April 30, 2022, 7:30pm: Modus Opera Orchestra presents US premiere of Gavilán’s Afro Cuban Antilles Violin Concerto

featuring violinist Ilmar Gavilán, under the baton of Justin Bischof
also included: works by Morricone, Rossini,
Tchaikovsky, and Bach/Gounod

On April 30, 2022, at 7:30 PM, Modus Opera Orchestra, under the baton of Music Director and Founder Justin Bischof, will be marking their return to live performance with a concert at St. Mary Church in Long Island City where they are in residence.

The centerpiece of the evening’s program is composer Guido López-Gavilán’s Afro Cuban Antilles Violin Concerto (US Premiere, first performance outside of Cuba). The featured soloist will be the composer’s son, violinist Ilmar Gavilán of the Harlem Quartet. This marks the orchestra’s celebration of their first concert since Nov 2019.


Rossini: Overture (Barber of Seville)
Gavilan: Afro Cuban Antilles Violin Concerto
JS Bach / Gounod Ave Maria
Morricone: Gabriel’s Oboe (The Mission), performed in memory of those who died of COVID
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5

Here’s what makes this concert so special:

  • 65 member orchestra comprised of some of the finest players in the New York City area
  • US premiere and first performance outside of Cuba of this Concerto
  • Father/son collaboration – son Ilmar (first violinist, Harlem Quartet) will be soloist in his father’s composition
  • Concert is dedicated to those lives lost due to complications from the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Gavilan’s concerto is inspired by a children’s poem written by Nicolas Guillen, musically depicting the inception of Cuba, from the initial geological formation of the larger Island of the Antilles to the rich and distinct culture it has become. 
  • Afro-Cuban instruments and rhythmic elements in the symphonic mix tell unique stories of African heritage, using batá drums, congas, shekeré, claves, maracas, guiro, and bongo

St. Mary Church is located at 1008 49th Avenue in Long Island City, one stop from Manhattan on the 7 subway train, and tickets are available at Eventbrite. General Admission tickets are available for $25 – $50 at mooticketsapril30.eventbrite.com

Composer Guido López-Gavilán has received awards in the most important composition competitions held in Cuba, such as the National Composition Competition, the Cuban Union of Writers and Artists Competition, the 26th of July Competition, the ‘Edad de Oro,’ and the Adolfo Guzman Competition. He is a 1966 graduate of the Choral Conducting program of the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory in Havana and a 1973 graduate of the Orchestral Conducting program of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow.

López-Gavilán has made an outstanding contribution in the development of the Cuban Youth Orchestra Movement by founding and conducting symphony and chamber orchestras that have performed with resounding success in and outside of Cuba. As the President of the Havana Festival and Chairman of the Orchestral Conducting Department at the Instituto Superior de Arte, he has received several distinctions including the National Culture Award and the Recognition Award granted by the Cuban Union of Writers and Artists for his life’s work. He is a member of Colegio de Compositores Latinoamericanos de Música de Arte.

Cuban-American Violinist Ilmar Gavilán, a native of Havana, Cuba has had a remarkable performing career that has taken him all over the world. This fascinating journey ranges from performing for world leaders such as President Obama at the White House and Queen Sofia of Spain at The Royal Palace of Madrid to performing with top stature artists of diverse styles such as Itzhak Perlman and Chick Corea. 

As a soloist, Mr. Gavilan has performed concertos with the Atlanta, New Jersey, Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Hartford, Nashville, Ann Arbor, Santa Monica, Phoenix, Denver, Louisiana, Anchorage, Santa Fe, Havana, Mexico City, and Venezuela Symphonies and played recitals in England, Russia, Spain and Portugal. Mr. Gavilan won first prize at the Sphinx competition, as well as top honors at the Lipinsky-Wieniaswsky and the Henryk Szeryng International violin competitions. 

Currently engaged in a visiting residency at The Royal College of Music in London as the first violinist of the Harlem Quartet and a full-time residency position at Montclair State University. Mr. Gavilan is an experienced educator, having taught for six years at Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program. Ilmar and his brother Aldo, a world-class pianist and composer, were presented by Carnegie Hall in the featured documentary “Los Hermanos/The Brothers”.

New York City resident Justin Bischof is an internationally active orchestral & opera conductor as well as concert organist, pianist and improviser. He has performed in some of the world’s great venues including New York’s Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Lincoln Center, Rose Theatre Lincoln Center, Tonhalle of Zurich, Eli Broad Theatre of Los Angeles, St. Paul’s Cathedral London, Notre Dame Paris, Cologne Cathedral, to name a few. He has collaborated with some of the world’s most prominent artists including Joshua Bell, Bright Sheng, Tan Dun and Roberta Peters. As an orchestral conductor, he was worked with numerous ensembles including National Arts Center Orchestra, The Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Vancouver Symphony, the Royal Symphony of Oman, the State Philharmonic Kavkazskiye of Russia, the WAAPA orchestra in Perth Australia, and the National Orchestra of Haiti. Of his conducting, Michael Miller of New York Arts said “….Beethoven’s 9th Symphony does not get much better than this!” 

He is the Founder & Artistic Director of MOO: Modus Opera Orchestra of New York City which presented an Annual Children’s Benefit for 10 years to help at-risk children that raised over $1,000,000. Their gala 10th Anniversary Concert featured soloists from the Metropolitan Opera in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Bischof is sought after as a guest professor for master classes around the world, maintaining a private conducting studio for gifted conductors, and serving on numerous boards including as Chair of the Alumni Council of MSM and Chair of the Conductors Retreat at Medomak.

Modus Opera Orchestra (MOO) is comprised of some of the finest players in the New York City area. Led by internationally acclaimed conductor Justin Bischof, their concerts have been met with critical acclaim and a dedicated audience following.  Many players have gone on to perform with major ensembles including Berlin’s Konzerthaus Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony and St. Paul’s Chamber Orchestra.  

A stellar roster of international guest soloists have appeared with Vienna Philharmonic, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Edinburgh Festival, Lyric Opera Chicago, New Israeli Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Seattle Symphony, Hong Kong Opera, Seattle Opera, Vlaamse Opera (Belgium), Sante Fe Opera, Montreal Opera, Opera North (UK), New York City Opera, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.

Founded by Artistic Director Justin Bischof, MOO began as the Canadian Chamber Orchestra of New York City CCO/NYC. The orchestra’s debut was at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in 2007 as part of the Variety NYC Opera Trash Benefit which raised money for children in need in the tri-state area. They made their Le Poisson Rouge debut with internationally acclaimed Canadian mezzo Ariana Chris in the same program. They returned to LPR in a program of Shostakovich, Strauss and Bischof. They were the resident orchestra for Modus Opera (click here) performed all of the Mozart/Da Ponte operas in fully staged productions with orchestra as well as various recitals showcasing up and coming opera singers in many venues.

MOO’s mission is to provide the opportunity for the finest freelance musicians in New York City to perform, at the highest artistic level, the staples of the great symphonic and operatic repertory as well as contemporary works and world premieres with their colleagues.

MOO was in residency at the historic Church of St. James the Less for 11 years in Scarsdale, NY where they performed several times annually. They are now the resident orchestra in New York City at St. Mary Church.