The Venezuelan Cuatro player Leo Rondón makes his debut at the Salzburg Pentecost Festival as part of the L’Arpeggiata ensemble, conducted by Cristina Pluhar, which will perform a program entitled Torre del Oro. The Salzburg Pentecost Festival has Seville as the central theme of its programming for 2022, which is celebrated between June 3 and 6. A new production of Il barbiere di Siviglia with stage direction by Rolando Villazón will open the festival with its director, Cecilia Bartoli, playing the role of Rosina, with whom she made her professional debut at the end of the 1980s. The concert in which the Cuatro player Leo Rondón participates will take place on Saturday, July 4 at the Haus für Mozart in the Austrian city. 

About this program in which the cuatrista Leo Rondón participates, the festival says: On the banks of the Guadalquivir is the symbol of Seville, the twelve-sided Torre del Oro. For many centuries, the port in front of the Torre del Oro was the departure point for Spanish galleons sailing to South America and returning to Seville laden with treasure. But it also symbolizes the lively and enriching exchange between peoples and cultures. In this concert, L’Arpeggiata opens the golden door from the Old to the New World. The starting point of the musical journey is the music of Alonso Mudarra. The Sevillian composer (1508-1580) is one of the most important Spanish vihuelists of the 16th century, whose innovations in instrumental and vocal music were so significant that his work is still recognized today. Mudarra’s works were published in the collection Tres libros de música en cifra para vihuela de Sevilla in 1546. It contains variations of folías, tientos, pavanas, gallardas, romanescas, canzones, villancicos and sonnets in Latin, Spanish and Italian, which can be found among the oldest solo songs with instrumental accompaniment. From this collection the musical path leads to South America and the “living baroque” in the traditional musical culture there to this day. The Venezuelan cuatro, a key instrument in the Caribbean country’s folklore, is a direct descendant of the vihuela, and popular and traditional Venezuelan music is truffled with the aroma of both courtly and popular Spanish music, and its most characteristic forms, such as the joropo, descends directly from the fandango.

Venezuelan Cuatro player Leo Rondón debuts at the Salzburg Festival

Cover of Cantos y Revueltas, with Flores, Rondón, the Real Filharmonía and Hernández-Silva

Cuatrista, guitarist, double bassist, composer-arranger and producer, Leo Rondón is one of the most outstanding representatives of his instrument who has performed in concert halls and festivals in Venezuela, Colombia, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Sweden, United Kingdom, Belgium, Holland, Kazakhstan and Morocco, with different groups and in collaborations with artists such as Quatuor Debussy, Rolando Villazón, Emiliano González Toro, Richard Galliano, Didier Lockwood, Cristóbal Soto, Ricardo Sandoval, Alexis Cárdenas, Simón Bolívar Big Band of Jazz, Omar Acosta and Roberto Koch, Pacho Flores or Manuel Hernández-Silva, among others. As a soloist, he has appeared alongside Alexis Cárdenas and Recoveco in the show El Fuego Latino organized by the Orchester National d’Île-de-France and under the baton of maestro Alondra de la Parra, presenting seven concerts in the Parisian region, where they stand out the Philharmonie de Paris or the Opera Garnier. In Spain, he has performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Galicia, the Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra, the Navarra Symphony, the Murcia Region Symphony, the Extremadura Orchestra, the Valencia Orchestra and the Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra, and among his next commitments are the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Arctic Philharmonic or Swedish Chamber Orchestra. He has participated in the album CANTOS Y REVUELTAS, by Pacho Flores, for Deutsche Grammophon, with the Real Filarmonía de Galicia and Hernández-Silva and has recently premiered his CONCIERTO DEL MAR for four Venezuelans and orchestra with the Murcia Region Symphony under the baton of Pacho Flores.

Venezuelan Cuatro player Leo Rondón debuts at the Salzburg Festival

©Real Filharmonía de Galicia

He won third place in the 2007 Siembra del Cuatro, and second place in 2012, as well as in 2011 as a cuatro player at the El Silbón (Venezuela) and San Martín (Colombia) festivals. He is currently a cuatrista, arranger and producer of the Ávila Quartet, a Venezuelan music quartet, as well as a cuatrista with the Ensemble L’Arpeggiata, directed by Christina Pluhar, Alexis Cárdenas y Recoveco, Venezuelan Roots and Joropo Jam, in addition to his solo project Leo Rondon Project. He organizes since 2010, together with the teacher Cristóbal Soto, the Summer Course Música Criolla Venezolana, a Venezuelan music teaching camp in the city of Mirecourt, France. Leo Rondón uses a cuatro made by Mathias Caron.