On September 16, the Classical Music Development Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago—a non-profit organisation that promotes excellence in the performing arts, supports gifted students and promotes an array of classical concerts—will present a one-night-only affair, In the Footsteps of Mangoré. Agustin Barrios Mangoré was a Paraguayan classical guitarist and composer. More than 60 years after his death, he is still revered as one of the greatest classical guitar composers of all time. Now, Mangoré’s music will be brought back to life on the Queen’s Hall stage through the musical mediums of ten-time Grammy Award winner, Cuban saxophonist and clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera, and Berta Rojas, the foremost female classical guitarist in all of Latin America. As they retrace the steps of the legendary composer on this once-in-a-lifetime tour, they will be joined on stage by two eminent local musicians, pannist Mia Gormandy and percussionist Sean Thomas.
The Classical Music Development Foundation was created by the family of Natalia Dopwell, soprano, to bring more attention to genre. For this concert, it will work with a new non-profit, the Calabash Foundation for the Arts, established by Maria Nunes, former national golfer-turned-photographer. Calabash was created to build a funding base to support the development of new work in the performing arts, and its first project is to help develop Jab Molassie, a music theatre production that is an adaptation of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat.
The libretto has been written by Caitlyn Kamminga, who is on the faculty of the University of Trinidad and Tobago’s Academy for Performing Arts and plays with its Ibis Ensemble. Jab Molassie is being scored by Trinidad-born composer Dominique Le Gendre and, according to Nunes, “The Classical Music Development Foundation is giving a significant portion of its proceeds from the Mangoré show to Jab. That’s an incredibly generous gesture. But the even greater value is in helping to create awareness; the opportunity to highlight this new project in its quest for funding. And the interesting parallel is that Dominique Le Gendre is herself a classical guitarist and composer, like Mangore.”