Release Date: November 10, 2017
Catalog #: NV6130
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
String Quartet

Ancestral Voices

Apollo Chamber Players

Gilad Cohen composer
Arthur Gottschalk composer
Malek Jandali composer
Javier Farias composer

Navona Records presents ANCESTRAL VOICES, the Apollo Chamber Players’ next installment in their 20×2020 project. 20×2020 is an initiative to commission 20 new folk music-inspired and multicultural works by the end of the decade. This fiery release comprises four 20×2020 works from composers Gilad Cohen, Arthur Gottschalk, Malek Jandali, and Javier Farias.

A landmark work – recorded in Havana, Cuba – highlights the album: Gottschalk’s Imagenes de Cuba incorporates sounds and music from Cuban culture, from the Cuban national anthem to protest songs to the sounds of a busy Havana square. Cuban percussion virtuoso Adel González joins for the final movement of the work, an exploration of historic salsa and pachanga dances. Cohen’s Three Goat Blues is inspired by the Passover prayer “Chad Gadya,” a fable that concerns a goat that falls victim to the natural laws of predator and prey. Using an ancient Provençal Jewish tune of the prayer as a musical source, Cohen reimagines the plight of the goat and its journey from oppression to salvation through unique bluesy rhythms and Pink Floydian musical effects.

The soundscape of Javier Farias’ Andean Suite is situated on the Andean mountain region, an intersection of geography and culture from several South American nations. He melds the sounds and virtuosity of a classical guitar with string quartet to evoke the ceremonial blood fight of the Peruvian Yawar Fiesta, the Altiplano (“high plains”) of the Andes, and La Diablada, the traditional dance of the Bolivian Oruro Carnival. Syrian-American composer Malek Jandali’s String Quartet in E-flat Major connects Middle Eastern modes and Western classical forms. His passion for humanitarian efforts and the music of his home country emanates through expressive and powerful settings of centuries-old Syrian folk melodies, thoughtful interpreted by Apollo Chamber Players.


Hear the full album on YouTube

Artist Information

Apollo Chamber Players


Houston TX based Apollo Chamber Players “performs with rhythmic flair and virtuosity” (The Strad) and has “found fruitful territory” (Houston Chronicle) through innovative, globally-inspired programming and multicultural new music commissions. Winner of Chamber Music America’s prestigious Residency Partnership award, the quartet has performed for sold-out audiences at Carnegie Hall, and it holds the distinction of being the first American chamber ensemble to record and perform in Cuba since 1960. Apollo is featured frequently on American Public Media’s nationally-syndicated program Performance Today.


Arthur Gottschalk


Arthur Gottschalk is Professor of Music Composition at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where he founded and directed the school’s electronic music laboratories until 2002, and chaired the composition and theory department for 15 years. His early work as a studio musician led to his co-founding of Modern Music Ventures, Inc., a company which held a recording studio complex, a record production division, four publishing firms, and an artist management division, and for whom he produced records for the PolyGram and Capitol labels, among others.