Nine students from the University of Richmond symphony orchestra and chamber ensemble will be traveling to Cartagena, Colombia during Fall Break to perform and practice with a local orchestra. The trip is part of the music department’s Cartagena Project.
Led by Alexander Kordzaia, music director of the orchestra, and Joanne Kong, coordinator of chamber ensembles, the group will depart on Oct. 13 and return on Oct. 19.
The groups will do three performances, Kordzaia said. The chamber ensemble will perform on Sunday, Oct. 13 when they arrive. The biggest performance will be on Tuesday, Oct. 15, when Richmond’s groups will collaborate with the Festival Symphony Orchestra.
“There will be 120 musicians on stage for that performance,” Kordzaia said.
Kordzaia went to Cartagena in September 2012. He was invited by the Fundacion Tocando Puertas Abrir Futuros, “an organization that provides musical instruments, lessons, performance opportunities and scholarships to further education to low-income families in Colombia,” according to an article about Kordzaia’s trip on Richmond’s website.
Unlike last year, “there will be more educational aspects this year, as Richmond students will have a chance to go to Cartagena Regional High School and teach students,” Kordzaia said.
Leslie Kinnas, a violinist, is a member of both the orchestra and the chamber ensemble. “I am so honored to have been chosen to be a part of this trip,” Kinnas said. “I love playing the violin and I want to share this love for music to the children that we will be working with.”
Cartagena is the only completely fortified city left in Colombia, Kordzaia said. “It is a Venice without water, and people use horses and carriages for transportation,” Kordzaia said, adding that the group will rehearse in an old monastery sanctuary.
“I’m excited to learn about the Colombian culture,” Kinnas said. “I have never been to South America, so I’m not sure what to expect.”
In addition to the annual Family Weekend and end-of-semester concerts (Sept. 27 and Dec. 4), the orchestra will also perform a special Cartagena Project concert on Oct. 9. They have been collecting instruments from the community and fellow students to take with them to Cartagena.
Contact reporter Mary Rossiter at firstname.lastname@example.org