Concert to explore music of Basque composers

Visiting clarinetist Oskar Espina Ruiz will perform a free concert of work by Basque composers Dec. 13 on the campus of Western Carolina University.

Clarinetist Oskar Espina Ruiz will perform a concert of clarinet and piano music exploring the music of Basque composers at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, in the recital hall of the Coulter Building on the campus of Western Carolina University campus.

The program is free and open to the public.

Ruiz, a clarinet faculty member at the North Carolina School for the Arts in Winston-Salem, will be joined by WCU faculty pianist Bradley Martin. The recital will center on works written by Basque composers from Spain and France, covering nearly two centuries of music making. The program will alternate the classical or neoclassical with contemporary works for clarinet solo. One work, by major living Spanish composer Luis De Pablo, was written to commemorate the 250th anniversary of J.S. Bach’s passing.

The Basque Country is an autonomous region of Spain, but the Basque language and culture is shared by Navarra, another autonomous region of Spain, and by three provinces in Southwest France.

Born in Bilbao, Spain, Ruiz’s first musical training came on Basque folk instruments. Based in New York City for the past 20 years, Ruiz has performed at major concert halls and festivals, including concerto performances at the Philharmonic Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia, and recitals in New York City, Washington, Moscow, Madrid, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. His chamber music collaborations include the American, Shanghai, Cassatt, Escher and Daedalus quartets. He has recorded for the Bridge, Kobaltone and Prion labels.

Ruiz holds a doctoral degree in music from Stony Brook University in New York. He devotes much of his time to musical research; his work on Spanish post-Romantic composer Julián Menéndez brought him first prize in the 2006 International Clarinet Association research competition. His performance is sponsored by the Etxepare Basque Institute and the North Carolina School of the Arts.

For more information about the concert, contact the WCU School of Music at 828-227-7242.