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TU Alumnus Noam Faingold’s composition celebrates revolutionary Manuela Sáenz

Tapping into his own South American roots, TU alumnus, composer and adjunct professor of music and film Noam Faingold wrote a piece to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage month and forgotten revolutionary Manuela Sáenz. The world premiere of his composition Impressions of Manuela Sáenz, Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra was featured at the Fort Bend Symphony season opener.

The October concert “Finding Home and Family: Reflections on Where We Belong” provided Faingold the opportunity to introduce people to Manuela Sáenz. “The tragic story of this revolutionary figure’s under-appreciation seemed instantly both timeless and timely, while being perfect for the kinds of stories classical music excels at telling,” Faingold said.

Libertadora del Libertador wearing the Order of the Sun medal

Manuela Sáenz was a formidable military leader in northern South America in the early 1800s, who fought for her country’s independence. “Her genius was recognized only recently when Ecuador gave her the rank of general in 2007, and Venezuela gave her a full state funeral in 2010,” he said.

In this piece, Faingold engaged in his own historical roots. “I was trying to put myself in the shoes of a patriot who loved her community, driving the direction of history, fighting for women’s rights before the world had woken up to the concept, who died disrespected and alone in exile,” he said. “I try to capture the mood of what must have been her existential loneliness from giving and sacrificing so much while being written off.”

Faingold’s music has been described as “lyrical,” “exhilarating” and “a tour-de-force” by sources as varied as The New York Times, The BBC and Downbeat Magazine. Performance highlights of his work include New York Philharmonic oboist Rob Botti, Pacific Symphony concertmaster Dennis Kim, the Aspen festival and orchestras and ensembles in London, Paris, New York City, Boston, Finland and Sweden. Faingold has worked as orchestrator/arranger with the London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios and Lester Lynch and the San Francisco Opera Choir at Skywalker Ranch Studios.