Saturday, November 20th -- Viewers of LAMusArt Live! had the pleasure of witnessing the exquisite and expressive soprano voice of Esther Renee Rayo, all the way from the Windy City, accompanied by LAMusArt’s Brendan White on the piano.
This LAMusArt Live! concert was the series' first all-Spanish vocal repertoire performance, highlighting work from Fernando Obradors and others lesser-performed, but critically-acclaimed Latin composers. Rayo spoke backstage in an interview before her performance: “These Spanish and Argentinian composers’ music should absolutely be celebrated. It is my honor, my duty, and my privilege to keep this music alive!” The evening began with the works of Fernando Obradors with his collection of “Canciones clásicas españolas”, followed by Enrique Granados’ pieces “Colección de tonadillas”, Alberto Ginastera “Cinco canciones populares Argentinas”, and closing with Ruperto Chapí-Las’ “hijas del Zebedeo”. LAMusArt families and fans of Rayo joined from all over the country to share in this debut performance.
In Ginastera’s Cinco Canciones, Rayo displays her range of expression and power from the playful, lively “Chacera” to the unwavering weep in “Triste” -- each line delivered with a deep, longing connection to the text: “Debajo de un limón verde, Donde el agua no corría, Entregué mi corazón…” Witness this performance and more on-demand through LAMusArt Live! here.
Esther Renee Rayo began singing from the age of 6, in the children’s choir at Sacred Heart School in Brawley, CA. Ever since, she has dedicated her life to music. After graduating from Brawley Union High School in 2006 she continued her studies at Sonoma State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music & voice performance, and a Master of Music with emphasis in Vocal Performance from DePaul University in 2012. Rayo has been part of numerous ensembles throughout the country, including the San Francisco Wind Ensemble, Sierra Chamber Society, DePaul Chamber Chorus, and the Imperial Valley Choral Society.
Rayo’s recent highlights include the role of Anna Maurrant in Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, the title role in Puccini’s Suor Angelica to critical acclaim, and Liederabend recital with Lieder Alive! Organization. Awards include honors from the Jarvis Conservatory Redwood Empire and San Francisco Bay Area Chapter NATS Vocal Competitions, East Bay Opera League Vocal Competition, DePaul University Kleinman Vocal Competition, Scholarship Recipient of the San Miguel Institute of Bel Canto Summer Program, and Angeli Scholarship Recipient of the Musica nelle Marche Summer Program. She can be seen performing as music returns to the live stage, this May in San Francisco.
Award-winning classical pianist, Brendan White is an LAMusArt piano teaching artist and performer. Born and raised in Tennessee, where he began his music studies, before attending the Eastman School of Music, and then University of Southern California. He has performed as soloist with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, Eastman’s Musica Nova, the Delta Symphony Orchestra and more. White enjoys combining the traditional classical piano repertoire with avid genre-bending modern and experimental music. In addition to playing piano, he can occasionally be spotted as a “secret organist”, percussionist, or tenor. Read more about the artists and interact with our Study Guide!
If you enjoy music and arts make sure to register for music lessons, art classes, dance classes, or drama lessons and begin your journey through the arts, visit LAMusArt.org/programs for individual group classes in music, art, dance, and drama for students of all skill levels. Classes are offered Monday through Thursday, from 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm, and on Saturdays from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.