Free concert reflects charm of Spain

If visions of sunny Spain appeal to you, you’re in luck. Don Wright Faculty of Music piano professor John-Paul Bracey will transport you to Andalucia with the music of Joaquin Turina on Sunday (Jan. 8) at 3 p.m. for a free concert in Western’s von Kuster Hall.

“The music reflects the spirit and the poets of southern Spain,” says Bracey. “I fell in love with his unique blend of the colours of Spain from a modernist perspective. There is dance music, gypsy music. The piano works are like musical postcards of a particular place, such as Cadiz. I like that a lot. Having traveled there, I know the music is really true to the place.”

Bracey will be sharing these musical postcards with Margie Bernal, a graduate vocal student from Colombia whose first language is Spanish. Bernal is one of the first applicants accepted into Western’s new Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) program.

“It’s a privilege being one of the first DMA students,” she says. “It’s a high-profile program.” Bernal’s research is opera in Latin America and Spain and she continues to study voice with Sophie Roland.

Bracey began his research on Turina when he visited Madrid on study leave in 1998. While there, he attended several concerts with fellow pianist John Paul Sevilla, and after one, met the composer’s daughter, Obdulia Turina.

Over several visits, Bracey was given scores, many out of print, and treated to rare recordings, never released, performed by Turina himself. Some of those scores will be introduced to London audiences at the January concert.