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Dr. Gabriela Calderón Cornejo, Piano
July 18, 2023
Dr. Gabriela Calderón Cornejo, Piano


Uncovering Piano Works by Latin American Women Composers

Carmen Barradas: Baile inglés (English Dance)

Nelly Mele Lara: Mínima suite infantil (Children’s Short Suite)  MusasTexts_GCCornejo20230718

Maruja Hinestrosa: Fantasía sobre aires colombianos (Fantasia on Typical Colombian Genres)

Aurora Román Casares: Tristeza india (Indigenous Sadness)

Aurora Román Casares: Volando sobre el Napo (Flying Over the Napo)

María Mendoza de Baratta: Nahualismo (Nahualism) MusasTexts_GCCornejo20230718


Mínima Suite infantil (Short Children’s Suite) by Nelly Mele Lara Text by Manuel Felipe Rugeles

I Preludio (Prelude) The silent earth lifts the trees of the path and the sky says to the birds: Make music in the nests!

II El curruñatá (The Thick-billed Euphonia) Mountain thick-billed euphonia, the one with the little blue crown and violet-colored wings: Who could sing like you!

III Campanero (Ringer) Ringer, let hear the voices of your bell that the Channel-billed Toucan already came to make the cross in the water! Dr. Gabriela Calderón Cornejo

IV Airón (Heron) Heron with golden feathers, of emerald and scarlet How you hide in the shade Your flaming winged body!

V El colibrí (The hummingbird) Of the harmonious hummingbird from the wing to the tail, each flight is a miracle each feather is a gem.

VI Palomitas mensajeras (Messenger Pigeons) Messengers pigeons: Where will you be at these hours? The hawk of the Sierra passes by talking alone.

VII La guacharaca (Rufous-vented chachalaca) Chachalaca, chachalaca, tell me when it is going to rain! And if the sun is going to go out, when will it come back on?

Nahualismo (Nahualism) by María Mendoza de Baratta

The music, inspired by a legend or myth, invokes in us that autochthonous spirit, so beautiful and indefinable by the very breadth of its abstraction. It is like the emotional wound through which the feeling escapes unconsciously and sincerely. The entire soul of a village seems to have crystallized itself, in order to perpetuate itself through the centuries.


A spirit that lurks for the instant to do good or evil, embodied in the body of a hieratic owl, of a snake, or a tiger; and in the depth of some eyes, “Nahualism,” the strongest tradition of our indigenous people.

Prelude It is the call, it is the terrible desperate cry of the race to something very vivid, organic, that is hidden in hollows of very distant times… and in the voice of the blood that beats strongly, the complaint of the NOSTALGIC HARMONIOUS.

Prophecy The prophecy begins, insistent, insinuating… giving the sensation of having already lived the impression of this melody, of that dance full of mystery and poetic ritual. It is, as longing for perfumes and rhythms that vibrate in all of our being and not being…

Incantation Here resonates the priestly call of the horn and the shells. They invoke the good spirits and chase away the bad ones… with a concise satanic gesture, the witch invokes the spirits and fuels a crackling flame that encircles the incense, under the power conjured by the kabbalists.

Sortilege There is the bewitchment of a dance, with an indigenous musical recitative. It is a melodrama that gives us both joy and pain at the same time. The spell is announced and the spirits suddenly appear in lights… in voices never heard… with inexplicable accents; something like this: as modulating lights … or as voices that illuminate … and the “Prophecy” returns.

The cabal The power of ultra-earthy chords transports us to the unknown. Then… the serpent stretches and grows gigantic, shaking its feathers of fire, the hieratic owl tightens its wings, and its two large eyes lighten up like green lanterns. In the witch’s deep gaze, the “Nahualism” flashes disturbingly, foreshadowing something tremendous… it moves voluptuously and fateful in the imploring rhythm of the infallible “Cabal”…

The spell Suddenly, in the enchantment of surrounding darkness, wailing snakes with red tongues and fiery eyes pass by. Before the demons and spirits, bound by the spell of “Nahualism,” the mystics of the conquistador’s nail signs of the cross to themselves… The dance is animated with a diabolical fury… insistent tones… repeated prayers… pleas and calls. Finally, the blaze of the bonfire is engulfed in flames, and the powerful and fearsome “Nahual” emerges in the beautiful figure of a quetzal, which is the most sacred emblem and symbol of the indigenous people. The “Nahualism” of the natives has triumphed. The witch celebrates it by emphasizing the ritual with a tremendous cackle…! The flame rises up until it kisses the ceiling. The owl lets out a piercing diaphonic song; the sorceress strikes her magic wand twice… the fire goes out… it’s all over …! Only the smoke from the incense clouds the environment and numbs the souls…

Costa Rican pianist Dr. Gabriela Calderón Cornejo is a passionate player who has explored diverse musical styles, which have provided her with a unique voice full of creative approaches. Gabriela has acquired wide-ranging experience as a solo performer, chamber musician, collaborative pianist, and teacher through her involvement in numerous projects in Costa Rica, the United States, and Portugal.

Recently, her work in rediscovering, adapting, and promoting previously undigitized works by Latin American female composers has been featured at international conferences and concert series culminating in the release of her first studio album and anthology Musas.

Gabriela is an active member of the U.S.’s most prominent music organizations and contributes to the profession by teaching, performing, participating in conferences, and serving as a board member for the Cayambis Institute for Latin American Studies in Music (CILASiM), the Branch Recital Director for the Music Teacher’s Association of California (MTAC) – San Mateo County, and an active adjudicator for the California Certificate of Merit.

On the undergraduate level, Gabriela completed a Bachelor of Music and a Licentiate of Music Degree in Piano Performance at the University of Costa Rica. She then completed a Master of Music Degree in Piano Performance at Ithaca College and earned her Doctor of Arts degree in Piano Performance at Ball State University, with a Certificate in Entrepreneurial Music. Currently, it is her ambition to continue a performing and teaching career accentuated by her minor as an entrepreneur.