The beloved Brazilian percussionist, Cyro Baptista, reinterprets the music of Brazil's most celebrated classical composer, Heitor Villa-Lobos. For this special program, which translates to "Villa-Lobos Gone Crazy," Baptista leads a thrilling, six-member mixed ensemble, in an irreverent fantasia, at times reconstructing some of Villa-Lobos's most famous works with the rural Brazilian folk melodies that inspired them.

A veteran of stage and studio work with the likes of Paul Simon, Herbie Hancock, Yo-Yo Ma, Trey Anastasio (of Phish), John Zorn, Laurie Anderson, Cassandra Wilson, Sting, the New York Philharmonic, the Kennedy Center Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and many others,Baptista is widely considered to be one of the premiere percussionists on the planet, with a resume almost too long to list.

Baptista has brought this premiere project to many major venues, such as Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, the American Theatre at Hampton Arts, the Modlin Center at University of Richmond, the Texas Performing Arts Center, SESC Consolaçào in São Paulo and Festival MIMO in Recife, Brazil.

"Bristling with Brazilian rhythms, earthy folk songs and impassioned accordions among other delights... Highly recommended."

All Music Guide

Program Note:

"In the middle of the miserable winter of '96, Michael Tilson Thomas invited me to Miami to help prepare a program on Villa-Lobos' music with the New World Symphony Orchestra.

When I got there, I found him sitting on a swimming pool of music sheets. He was having trouble with a complicated transition from violas to violins. There were so many notes written on the paper he showed me that it seemed as if thousands of dead flies were laying on the music sheet.

My immediate reaction was to play the berimbau and sing the simple Brazilian folk melody that Villa-Lobos based his composition on, and so I had the idea of developing a work based on the sources Villa-Lobos used in his music, exploring the various percussion elements predominant throughout his work.

Only a man of strange appetites like John Zorn (may God keep him like that), could give me the courage to make this idea come alive. As for Villa, if he turns over in his grave and throws up dust, I'm sorry. He is a dead genius, I am a live idiot."

— Cyro Baptista