I feel proud to be a Canadian while taking in the sounds of Latin America

Between the St. Lawrence String Quartet and violinist Lara St. John, there has been some high-wattage Canadian content at the sixth annual Cartagena International Festival of Music in Colombia, which closes on Saturday.

I felt particularly proud of home today, in an afternoon concert featuring the St. Lawrences, and a goosebump-inducing performance tonight of Ultimo Round, by contemporary Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov, augmented with five string players from the visiting Sao Paulo State Orchestra from Brazil.

The Lawrences commissioned the work, and it sounded particularly fine in the Teatro Adolfo Mejía, Cartagena’s restored 19th century opera house, pictured above.

Although it’s music closely tied to Argentina, it was made possible by a group born in Canada. And, thanks to the traditional horseshoe shape of the 1,000-seat theatre, I could also see how the audience was transfixed by a performance that nearly brought me to tears, led by St. Lawrence violins Geoff Nutall and Scott St. John.

I wish I could provide you with a listen of this great piece, but I can’t find a video.

So I’ll slip in this little bit of iPad silliness, courtesy of Nutall, St. John, violist Lesley Robertson and cellist Christopher Costanza:


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