'The Americas' set to showcase sounds of North and South America

The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia has been spending this season taking audiences on a musical journey around the world, but the ensemble's next stop is much closer to home and includes an unexpected visitor.

In a concert called The Americas, the Chamber Orchestra is exploring the evolution of sounds from North and South America with a focus on one instrument in particular.

"What better instrument for the Americas than the guitar?," asks Joshua Hartman, Marketing Associate for the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. "Not just acoustic guitar, but also electric guitar."

"It's a very unusual slant to classical music," says the Chamber Orchestra's Executive Director Anne Hagan. "I think it's going to attract new audiences."

The program includes the world premiere of a work by composer-in-residence Andrea Clearfield.

"My piece I believe is the only one for electric guitar and the chamber orchestra," Clearfield says. "So it features the sound of the guitar with all this wide range of possibility it can make."

The piece will be played by Curtis alum Jordan Dodson.

"We explored a bunch of different effects -- distortion and chorus pedals and all kinds of crazy wild effects," Dodson says.

"It's a wide range of colors," Clearfield adds, "The first movement is called Sing. The second move-ment is Streak where he really gets to go wild, and third movement is called Glow."

The performance marks Dodson's debut with the Chamber Orchestra.

"It's a huge deal," Dodson says.

"It's an honor to work with Jordan," Clearfield says. 'He's an amazing artist and we've had a really good time putting this piece together."

Dodson will also play the acoustic guitar for a piece by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos.

"It uses a lot of native Brazilian music as source material," Dodson says. "He also infuses some Brazilian street music."

Jordan says the street music combines jazz, marches and polkas. The rest of the program will showcase a modern take on folk, jazz, rock and contemporary music.

"It's a little edgier; like it's a lot of fun," Hagen says.

Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia: The Americas
Sun., March 31, 2 p.m.; Mon., April 1, 7:30 p.m.
The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Perelman Theater
300 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
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