Venezuelan musician Geremias Mai Marcano will present his concert My Musical Journey this weekend at Theatre 1, University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) at National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Frederick Street, Port of Spain.
Marcano has lived in Trinidad and Tobago for four years. He first came to TT ten years ago, accompanying his uncle and mentor Jesús Acosta as a guest of the Lydian Singers and the PALM Foundation (the Pat Bishop Foundation for Art, Literature and Music).
He began music studies in the National System of Youth and Children's Orchestras and Choirs of Venezuela at 14, playing the recorder. A year later, he discovered the oboe, one of the woodwind family, and since then he has studied everything about it and sharpened his musical talent.
In 2019, on finishing his degree in English, he had just been accepted into the Simón Bolívar Conservatory of Music, but was unable to take up his place, owing to the serious economic situation in Venezuela.
He returned to TT and was accepted into the National Philharmonic Orchestra as its sole oboist. He joined the orchestra for the Lydians Christmas Show playing the oboe, an instrument little known in TT.
Later that year, UTT awarded him a scholarship to do his bachelor's degree in music. At the end of this term, Marcano will be the first and only UTT oboe graduate in its history.
Since 2019, he has also been a tutor at Birdsong Academy and Heroes Foundation. He has performed with the Desperadoes Steel Orchestra at NAPA and at the Big Five Steelband show at Queen's Park Savannah.
In late 2021, on the recommendation of UTT music teacher Catherine Gainham, he auditioned for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in England. He was not only accepted but was awarded a scholarship to do his master's degree there.
But although he has been awarded a scholarship, UK Immigration requires him to collect at least $120,000 to obtain a student visa, or he'll lose his scholarship. Marcano has to prove to the UK authorities he has the necessary financial resources to cover his expenses for a year, and he has to do that before the second week of July.
To raise funds, Marcano will perform two concerts, on June 25 at 6 pm and June 26 at 5 pm along with various local and Venezuelan artists.
The event is being promoted by the PALM Foundation.
At the concerts, Marcano will have the support of some of the best musicians in the country: Edward Cumberbatch, Dirk Govia, Joanne Pyle, Nakita Gadsby and David Williams, soloists; Enrique Ali, his accompanist; and Theron Shaw, his and Derrianne Dyett's calypso arranger.
His mentor and uncle, Jesús Acosta, will lead a group of musicians trained in El Sistema, El Grupo Venezolano.
The first half will consist of oboe and classical piano works and solos. The second half will feature calypsoes and Venezuelan and Latin-American folk music.
Speaking with Newsday, Marcano said he is grateful to TT and all the people who have supported him during his studies and experiences here.
“I want to thank God and this country for opening its doors to me. To the people who have supported me in this dream of doing my master's degree, thank you very much,” he said.
his goal after getting his master's degree is to return to TT and teach oboe.
"The oboe timbre is characterised by a penetrating, biting and somewhat nasal sound, sweet and very expressive, and I want to be able to teach how to play it here,” he said.
Tickets for Geremias Mai Marcano's concerts cost $200 and can be bought by calling: 338 6024.