Citizens of the World
By Aracely Lazcano
When world-renowed Mexican flutist Horacio Franco and Israeli native cellist Asaf Kolerstein performed at the Fox Fine Arts Auditorium in the University of Texas at El Paso they had a mission in mind, to show their audience why their musical combination is a universal language. The recital, 2 + 1 Masters was presented by the Consulate General of Mexico and UTEP.
“We want them to know our cultures share more than a region or economy; we want to make them link their emotions with their senses. We play music from the world because we are citizens of the world,” said flutist Horacio Franco.
For over an hour, both musicians indulged the spectators with a repertoire ranging from the classical Baroque composers Vivaldi and Bach all the way to the 60’s and 70’s with pieces written by John Lennon and interpreted by The Beatles.
Perhaps the songs The Fool on the Hill, Penny Lane, Martha My Dear and Eleanor Rigby filled the audience with an ingenious climax, the remarkably executed Sonata in a minor from Antonio Vivaldi turn out to be the surprise of the night. Originally the piece was written by the prolific composer for violin and cello, but was adapted by the Mexican flutist for his instrument.
“He is a fantastic improviser, not only by putting the extra notes, but also the expression and character of the melodies,” said cellist Asaf Kolerstein about his partner on stage.
Although he never spoke during their performance, in an exclusive interview for The Art Avenue Magazine, he added that “performing together is a wonderful opportunity to be musically connected and which spills over the audience and makes it a special moment for everybody in the room,” he concluded.
Horacio Franco owns a vast repertoire that ranges from medieval, Renaissance and Barroque to contemporary works. He has broken the stereotype of the traditional classical musician and has been acclaimed by international critics like one of the worthiest representatives of his instrument at a world-wide level.
“It was in high school in Mexico City when I began to play the flute. I fell in love with it and it chose me, now it is taking me around the world.”
Franco studied in the National Conservatoire in Mexico and finished “Cum Laude” at the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam, Holland. He has had outstanding performances as a soloist of major orchestras such as the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields, City of Birmingham, American Composers, Berliner Symphoniker, Tokyo Solisten, among many others.
Even though cellist Asaf Kolerstein was born in Tel Aviv, he now lives and works in Mexico City where he is considered the most important cellist in recent history. He studied mathematics at Berkley University, then obtained his Masters in Music at the University of Boston and got a diploma in violoncello from the Musical School “Longy” in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Like Franco, Kolerstein has participated in many orchestras and chamber music groups around the world and shares his passion for music with his 150 years old French cello which he describes as a “70 year old woman with great character who has been smoking and drinking whiskey for 50 years.”
Photographed by Laura Bustillos