Noon Concert with Berkeley Choro Ensemble, Amilton Godoy & Léa Freire

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Jane Lenoir, flute
Harvey Wainapel, clarinet
Ricardo Peixoto, 7-string guitar
Brian Rice, pandeiro/percussion
Lea Freire, flute (special guest from Brazil)
Amilton Godoy, piano (special guest from Brazil)


The Berkeley Choro Ensemble (pronounced “shoro”), is a group of world-class musicians from the SF Bay Area that made its debut in January , 2010, at the Berkeley Public Library. The group celebrates the music , culture and history of Brazil, with a special emphasis on the Choro genre, a style of music which emerged in the 1800’s in Brazil, fusing the music of Brazil’s European immigrants and the native music of Brazil’s indigenous and African population. In particular, the choro sound is somewhat akin to a combination of Baroque Classical music, ragtime, and blues. Some have called this “Choro”, which literally means “to weep”, the Brazilian equivalent of America’s blues. Historically, the choro style influenced Brazil’s most famous classical composer, Hector Villa Lobos, who, as a guitarist, jammed with local ensembles, and went on to compose some of the world’s most hauntingly beautiful music. Our repertoire also includes samba, bossa nova, jazz, the music of Northeast Brazil —forro (pronounced “fo-ho”), and more.

The ensemble has produced three festivals of Brazilian Choro since 2013 at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, collaborating with guest artists from Brazil and the US, as well as commissioning members of the ensemble to compose music for these events. In March 2016, Berkeley Choro Ensemble received their second grant from the SF Friends of Chamber Music to record their first CD, which will be recorded in 2017, featuring the music of contemporary Brazilian composers, as well as works by members Harvey Wainapel and Ricardo Peixoto.

From a family of professional musicians, flutist Jane Lenoir grew up in Tampa, Florida, and left home at 15 as a scholarship student to the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and then to Oberlin Conservatory of Music. A performer comfortable in many diverse styles, Jane appears regularly as a soloist, chamber player, orchestral musician, baroque flutist, and jazz performer. A founder of Berkeley Choro, Jane is particularly interested in Latin flute styles, which celebrate the instrument’s ancient, rich history , virtuosity, and lyrical sound. Jane is currently collaborating with Brazilian musicians Alessandro Penezzi, guitar, Paulo Sergio Santos, clarinet, Rogério Souza, guitar and others for a CD of contemporary Brazilian music.

Multi-instrumentalist and composer, Harvey Wainapel, has forged a well- earned reputation as one of the foremost artists in Brazilian styles in the US today. Trained as a jazz saxophonist and celebrated for his numerous recordings in the jazz idiom, Harvey has spent many years touring and studying in Brazil with the leading musicians of the day, including Airto and Flora Purim, ….. His 2006 CD, Amigos Brasileiros, received rave reviews as a testament to the history of Brazilian styles of music. With over 40 Brazilian musicians represented on the CD, it was a musical odyssey and labor of love. In 2014, Amigos Brasileiros Volume 2 came out to rave reviews. Harvey recently returned from another trip to Brasil, and will be the featured guest composer/ performer at the Berkeley Festival of Choro 2015 at the Freight and Salvage in May 2015.

Originally from Rio de Janeiro and based in the Bay Area, guitarist/composer Ricardo Peixoto is among the top representatives of Brazilian guitar in the US, with a fluid melodic style and a keen compositional sense. His performances explore Brazil’s rich and diverse traditions, both in his original work as well as in arrangements of Brazilian classics. His approach is grounded both in the jazz and Brazilian music traditions, but always ventures well beyond their borders, combining rich melodies, sophisticated harmonies, and the unmistakable rhythms of Brazil. Ricardo came to the US on a scholarship to the Berkeley School of Music in Boston, and later continued his studies in classical guitar at the SF Conservatory of Music.He has recorded, performed, and collaborated with, among others, Claudia Villela, Flora Purim and Airto, saxophonist Bud Shank, percussionist Dom Um Romão, Toots Thielemans, Dori Caymmi, Guinga, guitarist Carlos Oliveira, Harvey Wainapel, Marcos Silva and Terra Sul. He has performed throughout the US, Europe, Canada, Japan and Brazil.

Percussionist Brian Rice graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy and Oberlin College Conservatory of Music with a B.M. in Percussion Performance and Ethnomusicology. A well-rounded musician, Brian is a highly acclaimed performer, educator and recording artist adept at numerous musical styles ranging from classical and jazz, to Latin, Afro-Cuban, and Brazilian, to contemporary and experimental music. Brian’s study of the Brazilian pandeiro began in 1986 when the Sao Paulo State University percussion ensemble visited Oberlin and percussionist/composer Carlos Stasi, then a student at SPSU, gave Brian a quick pandeiro lesson after the concert. Since then Brian’s obsession with the pandeiro has led him to study with Guello, Marcos Suzano, Airto, Claudio Bueno and Clarice Magalhaes, and his prowess on the instrument has led him to perform with numerous Brazilian artists including, Jovino Santos Neto, Paulo Sergio Santos, Danilo Brito, Dudu Maia and Jorge Alabe. It was studies with Marcos Suzano that inspired Brian to expand his use of the pandeiro outside the Brazilian music world and apply it to Balkan, Celtic, Middle Eastern, Spanish, and Cuban music with great e etc.

 Flutist/pianist/composer Léa Freire grew up surrounded by music. She began by studying piano, where she absorbed Brazilian composers such as Villa-Lobos and Lorenzo Fernandes, as well as Bach and Debussy. She later started playing and teaching herself flute, with which she made her musical reputation. A versatile composer, Léa released her first CD, “Ninhal,” in 1997, on her newly-founded label Maritaca. Many CDs followed, including “Cartas Brasileiras,” (2007) with her symphonic arrangements for 62 musicians in various formations, a contemporary overview of Brazilian instrumental music.

Pianist/composer/arranger/educator Amilton Godoy, 76 years young, is also from the state of São Paulo. He has won important awards and competitions throughout his career. With Luiz Chaves (bass) and Rubens Barsotti (drums), Godoy formed the renowned and influential Zimbo Trio, which has made 51 recordings and performed in over 40 countries. The Zimbo Trio’s 49-year career has increased recognition of Brazilian instrumental music throughout the world.


The community is invited to our complimentary Wednesday Noon Concert series. As part of our ongoing mission to use the transformative power of the arts to inspire and enrich our community, we have opened our doors for the past two years, every Wednesday at Noon, and presented concerts performed by talented musicians that are free of charge to the public. These free noon performances offer listeners the opportunity to discover the beauty of music in an intimate accessible setting, while providing the community with cultural enrichment and exposure to talented performers.

Concerts are in a one-hour format and performances take place in the intimate Tivoli or Crescendo where both audience and musicians can sit in vibrant, close proximity. Musicians often stay after the performance to informally speak about the program and their upcoming concerts.

November 15 2017


Date: Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Cost: Free
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