Fabio Zanon

Fabio Zanon is one of the pre-eminent guitarists of today. As a solo and chamber player, author, conductor, teacher and broadcaster, he has sought to expand the perception of the guitar in the concert scene.

He was born in Brazil and holds Brazilian and Italian citizenships. He first learned the guitar with his father, had his formal training with Antonio Guedes, and later studied with Henrique Pinto and Edelton Gloeden. He gave his first concert at the age of 16 and his orchestral debut came two years later, but he only decided to concentrate on guitar performance after completing his education at the University of São Paulo, where he also studied composition and conducting. Later on he studied with Michael Lewin at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he also attended Julian Bream’s masterclasses and obtained a Masters degree from the University of London. He returned to the stage in 1995 with a concert at Wigmore Hall in London.

Although not greatly drawn to competitions, he came to international prominence in 1996 when he was the first prize winner of two of the most prestigious ones – the 30th Francisco Tarrega Prize in Spain and the 14th Guitar Foundation of America GFA Guitar Competition in the USA – in the space of a few weeks. These were followed by his first extended tour of North America. In 1998 he played his debut with a major orchestra, stepping in at short notice for a performance of Piazzolla’s Concerto for Guitar and Bandoneon with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Since then he has been invited to play at venues such as the Royal Festival Hall in London, Carnegie Recital Hall in New York, Sala Verdi in Milan, KKR in Lucerne, Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, Philharmonie in St Petersburg and the São Paulo Hall and Rio Opera House in Brazil. He has toured most European countries and returned every year to North and South America.

His recordings have met with great acclaim. His albums of Villa-Lobos and Scarlatti have been hailed as benchmark recordings. In 1997 he received the Moinho Santista Prize, the major artistic and scientific award in Brazil, in recognition of the role he has played in the development of Brazilian music. In 2005 he was awarded the Carlos Gomes Prize for being the best solo performer in Brazil.

Fabio Zanon has premiered and recorded a significant number of new pieces, including guitar concertos by Crowl, Dwyer, Faria, Hime, Kenyon and van der Roost. His repertoire includes more than 40 pieces for guitar and orchestra, some of whose, like the forgotten masterpieces by Mignone, Palau and Tansman, he has brought to the standard repertoire.

Over the last few years he has increased his activities as a conductor and has also written and presented radio programmes. His debut as an opera conductor was chosen as Best Concert of 2006 by the Brazilian press.

In 2008 he was appointed as a Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He has also shared his knowledge through master classes around the world, from Russia and the Far East to the major colleges in North America.

Fabio Zanon lives in Sao Paulo, with his wife and two children.

Carlos obtained teaching degrees in piano, theory, harmony, counterpoint and composition at the Royal Conservatoire of Music in Madrid. In 1988 he moved to London to study at the Royal College of Music, where he completed post-graduate studies in composition (ARCM). Because of his interest in opera he decided to study with Jacques Delacôte, a pupil of Hans Swarovsky and a great specialist in opera. As a result of his research, Carlos recorded a programme under the title ‘Spain in the Romantic Germanic Opera’ with the Pilsen Radio Orchestra in the Czech Republic. In 1993 he became assistant conductor and chorus master of the Earls Court arena production of Carmen, with which he travelled to Zurich, Munich and Berlin, working with José Carreras, Simon Estes and the legendary Ambrosian Opera Chorus. He has been an assistant to Jacques Delacôte, John McCarthy, Simon Joly and Terry Edwards, and has worked as an interpreter with Harry Cristophers, during masterclasses in Granada, Spain.

He studied singing at the Escuela superior de Canto, Madrid, where he also worked as an accompanist. After continuing his studies in London, he also sang as a soloist in recitals and operas. As a conductor and chorus master, he has collaborated with Midsummer Opera, Blackheath Opera, Floral Opera, LGSO, Camden and Kingsway SO and the Chelsea Opera Group, for whom he is a regular chorus master. In 1995 he founded Coro Cervantes.

