Gabriela Ortiz

Yanga

for orchestra, choir, and percussion quartet

About the work

Yanga tells the story Gaspar Yanga, an African prince who was forcibly removed from his homeland in the 1500s, taken to Mexico, and forced into slavery. He led a revolt and founded the first independent settlement in the Americas, San Lorenzo de los Negros, thereby becoming the first Black ruler in the Americas.

SPECS

Duration:

17'

Instrumentation:

piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (crotales, cymbals, bass drum, maracas, claves, vibraphone, xylophone, snare drum, guiro, marimba], strings, mixed chorus, and percussion quartet (batas, ok6nkolo, it6teles, iya, djembe, rasp, guiro, wood boxes, shekere, jam block, crotales, caj6n, caxixi, drum set, claves, congas, bongos)

BACKGROUND

Date of composition:

2019

Commissionner:

Los Angeles Philharmonic

Performances:

Premiere: The Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and the Tambuco Percussion Ensemble performed the world premiere of Yanga under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel in October 2019 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the orchestra, and as a companion piece to Beethoven's 9th symphony.

Press:

"Yanga is inspired by the story of Gaspar Yanga, an African prince who was shipped to Mexico as a slave in 1570, but managed to escape. He subsequently led a band of escaped slaves to raid the authorities' caravans and eventually helped found the first free town from slavery in North America. He thus qualifies as a historic freedom fighter, which dovetails right into the all-embracing message to mankind in Beethoven’s choral finale." - Richard S. Ginell, Entertainment, San Francisco, Tuesday, October , 2019

ABOUT THE COMPOSER

Two Latin Grammy nominated Gabriela Ortiz is one of the foremost composers in Mexico today, and one of the most vibrant musicians emerging in the international scene. Her musical language achieves an extraordinary and expressive synthesis of tradition and the avant-garde; combining high art, folk music and jazz in novel, frequently refined and always personal ways. Her compositions are credited for being both entertaining and immediate as well as profound and sophisticated; she achieves a balance between highly organized structure and improvisatory spontaneity. Although based in Mexico, her music is commissioned and performed all over the world.

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