Ithaca College faculty trumpeter Frank Gabriel Campos will present a free recital at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 22 in the Hockett Family Recital Hall. Campos has planned an unusual program collaborating with classical guitarist Pablo Cohen in the first half of the recital and string bassist Nicholas Walker in the second.
Campos and Cohen will play several Spanish pieces including the ‘Seven Popular Songs’ of Manuel de Falla, originally for voice, and Enrique Granados’ well-known ‘Andaluza’, often heard played by solo guitar. “I was concerned about balance with the guitar, but it has not been a problem,” says Campos. “The guitar and trumpet are strongly associated with Spanish music and these evocative pieces offer an opportunity to go from a tender lullaby to the fiery drama of the flamenco. Pablo is an expert on this music.”
For the second half of the concert Campos and bassist Nicholas Walker have chosen an eclectic group of pieces such as the Beatles’ ‘Here, There, Everywhere’, Keith Jarrett’s ‘My Song’, and Chick Corea’s virtuosic ‘Spain.’ Paul Williams’ “Rainbow Connection” of Muppet fame will be included with other standards such as ‘My One and Only Love”, Charlie Chaplin’s immortal ‘Smile’, and a blisteringly fast version of ‘Cherokee’. “It isn’t classical or jazz, but a combination of both,” says Campos. “The playing must be at the highest level of classical music, yet we both improvise on most of the pieces. Our goal is to craft a gem of a chamber piece that really grabs you in some way. This is very expressive playing.” Campos and Walker call their little pieces ‘haiku covers’.
Playing in a duo means playing constantly, and though the pieces average only two to three minutes long, they are very challenging for both players. “It isn’t possible to play all parts of the music with only two single line instruments,” says Campos, “so we each choose the most important parts at any given moment, the parts that say the most. It is similar to how an artist guides your eye around a painting. With a song that everyone knows, like Paul McCartney’s ‘Blackbird’, there is no need to include all of the tonal information, just suggestions of it, because the listener’s imagination fills in the rest. The art of it is choosing the right thing at the right moment. It is like walking a tightrope -- it requires your full attention.”
Bassist Nicholas Walker, a protégé of virtuoso Francois Rabbath at the Paris Conservatory, is also an award-winning composer. The Cornell Symphony Orchestra performed his concerto based on Beatles songs last year with Walker as soloist. Originally from Argentina, guitarist Pablo Cohen has performed concerts in the United States, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean, and he has recorded for the Dorian label. Trumpeter Frank Campos is the principal trumpet of the Binghamton Philharmonic and Tri-Cities Opera, and an active jazz soloist. He is the author of Trumpet Technique published by Oxford University Press.