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World's only full-time cello octet to perform in Fallbrook


Last updated 2/15/2007 at Noon

FALLBROOK — As part of its new Virtuoso Series, Fallbrook Music Society will present Cello Octet Conjunto Ibérico Sunday, February 18, at 3:00 p.m. at the Bob Burton Center for the Performing Arts on the Fallbrook High School campus. The octet will be under the direction of Elias Arizcurén and will be joined by sensational soprano Pilar Jurado.

Based in Amsterdam, Conjunto Ibérico has gained international attention by billing itself as the world’s only full-time cello octet. And it has earned the support of musicians such as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who calls this ensemble “a treasure” and its leader Arizcurén “a true visionary.” The octet, whose music is brimming with Mediterranean passion, has performed Spanish and South American music around the world and has inspired top composers like Philip Glass to write for them, resulting in 60 premieres and 13 CDs.

The eclectic program will feature pieces by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Philip Glass and others and combine musical elements from American jazz, Brazilian folk songs, Turkish dances and European classical music. Many works, such as Cristobal Halffter’s “Fandango” for eight cellos, are pieces of stunning instrumental complexity.

Conductor and cellist Arizcurén was born in Spain’s Northern Basque Country. His first cello teacher was his father, and he later had “the immense luck” of studying under Gaspar Cassadó, André Navarra and Sándor Végh.

Arizcurén has taught cello and chamber music at the conservatories of Amsterdam and Utrecht and has written several books on cello history and developed a video presentation of cello technique. In 1968 he founded the Mendelssohn Trio and remained with the group for more than two decades. He is often invited to be a member of the jury in international competitions and gives master classes in many countries in addition to his activities as conductor.

This concert is supported, in part, with funds provided by the Western States Arts Federation, the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Concert tickets, $35 for adults and $10 for students, are available by calling (760) 451-8644 or visiting


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