Initially the details are fairly sparse about this weekend…





On Sunday, 5th October, 2008


The Frank Collymore Hall

at 6:00 p.m. (not 7:30 listed before)


But when you get more in-depth, then the idea of listening to what’s deemed as classical Brazilian music gains a whole new view –

Jo?o Carlos Assis Brasil was born in Rio de Janeiro, on August 28, 1945.

He began his piano studies at the Brazilian Conservatory of Music in Rio de Janeiro, where, besides piano, he studied harmony and musical theory.

At the age of 15 Assis Brasil began performing as a classical piano soloist with orchestras in concerts. He also studied in London (England), Paris (France) and Vienna (Austria). While in Austria, in 1965, he also won the third prize in the International Beethoven Contest and was a soloist with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Later he travelled through Europe and throughout the world. Among others, Jo?o Carlos furthered his studies with the masters Jacques Klein and Pierre Sancan.

Although he is well known as a classical concert player, Jo?o Carlos Assis Brasil became immersed in popular Brazilian music commencing in the ?80s, when he started the Jo?o Carlos Assis Brasil Trio with Zeca Assump??o (bass) and Cl?udio Carib? (drums). He accompanied artists such as Maria Beth?nia and Zizi Possi and recorded with great names of popular Brazilian music, like Wagner Tiso, Jaques Morelenbaum, Ney Matogrosso, Ala?de Costa and Olivia Byington.

Assis Brasil?s most expressive work is ?Todos os Pianos?, which means ?All the pianos?. According to Assis Brasil himself, he recorded it in fewer than two sessions. It was recorded together with the Berlin Philharmonic. Todos os Pianos is formally a tribute to fellow piano players, among whom great composers were revealed throughout the history of 20th century music. With the influence of ?choro?, ?bossa?, ?samba?, and American and French jazz, Assis Brasil creates suites combining work by Brazilian artists such as: Ernesto Nazareth (Brejeiro, Odeon, Faceira, Apanhei-te Cavaquinho) and Chiquinha Gonzaga (Arac?, Aguar?, Sabi? da Mata) and work by Gershwin (including S?Wonderful and Rhapsody in Blue), Cole Porter (including I Get a Kick Out of You) and Michel Legrand (of Summer of ?42 and Umbrellas of Cherbourg).

One of the composers most prominent on Jo?o Carlos?s recordings is his brother, the saxophonist, Victor Assis Brasil, one of the greatest instrumentalists of Brazilian jazz of all times. Victor died in 1981, leaving a vigorous legacy of themes performed throughout the world. Many of them were released after the author?s death and kept alive through the dedication of Jo?o Carlos. Prel?lio em Sol Menor and Valsa do Reencontro are two of Victor?s themes interpreted by Jo?o on Todos os Pianos.

Due to all the experiences throughout his years of living in Brazil and in Europe, the concerts piano, and with orchestras, and of course the Brazilian style, developed in work with interpreters of popular Brazilian music, Jo?o Carlos Assis Brasil has a rare combination of techniques. He presents some of the most personalized work of his career, sustained by his maturity and experience.

The Brazilian artiste already respected Barbadian counterparts by hosting a brief Master Class for a very selected few to gain an insight into this Master’s workings. Here’s what a Finlandic online daily thought of Joao, the interview is a bit dated – 2004 (His 1st name is pronounced like Z’H, instead of SH, with OW – thus; Z’H/OW) –

Brazilian pianist Jo?o Carlos Assis Brasil makes a rhetorical question: ?Do you know what is the best way of making classical music known in Brazil??

I have to answer that I don?t know.

?The best way is television. I had for three years a weekly television show, in which one spoke of classical music, as well as performed it. Unfortunately, it is finished now.?

Without a doubt, it is television that best reaches the 150-million people in Brazil.

If one has visited Brazil, one quickly notices that television is full of MPB music, or – m?sica popular brasileira; Brazilian popular music. It is more popular than samba and bossa nova together.

If a pianist wants to become well-known in Brazil, he needs also to play light, entertaining music and to hope that little by little there would rise an interest towards classical music in the audience.

Jo?o Carlos Assis Brasil is a classical pianist by his education, has experienced this during his long career. When he was young he succeeded in piano competitions both in his home country and in Europe. He has also performed a couple of successful concerts in Europe.

Assis Brasil did not come to Finland by accident. On Sunday at the Concert Hall of Sibelius Academy he is going to give a concert to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Finnish immigration to Penedo, in Brazil.

A group of Finnish idealists left in 1929 to establish an utopian socialist community in picturesque Penedo, which is located in the mountains and has a very pleasant climate.

?The idealistic doctrine of the community did not quite work in the practical life?, comments the Ambassador of Brazil Luiz Henrique Pereira da Fonseca. ?In the beginning the Finns in Penedo were utopian socialists but now they are capitalists who own hotels and restaurants.?

?My parents got 45 years ago a house in Penedo, where I spent all summers of my childhood?, tells Assis Brasil.

I got to know many Finnish people, who were warm, ordinary people. They were intelligent and spiritual. As a child I heard many Finnish polkas and other folklore songs, because every Saturday there was held a dance. This dance tradition still continues.?

The program of Assis Brasil’s concert includes his composition Suite Suomi-Penedo, which combines Finnish folk song melodies with themes of Jean Sibelius?s familiar piano pieces.

Most of the program of Assis Brasil?s concert falls into category of potpourri type suite, which represents the Brazilian taste. Brazilian audience likes to listen to Brazilian piano music offered in the form of colourful and varying medleys.

Assis Brasil is himself a master in combining different melodies. He often dedicates his own compositions, suites, to themes of a particular composer. These themes his works in a way of improvisation, skilfully intertwining passages from one theme to another. The other area close to Assis Brasil is improvisation.

?In my improvisation I play jazz in my own way, as I also play samba and bossa nova in my own way.?

According to Assis Brasil there are a lot of jazz like characters in Brazilian music. Choro music, which was born in the 19th century, was based on improvisation. The syncopated rhythm of choro gave a good basis for that. Choro then influenced the creation of bossa nova, and bossa nova with its syncopated rhythms often resembles pure jazz, of course with a Brazilian touch.

Many great pianists in the world have come from Brazil. Assis Brasil thinks that there exists a lot of pianist talent in Brazil.

The problem is that good pianists and their teachers, as well as the best Brazilian musicians in general, seek to leave Brazil to go to Europe or United States for better work possibilities.

Assis Brasil himself is also planning to start to work more in Europe, where there is plenty audience for classical music. His wish is to play more real classical recitals while continuing with more entertaining concerts.

There are seven symphony orchestras in Brazil according to the estimate of Assis Brasil. They are institutions maintained by the government, but nevertheless it is so expensive to go to listen to them that most Brazilians cannot afford it. The same applies to other concerts of classical music.

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