Since 1999, Carlos has been teaching choral, orchestral and operatic conducting, as well as choral and opera performance for singers, in Great Britain, Mexico, Spain and Peru. In 2001 he was invited to give a masterclass on Spanish and Latin American vocal repertoire at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. He is Music Director and a member of the jury of the Trujillo International Singing Competition (Peru), and collaborated also as director and adjudicator at the Rosario International Singing Competition in Argentina. Carlos is involved in helping and promoting Latin American young opera singers. In 2008 he conducted the Costa Rican premiere of Puccini´s Suor Angelica with the Costa Rica Chamber Opera Company.

He is a regular guest conductor with Latin American orchestras, including the Falcon SO (Venezuela), SODRE SO (Uruguay National Broadcast Orchestra), Cuban National Orchestra, Trujillo SO (Peru) and Peruvian National Orchestra. In 2004 Carlos conducted the London Symphony Orchestra for a CD of Spanish contemporary music recorded with Coro Cervantes. Carlos has conducted the National Choir of Spain at the National Auditorium in Madrid.

Carlos Fernández Aransay has had several articles published and works premiered in Madrid and London and translates for EMI Classics, Naxos and Brilliant. He has been Festival Assistant of Spitalfields Festival, Assistant Secretary of the Iberian and Latin American Music Society (ILAMS) and a teacher of vocal and operatic repertoire at the City Literary Institute, London.

  • Yanomami


    Coro Cervantes is a unique professional chamber choir. Through its perforamances and recordings it aims to bring the music of Iberia and Latin America to audiences everywhere. This disc of 20th century music for the unusual yet fabulous combination of choir and guitar coincides with the 70th birthday of Brazilian composer Marlos Nobre, whose work Yanomam, inspired by the death rituals of the indigenous Yanomami people, gives the album its title. The choir is accompanied by the Brazilian Fabio Zanon, one of most all embracing talents in the international guitar scene.

    Julian Stocker Fabio Zanon Carlos Fernandez Aransay

    The Yanomami

    The Yanomami are one of the largest relatively isolated tribes in South America. They live in the rainforests and mountains of northern Brazil and southern Venezuela, and today their total population stands at around 32,000. At over 9.6 million hectares, the Yanomami territory in Brazil is twice the size of Switzerland. In Venezuela, the Yanomami live in the 8.2 million hectare Alto Orinoco - Casiquiare Biosphere Reserve. Together, these areas form the largest forested indigenous territory in the world.

    The Yanomami live in large, circular, communal houses called yanos or shabonos. Some house up to 400 people. The Yanomami believe strongly in equality among people. Each community is independent from others and they do not recognize ‘chiefs’. Decisions are made by consensus, frequently after long debates where everybody has a say.

    Like most Amazonian tribes, tasks are divided between the sexes. Men hunt game, often using curare (a plant extract) to poison their prey. Women tend the gardens where they grow around 60 crops and also collect wild honey nuts, shellfish and insect larvae.

    The spirit world is a fundamental part of Yanomami life. Every creature, rock, tree and mountain has a spirit. Sometimes these are malevolent, attack the Yanomami and are believed to cause illness. Shamans control these spirits by inhaling a hallucinogenic snuff called yakoana. Through their trance like visions, they meet the spirits or xapiripë.

    During the 1980s, the Yanomami suffered immensely when up to 40,0000 Brazilian goldminers invaded their land. The miners shot them, destroyed many villages, and exposed them to diseases to which they had no immunity. Twenty percent of the Yanomami died in just seven years. After a long international campaign led by Yanomami spokesman, Davi Kopenawa, Survival and the Brazilian NGO, the Pro Yanomami Commission (CCPY), Yanomami land in Brazil was officially recognized as the ‘Yanomami Park’ in 1992 and the miners expelled.

    However, the Yanomami still face many threats. Cattle ranchers are invading and deforesting the eastern fringe of their land. Over 1,000 gold- miners are now working illegally on Yanomami land, transmitting deadly diseases like malaria and polluting the rivers with mercury. The Brazilian congress is debating a draft bill which, if approved, will legalise large scale mining in Indian lands, a move which is bitterly opposed by the Yanomami.

    As a result of their increasing contact with outsiders, the Yanomami, CCPY and Survival, set up an education project. Yanomami are being trained to teach reading, writing and maths in their communities.

    In 2004, Yanomami formed their own organisation, Hutukara (the part of the sky from which the earth was born), to defend their rights. Survival International has been working with the Yanomami for 40 years.

    To support the Yanomami join Survival International at www.survival-international.org