Choro: The Sweet Lament of Brazilian Music

Choro Workshop: April 25-29, 2018
Choro Concert: 7:30pm April 28, 2018 

Registration for the 2018 Choro Workshop is at capacity. Click ‘register’ above to register for the Choro waiting list.

Our popular Choro workshop is back and will include all the features which have made it a favorite, plus a first-ever Choro Dance Party on Friday evening. Dudu Maia continues to improve the schedule with an eye towards maximizing what you will learn AND the fun you’ll have playing. The faculty will explore current and historical players and styles, in addition to master classes, group sessions and, of course, lots of playing. This year we celebrate the 100th birthday of Choro legend Jacob do Bandolim.

Dudu and former faculty member Henrique Santos Neto have just published The Choro Handbook. All participants will receive a copy as part of their registration and it will be used throughout the workshop in helping to illustrate how to play Choro authentically.

Last year’s faculty worked and played so well together that we’re pleased to announce ALL of them will return in 2018! Artistic Director Dudu Maia, (bandolim); the extraordinary clarinetist, Anat Cohen; and Trio Brasileiro members Douglas Lora, 7-string guitar; Alexandre Lora, pandeiro/percussion; keyboardist Jovino Santos Neto; and saxophonist/flutist Daniela Spielmann. All are master teachers and outstanding performers who will show you first-hand how much fun it is to play Choro.

Choro is a great way for both jazz and classically oriented musicians to meet on common ground. There are written charts with lovely and lively melodies accessible to any competent player. There’s also room for improvisation, and in a vein that’s a great way for classical musicians to expand their skills in this. This workshop is limited to fifty people and is open to strings, woodwinds, accordion/piano and hand percussion (rather than drum set). Some others are also accepted; call if you have a question about your instrument.

“I found the entire workshop a highlight. A very amazing, wonderful group of people.
Within 15 minutes of settling into our room we were playing tunes in the living room with
our new house mates.”  – Workshop Participant

Some of the most delightful moments of the weekend happen after dinner, when faculty and participants gather and jam to their hearts’ content. This year there are two housing options again; premium housing is in the beautiful, large Victorian “officer’s houses” (returning participants will be familiar with these). A second option will be in the Reunion House (formerly Madrona Vista) and is a bit more economical. Both options provide private rooms and full kitchens.

Participants will receive free admission to the April 28 performance in the Joseph F. Wheeler Theater.

Who Should Attend?

Both classical and jazz musicians will feel comfortable in this workshop, and will enjoy expanding their skills through this style. You should be proficient on your instrument, i.e. comfortable with the mechanics of playing. There will be people of different backgrounds and abilities and we’ll be sure to match you up.

What is Choro Music?

The Brazilian musical style of Choro represents the coming together of European melodic and harmonic traditions with African rhythms and sensibilities. Emerging in Brazil in the middle of the nineteenth century, Choro is a cousin of jazz, with a sense of yearning that is often described as a “sweet lament.” Many ethnomusicologists believe that the name Choro comes from the Portuguese verb chorar—that is, to weep or to cry. It often seems bright and happy on the surface, but if you dig deeper you’ll find a kind of sadness, a longing that Brazilians call saudade.

Something about the combination of Portuguese and Italian influences resulted in melodies with a strong romantic feeling. When joined with its African influences, Choro has an irresistible groove and rhythmic momentum that is uniquely Brazilian. (Read more about Choro).

What Does Choro Sound Like?

Here are some YouTube links featuring our faculty playing typical Choro tunes:


Choro Workshop Schedule

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

  • 3:30 – 5:30pm: Check-in, Centrum office
  • 6 – 7:00: Dinner
  • 7:15 – 9:30: First session
  • 9:30: Welcome reception and Roda

Thursday, April 26, 2018

  • 8:00 – 9:00am: Breakfast
  • 9:00 – 10:30: Group session. “The Choro Handbook” intro and guide to getting the most from it. All faculty.
  • 10:30 – 11:00: Coffee break
  • 11:00 – 12:25: Master Classes by all faculty
  • 12:30 – 1:30: Lunch
  • 2:00 – 3:30: Group session “Choro Rhythms,” all faculty
  • 3:45 – 5:15: Ensemble rehearsals with faculty
  • 6:00: Dinner
  • 8:00: Roda in Bldg. 204

Friday, April 27, 2018

  • 8:00 – 9:00am: Breakfast
  • 9:00 – 10:30: Group session, “Choro Harmony,” all faculty
  • 10:30 – 11:00: Coffee break
  • 11:00 – 12:25: Ensemble rehearsal with faculty
  • 12:30 – 1:30: Lunch
  • 2:00 – 3:30: Master Classes by all faculty
  • 4:00 – 5:30: Ensemble rehearsals without faculty
  • 4:00 – 6:00: Faculty rehearsal (Wheeler)
  • 6:00: Dinner
  • 8:00: Choro Dance Party!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

  • 8:00 – 9:00am: Breakfast
  • 9:00 – 10:00: Group Session, “Choro Vocabulary and Improvisation” all faculty.
  • 10:15 – 11:00: Coffee break and faculty CD sales
  • 11:00 – 12:25: Ensemble rehearsal with faculty
  • 12:30 – 1:30: Lunch
  • 1:30 – 2:45: Master Classes by all faculty
  • 3:00 – 4:30: Ensemble rehearsal without faculty
  • 6:00: Dinner
  • 7:30pm: Concert by Faculty
  • Evening: Reception and roda

Sunday, April 29, 2018

  • 8:00 – 9:00am: Breakfast
  • 9:00 – 10:30: Final session, participant performances
  • 11:00: Checkout

What Are the Costs?

Tuition: $465

Room/board: $520 (Officer’s houses) or $395 (Madrona Vista)

Meals only: $175