The students were invited to perform as part of the Monterey Jazz Festival’s prestigious Next Generation Jazz Festival, which annually brings more than a thousand middle-school, high-school and college big bands, combos and ensembles to “duke it out for the glory of performing at the Monterey Jazz Festival in September,” according to the festival’s website.
Even in its most intimate and reserved moments, Mozart's Così fan tutte is by turns intense and hysterical. Its intricate plot, which might have become convoluted in lesser hands than those of Mozart and his librettist, Lorenzo Da Ponte, moves forward with such swiftness that at times the observer is left breathless.
Natalie Merchant is used to it by now—the startled gasp from the audience when she emerges on stage. The reaction says more about our celebrity-crazed culture than it does about Merchant, embraced by fans in the 1980s as the hip vocalist and literate lyricist/songwriter for the alt-folk-rock band 10,000 Maniacs.
Born in Havana, Cuba, the versatile D'Rivera—flute, saxophone, clarinet—performed with the National Theater Orchestra at age 10. He studied at the Havana Conservatory of Music and became a featured soloist with the Cuban National Symphony at age 17.
Under bright stage lights, before an audience of empty chairs, Eli Stalzer runs his fingers across the keys of a large, black piano. He’s come for an interview, not a rehearsal, but he can’t help himself: He’s been a piano player since age eight.