SoCal: The Villa-Lobos International Chamber Music Festival Features Free Performances throughout Southern California

An Evening of Cello and Piano is Scheduled for Thursday, January 10th in Riverside

By Sandra Baltazar Martinez 

Audiences in several Southern California cities, including Riverside, will be serenaded with classical music by Latin American composers during the 5thannual Villa-Lobos International Chamber Music Festival.

The festival was born from a partnership between Paulo C. Chagas, professor with the University of California, Riverside’ Department of Music, and internationally renowned cellist Lars Hoefs. Both decided to honor Heitor Villa-Lobos, Brazil’s late chamber composer, conductor, cellist, pianist, and guitarist. Many identify Villa-Lobos as the greatest South American composer.

Paulo C. Chagas

Villa-Lobos’ skill in combining Brazilian folk music with European classical music, and his ability to compose exclusively for cello ensembles, set him apart. This year, the festival has 13 performances in cities from Los Angeles to San Diego, running from Jan. 9-Feb. 2. Admission for most of these programs is free and open to the public.

The Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts in downtown Riverside will be the stage for the Jan. 10 performance. Attendees will be the first to experience two world premiere musical pieces, one from Chagas and one from Brazilian composer Marco Padilha.

Lars Hoefs

Chagas’ premiere, “Pomona, overripe” is mainly inspired by artist Paul Klee’s painting “Pomona, overripe” (1938). The painting honors the Roman nymph, responsible for fertility, growth, and abundance.

“Pomona is also the Southern California city located halfway between Riverside and Los Angeles. The piece is a triple homage to California, Villa-Lobos, and Paul Klee,” Chagas said. The 10-minute composition for cello and piano is exuberant, the notes highlight abundance and also include a couple quotations from Villa-Lobos’ own work. At the piano will be Filipino-American Victor Santiago Asuncion.

Offering concerts that include a mix of classical and contemporary music, all by Latin American composers, is a way of granting access to songs and music that is not always readily available, said Hoefs, who is the festival’s artistic director.

“I hope that people discover beautiful, worthwhile music that they didn’t know before,” said Hoefs, a native of Wisconsin who spent many years living in Los Angeles and is now teaching in Brazil. “I hope the audience discovers talented composers such as Paulo. We are presenting and offering beautiful Latin American chamber music to the Southern California audience.”

If You Go:

What: 5th Annual Villa-Lobos International Chamber Music Festival

When: Thursday, Jan. 10  Time: 7 p.m.

Where: Barbara & Art Culver Center of the Arts, 3834 Main St. in Riverside

Tickets are Free and the event is open to the public.

Other Scheduled Shows

Jan. 9, 12 noon

The ABC’s with pianist Victor Asuncion: music from Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba”

Encinitas Public library, 540 Cornish Drive, Encinitas. Free admission

Jan. 11, 7:30 pm

Beethoven Cycle Part I: Running Amok”

Invitation only, Oceanside

Jan. 12, 7:30 pm

Beethoven Cycle Part II: Beethoven and Beetholven”

Invitation only, Oceanside

Jan. 16, 12 noon

Scenes from childhood”

Pasadena Presbyterian Church, 585 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena. Free admission

Jan. 16, 8 pm

Four Seasons, Twelve Monkeys”

Music@Mimoda, Mimoda Studio, 5774 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles. Free admission

Jan. 17, 8 pm

Silver Lake Library”

Silver Lake Branch, Los Angeles Public Library, 2411 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles, CA. Free admission

Jan. 19, 7:30 pm

Hommage à Villa-Lobos”

Stan’s Music Parlor, Los Angeles (invitation only)

Jan. 23, 12 noon

Popcorn and Previews”

Encinitas Public library, 540 Cornish Drive, Encinitas. Free admission

Jan. 26

Le Moment du Cristal” Curated by Beth Ross Buckley

Bread & Salt, 1955 Julian Ave., Barrio Logan, San Diego.


Jan. 27, 2:00 pm

Antelope Valley Community Concert” Curated by Beth Ross Buckley

Lancaster Performing Arts Center, 750 West Lancaster Boulevard, Lancaster

Jan. 30, 12 noon

Samba Andaluza CD release – Peter Sprague String Trio”

Encinitas Public library, 540 Cornish Drive, Encinitas. Free admission

Feb. 2, 7:30 pm

Festival Finale – California Chamber Orchestra”


For a complete program and schedule visit:

Press Release Provided By the University of California at Riverside