For those who enjoy a spicy mix of Latin, Spanish, Sephardic, Balkan and classical sounds, Fandango! is the ticket next week. The group plays on Monday in Marathon and Tuesday in Islamorada as part of the Florida Keys Concert Association series.
The ensemble was founded by four multi-award-winning, globe-trotting virtuosi hailing from Spain, the U.S, former Yugoslavia and the United Kingdom.
“We’ve been performing together for four years now,” said David Cunliffe, the group’s cellist.
Chicago guitarist Goran Ivanovic is sitting in for Denis Azabagic and is well known to the others in the music group. (Azabagic is recovering from surgery.)
Flutist Eugenia Moliner, a native of Spain, and wife of Denis Azabagic, has been acclaimed as “brilliant” by the British Flute Society. She has performed with the Chicago Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic and more.
Desiree’ Ruhstrat, violinist, and Cunliffe, cellist, are also married and were nominated for a Grammy award in 2017. Cunliffe has served as principal cello in performances with the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish and Royal Scottish symphonies. Ruhstrat has captivated audiences throughout Europe and the Americas. She is on faculty at Northwestern University outside Chicago.
The musicians arrive with a set program featuring the likes of M. deFalla’s “Danse Espagnole,” and Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise.” The group also plays some pieces by Astor Piazzolla, widely considered to be the king of modern tango music.
All of the music features original arrangements to fit the eclectic instruments.
“We play a wide range of music from Bach to traditional songs from the Balkans,” he said.
Yes, but … why Fandango? Why that band name?
“It comes from a piece of music written by a Baroque composer, Luigi Boccherini,” Cunliffe said. “He wrote this crazy piece, originally intended for five string instruments, and there is one movement called ‘Fandango.’ But it has a surprise element in it. It’s a really fun movement and we will play it on our visit to the Keys.”
Concerts are Monday, Feb. 26, at Marathon High School and Tuesday, Feb. 27 at Island Community Church, Islamorada. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased online at www.floridakeysconcerts.com or at the door. Doors open at 7 p.m. and concerts begin at 7:30 p.m.