Galician bagpiper, pianist, and composer Cristina Pato has been named visiting artist-in residence at the College of the Holy Cross. A member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road, Pato’s residency is part of the launch of “Arts Transcending Borders” (ATB@HC), a new initiative designed to infuse the fine and performing arts in students’ academic lives and create new opportunities throughout the curriculum and the community by transcending cultural, geographic and disciplinary boundaries. Pato will kick off ATB@HC with a performance, accompanied by her band the “Migrations,” at the College’s Academic Conference on April 23 at 4:30 p.m. in the Hogan Campus Center Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public.
Last year, the College received a $25 million gift (the largest single donation in the history of the College) from Cornelius B. Prior, Jr., ’56 for a new performing arts center on campus. ATB@HC, funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will support visiting artists on campus for three years, while the performing arts facility is designed and constructed. Integrated throughout the departments of music, theatre, and visual arts, the program will forge new collaborations across disciplines and introduce artists and performers into every facet of the liberal arts experience.
Hailed by The New York Times as “a virtuosic burst of energy” and by The Wall Street Journal as “one of the living masters of the gaita” (Galician bagpiper), Pato’s career is devoted to Galician popular and classical music and jazz, and has led to performances on major stages throughout Europe, U.S., India, Africa and China.
“Cristina Pato brings a wonderful mix of artistic and scholarly achievements to students here at Holy Cross, with a wide range of interests, talents and a deep commitment to education,” explains Lynn Kremer, professor of theatre and director of Arts Transcending Borders. “She is the perfect fit for this program, since she herself transcends many borders. Her recent composition of a new work titled ‘My Lethe Story, the River of Forgetting,’ about her own mother’s memory loss, plays into the theme of ATB@HC for the first year, ‘Time, Memory, and Identity.’”
Pato was the first female gaita player to release a solo album (1999) and has since collaborated on world stages with Yo-Yo Ma, Arturo O’Farril, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Loyola Professor of Music at Holy Cross and renowned composer Osvaldo Golijov.
A pop star of the gaita in her native Spain, she moved to New York to attain her doctorate and push her career in an entirely different direction. She has combined her love of the gaita with an extraordinary blend of jazz and Latin sounds and her touring life includes a passionate commitment to education and cultural exchange.
Pato is a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble and a founding member of its Leadership Council, collaborating closely in tours and planning residencies, including the multi-year partnership between The Silk Road Project and Harvard University.
She holds a doctorate of musical arts in collaborative piano from Rutgers University, where she studied with a fellowship from Fundacion Barrie de la Maza. She is the founder and artistic director of Galician Connection, a world music forum celebrated annually in Galicia.
ATB@HC will examine the theme of ‘Time, Memory, and Identity” with Pato’s residency throughout the 2014-15 academic year through a series of workshops, master classes, public lectures, performances, and other opportunities for interaction and learning.