, which will be conducted by Andalusian maestro Lucas Macías, also included works by Debussy and Bártok.

The concert starts with Prelude to the afternoon of a faun, by Claude Debussy, which is an invitation to walk into the oneiric world of myths; they then go on to play Concerto for marimba and orchestra, op. 34 by Robert Kurka, championing the potential of the marimba; and concludes with a passport for a short visit to Hungary through Concerto for orchestra, Sz 116 by Béla Bártok.

Lucas Macías Navarro, who is making his debut with Cabildo de Tenerife’s orchestra, is assistant conductor of Orchestre de Paris. After an exceptional career as an oboe player, including being Principal Oboe of Royal Concertgebouw and Lucerne Festival Ochestra, he first appeared as a conductor at Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires in 2014. He has led concerts with Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Orchestre de Chambre de Genève, Real Filharmonía de Galicia and the Camerata of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Also new to the Sinfónica de Tenerife season is marimba player Leigh Howard Stevens, although he is not new to the island as he was here last year at the Festival Internacional de Música Contemporánea de Tenerife (FMUC). Stevens created a ground-breaking approach to the four-mallet grip which has been adopted by musicians worldwide. His repertoire encompasses Renaissance music, preludes and fugues by Bach to original marimba works written by contemporary composers for him.

Claude Debussy’s Prelude to the afternoon of a faun is inspired by the homonymous poem by Mallarmé and rather than being a transliteration to music language, it is an evocation of the two situations that frame the eclogue: the instant from being awake to falling asleep; and the two unsuccessful attempts of the faun to seduce the forest nymphs. This oneiric world is presented by the pan flute -the instrument of fauns- intertwined with the clarinet, flute and oboe, accompanied by pizzicati of the string that inspire flirting. Melodies gradually grow darker to reveal the faun being frustrated and succumbing to the dream evoked by the initial melody.

Concerto for marimba and orchestra, op. 34 by Robert Kurka, was created on the request of North American interpreter Vida Chenoweth, who wanted to give a relevant place to the marimba as a concert instrument. At first it is strongly inspired by jazz, and at some points the symphony orchestra will resemble a big band, as it resorts to melodies and rhythms characteristic of popular styles.

The programme ends with Concerto for orchestra, Sz 116/BB 123 by Béla Bártok, which is an interpretation of the Hungarian maestro as the whole as a sum of soloists; something like a modern version of the Baroque “concerto grosso” which consisted of dealing with the orchestra in different groups. The dark historical period it was composed in (1943) translates into intimate, tragic musicscapes, which the author mixes with popular Central European sounds. But he concludes by reasserting life and goes back to the initial energy of the movement.

This sound journey offered by Sinfónica de Tenerife is part of the tenth FMUC, whose programme focuses on contemporary music and percussion. This year FMUC runs from 22 May to 16 June.

Tickets are available at the box office from 10:00 am to 7:30 pm Monday to Saturday; by telephone on 902 317 327; or on websites and