Born in Caracas, the son of a harpsichordist who founded one of the first Baroque ensembles in Latin America, Aldo Abreu didn't take up the recorder until his early teens. He liked its dulcet, hollow sound, but realized that most people didn't consider it a serious instrument: it was too simple and old-fashioned, a folk curiosity or a toy. In his studies, though, he discovered a trove of Renaissance and Baroque recorder pieces--many of which were already well-known in their flute transcriptions--and knew he'd made the right choice. Now in his mid-30s, with uncanny airstream control, flamboyantly lyrical phrasing, and a century-hopping repertoire, Abreu could be the James Galway of the recorder. He's already eagerly sought after, both by early-music groups worldwide who want him as a soloist and by composers interested in juxtaposing his archaic sound with their contemporary sensibilities. When he won the Concert Artists Guild competition in 1992--the first recorder player to do so--he used his prize to commission a concerto from his cousin Ricardo Lorenz, now a doctoral student in composition at the University of Chicago. Lorenz's Concerto for Recorder yokes pre-Baroque styles to traditional South American flute music: the last movement asks the soloist to play and sing through two recorders at once, emulating Andean panpipes. That piece will be premiered Saturday by Abreu and the University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The night before, Abreu will perform more traditional fare in a concert with the Chicago Baroque Ensemble; highlights include Telemann's double concerto for alto recorder and viola da gamba and a Vivaldi concerto scored originally for soprano recorder. Friday and Saturday, 8 PM, Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, 1131 E. 57th St.; 773-702-8068 (for Friday's concert), or 773-702-8069 and 773-702-7300 (for Saturday's concert).
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.