I’d like to take a moment to introduce her to you. Laura Mazon Franqui has been wowing audiences worldwide with her passionate playing and engaging musical interpretations since she was 10 years old.
Fine venues in countries such as Cuba, Spain, Ecuador as well as the US at the Mid-Manhattan Library, the Guild of Boston Artists, Vanderbilt Theater and more, have hosted her concerts. She has also participated in festivals and competitions such as the Rhode Island International Festival and Competition, New Orleans International Guitar Festival, and the Havana International Chamber Music Festival.
Ms. Franqui has also engaged in multiple recording collaborations for the music industry as well as television and cinema. As a performer, recording artist and teacher, Laura Mazon Franqui is in constant demand. Her musical interests move towards raising awareness for Cuban and Latin-American repertoire, especially the music of Women Composers. Innovation and Art integration are the words that drive her mission.
The Athena Foundation for the Arts Chair and Program Director, Linda Wehrli recently caught up with Laura about her upcoming concert. Here’s the story:
LRW: Laura, it was such a pleasure hearing you play and getting acquainted at that home concert in beautiful Palos Verdes last year. And here we are hosting your solo guitar concert in our Fall 2022 concert series! May I ask how you decided on the pieces you’ve curated for our program entitled Rojo – Music with Passion? Why these composers? Why now?
LMF: Hi Linda, and thanks for your kind words. Well, the concert program actually aligns with the repertoire of pieces that will be part of my upcoming album, soon to be released in early 2023, that goes by the same name: Rojo. As you will notice, the pieces were very carefully selected, to reflect the variety of voices and influences present in the guitar and also through my career.
LRW: Oooh! I’m excited to learn of your upcoming album! We’ll have to cover that in another blog to celebrate its release. Can’t wait to hear it. Please tell us more about the works on the album.
LMF: There are a multitude of pieces from Latin America, Spain (the country of birth of the “classical guitar”), Cuba (where I was born and raised), music by women composers (I am very adamant about bringing awareness over the work of women in music), and music of afro-cuban descent. But, the common element that unifies all of that is Passion. Each of these pieces comes with a high dose of that element, and I think that also makes them memorable, and so close to me.
LRW: I’m all for promoting women composer! This German girl swoons over classical music from Spanish and Latin American composers. I’m looking forward to familiarizing myself with works from Cuba. Music with Passion is my kind of soul food. May I ask, have you studied or performed with any of these fine composers? If so, when and what are the stories as they relate to your upcoming concert?
LMF: Yes, I have had the pleasure to get to know some of the composers of the pieces. I met Leo Brouwer when I was 10 years old, and had the pleasure to be conducted by him when I was part of a Youth Guitar orchestra, and later on I participated in some of his masterclasses and workshops in Cuba.
LRW: Wow. Very cool. I’m not familiar with Leo Brouwer and will have to investigate more about him. Are there others?
LMF: Yes. Another composer I had the pleasure of meeting was Claudia Montero, with whom in forged a very special friendship over the last years of her life (she recently passed away). She was an incredibly gifted composer, and grammy award winner, residing in Valencia, Spain. She came into my life at a very special moment.
LRW: I remember you mentioning her name when we first met. I’m so glad you were able to befriend her. What’s the story about the special moment when you met?
LMF: It was 2020 during the pandemic. I had recently given birth and was struggling to find my place in this new identity as both a musician and a mom. Claudia mentored me, nurtured me and guided me towards my dreams and aspirations. It is pretty much thanks to her advice that I am here today, living in Los Angeles, and also, that is why I am dedicating the album to her, choosing the name of her piece, Rojo, to name it.
LRW: That gave me goosebumps. What a wonderful connection and legacy. Are there any other composers you’ve studied or performed with?
LMF: Last but not least, I am also acquainted with both Laura Snowden and Carlos Rafael Rivera (from my years as a student at the University of Miami, were he teaches composition). So it all makes this repertoire very special, and close to me.
LRW: Beautiful connections in music. Thank you for sharing the backstory. In addition to soloing and playing duos, do you also perform with larger ensembles or orchestras? Tell us more about your musicians and how you came to collaborate.
LMF: Yes, I love to collaborate, and to be part of diverse projects. I have collaborated with choirs, chamber orchestras, symphonic orchestras and some rock bands as well! Starting next January, I will also be part of the Baroque Sinfonia, an early music ensemble at USC, something that I am very much looking forward to!
LRW: Fantastic! OMG I love early music, especially for the guitar. I’ll have to check out USC’s Baroque Sinfonia’s concerts. Speaking of USC, I believe you also teach. Where and for whom? Do you offer masterclasses? What ages do you teach?
LMF: Yes, I do teach. I am Graduate teaching Assistant at USC Thornton School of Music and also part of the guitar faculty at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music. During my career I have taught diverse levels and ages; however, I am more focused now on teens and adults. I do offer masterclasses and technique workshops, as well as lectures.
LRW: Good to know. Do you have a favorite quote by a composer or musician that you’d like to share with our readers?
I hope I can fulfill this duty on December 9th!
LRW: Love that quote. I’m sure you will fulfill this duty and more. We look forward to your concert, Laura.
Here are the details for Laura Mazon Franqui’s concert.
Friday, December 9, 2022
Check-in: 7:15 PM
Concert: 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM PDT
Church of Scn of the Valley
11455 Burbank Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 91601
Parking: Farmdale Avenue lot and street parking
Purchase tickets on Eventbrite here or by scanning the QR code at the door. Cash or Credit card payments by Zettle/Paypal also available. Questions? Please feel free to email us. Looking forward to an inspiring concert!
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