GROVER WILKINS, MUSIC DIRECTOR The Orchestra of New Spain is conducted by Music Director Grover Wilkins, a specialist in music of the Spanish 18th century. Mr. Wilkins is as well Music Director of the Spanish orchestra Madrid Barroco. In addition to his conducting duties, Mr. Wilkins has done major primary source research in numerous Spanish court and cathedral archives whence he has brought to the concert stage dozens of unknown works representing the best composers of the Spanish 18th century. His critical editions are the basis for the concerts of both these orchestras. He has recorded selections of this repertory with Madrid Barroco and with the Orquesta y Coro de Radiotelevisión Español, and in Dallas for the Dorian/Sonoluminus label.
His recent edition of 19th-century Catalan composer Ramón Carnicer's opera, Elena e Costantino was premièred in Madrid's Teatro Real, March 2005.
Mr. Wilkins is past Music Director of the Paris, France based l'Orchestre et Chur Américains de Paris, and past conductor of the New Pittsburgh Chamber Orchestra, the Heinz Chapel Choir of the University of Pittsburgh, and the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra in Michigan. He is an experienced conductor of opera and has conducted the Dallas Ballet and the Pittsburgh Ballet, and more recently the Orquesta Sinfónica y Coro de la Radio Television Española.
Mr. Wilkins created a new orchestration for the 1999 Madrid production of Man of La Mancha, an unqualified success which saw the renaissance of Spanish interest in musical theater. Since 1985, Mr. Wilkins has pursued the little-known music of the Spanish baroque. The absence of available editions of music of the Spanish 18th century led Mr. Wilkins to archives and libraries in Spain where he has located the major works of this period and, with the help of the Dallas staff, transcribed and edited most of the works in the Orchestra's repertory.
Mr. Wilkins has been the progenitor of a number of collaborations with other Dallas arts organizations:
2006: proposed and shepherded to production the SMU presentation of Lope de Vega's La discreta enamorada, bringing together the Balenciaga Exhibition of the Meadows Museum, the forces of the Theater Division and the Orchestra for which he prepared the musical score presented in both English and Spanish with two different casts.
2002: Conceived and brought to production with the Booker T Washington High School for the Performing Arts a student designed and realized production of Calderón de la Barca Ni Amor se Libra de Amor
With two Fulbright Senior Research Fellowships to his credit Mr. Wilkins has been invited by the Department of State with the Orchestra of New Spain to present a concert in Washington, DC, February 2008 in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Fulbright Program in Spain.
2007 The Orchestra has begun a series of concerts in Mexico under Mr. Wilkins direction.
Mr. Wilkins is a fifth-generation Dallasite. All his early training took place in that city's public schools and churches.
THE MUSICIANS The forty musicians-instrumentalists and singers-of the Orchestra of New Spain, are specialists in the performance of Baroque music. Virtually all are local residents. Our instruments are representative of the period-either originals or replicas. The singers' style of production, with greater attention to variations of color and vibrato instead of volume and strength, allow more florid, agile and colorful ensemble singing. All are experienced in the improvisation and ornamentation which gives the Baroque period its name, not only in music, but in the visual arts and in architecture as well.
Included among the Orchestra's instrumentalists are the principal 2d violin of the Dallas Opera, the 2d Principal Double bass, and a number of other Opera musicians.
Many of the members are involved in teaching, privately, in local universities and in local schools. They are also directly involved in preparation and performance of the Orchestra's in-school and Museum concerts.
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