Tennessean coverage of “Hilos”

Our concert is on Friday night, 8pm, at Blair School of Music. Please join us. For the kids.

A small, all-volunteer Nashville chamber music group can’t commission work from a rising-star composer.They can’t get the world’s largest classical music label to record that new work beforehand.

And they can’t then join that composer to play the prestigious Schubert Club after a hometown world premiere.

Well, try telling that to ALIAS Chamber Ensemble.


That serendipity started after Bowers and Walker told two friends, Vanderbilt University sociology professor Jennifer Carroll Lena and then-Vanderbilt philosophy professor and Tennessean classical music reviewer Jonathan Neufeld, that they wanted to commission Frank but weren’t sure how to fund it. Lena and Neufeld applied for a grant that made the commission and some of the project’s other elements possible.”Supporting small music ensembles like ALIAS, who seek to perform new works by young composers, is an obvious thing we can do to ensure that our music stays vital, and connected to our changing communities,” said Lena.

“Supporting composers like (Frank) is a second obvious thing we can do, because she has built her successful career believing that there is beauty and value in the interchange between what we might call traditional Anglo classical music culture and the culture of the Andean people. And (Frank) became the center of our network, uniting the scholarly community…the local community…and the classical musical community.”

Grants from Metro Nashville Arts Commission, Tennessee Arts Commission, the NEA, private donations and efforts like ALIAS’ recent Arts and Flowers fundraiser have followed. The funding sources paid about $50,000 to cover the commission, recording sessions and community outreach costs, according to Walker. He said that amount “is about three times what our annual operating budget has been.”

Frank composed an eight-movement work that plays in less than 30 minutes. The composition takes its threads from vivid images of South American life and folklore: Frank has Peruvian ancestry and has traveled extensively in South America. Those images are referenced in such movement titles as “Canto del Altiplano” (Song of the Highlands), “Zumballyu” (Spinning Top) and “Danza de los Diablos” (Devil Dance).

Recording sessions in May and August produced the CD that Naxos plans to release next year.


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