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Two events on two separate days will bring talented musical acts to our area.

Jane Bunnett & Maqueque, a jazz group from Canada, the United States and Cuba, will perform at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, at Bucknell University, tonight at 7:30 p.m. Then on Sunday at 2 p.m., pianist Jeremy Denk will fill the air with classical music.

“Three-time GRAMMY nominee and five-time JUNO Award (also known as Canada’s GRAMMYs) winner, soprano saxophonist and flutist Jane Bunnett and her sextet Maqueque bring the soul of Cuba to the Weis Center for the Performing Arts this Thursday night,” said Kathryn Maguet, executive director of the Weis Center. “Dubbed the ‘new queens of Afro-Cuban jazz,’ Jane Bunnett and Maqueque features all-star female Cuban musicians in a rich Afro-Cuban gumbo with dynamic rhythms, melodies, spirited playing and singing. This is a unique and engaging ensemble that never fails to deliver a top notch performance.”

Bunnett created Maqueque “as a project to record and mentor young Cuban female musicians.” It has become an acclaimed group on the North American jazz scene.

“Jane and the young Cuban women in Maqueque are all virtuosos on their instruments, but beyond that they project such joy in life and the music when they are performing that it’s a natural high for the audience too,” said Reggie Marshall, booking agent. “I have yet to see the audience that does not LOVE this band, and I think that’s the reason.”

Maqueque consists of Jane Bunnett, soprano saxophone and flute; Melvis Santa, vocals and percussion; Mary Paz, congas and vocals; Dánae Olano, piano; Tailin Marrero, acoustic and electric bass; and Yissy García, drums.

In the ancient Afro-Cuban dialect, Maqueque is loosely translated as “the energy of a young girl’s spirit.”

“The energy of a young girl’s spirit is plentiful, joyous and playful,” Marshall said. “That definitely describes Maqueque.”

Called one of America’s foremost pianists, Jeremy Denk is the winner of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and the Avery Fisher Prize. He was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

“Jeremy Denk is one of the premiere pianists of our time,” Maguet said. “It’s an honor for the Weis Center for the Performing Arts to present this brilliant musician who is also recognized for his original and insightful writing.” 

Denk has performed regularly at Carnegie Hall and has appeared with the Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra.

His Weis Center performance will include Bach’s A minor English Suite, Ligeti’s Etudes Book One, Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No. 1, Berg’s Sonata and Schumann’s Fantasy.

“Denk’s Sunday matinee performance promises to be an inspired engagement that fans of classical music won’t want to miss,” Maguet said.

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