Isaac Casal

Ensemblast Project has been a singular creative force of bold, new trends in chamber music for strings, piano, other instruments, and singers. It breaks new ground authentically and passionately, fusing the classical quartet aesthetic with contemporary Latin American styles and borrowing freely from an array of musical languages – folk, jazz, salsa, bolero, world and pop.   By devising a performance practice that honors both influences, the state of the art has been inevitably redefined.


Ensemblast Performance Review – July 16 -2017

by “Latitude Adjustment”

Isaac Casal’s “Ensemblast”

Boquete may be a small mountain town in Panama, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get a dose of culture from time to time! A few times a year, the Boquete Library Foundation stages musical recitals that are consistently great. The Foundation typically features up-and-common Panamanian musicians and groups that are on the fast track to international recognition, and the performances are top-notch.

Last Sunday, we attended the latest of these – a chamber group called “Ensemblast,” lead by well-known Panamanian cellist Isaac Casal (wonder if he’s related to famous cellist Pablo Casals?). They played a stunning and eclectic program that ranged from the haunting “Schindler’s List” overture by John Williams to Appalachia Waltz by Mark O’Connor. The biggest bonus: we got an introduction  to the music of Astor Piazzola, an Argentine and a legendary composer of tango music. With this fabulous music, they took us instantly back to everything we loved about our visit to Buenos Aires – its theatricality, wrapped up in mystery, romance, and a dash of the macabre.

Where else can you attend a live performance of this caliber for $15 a ticket? Just another reason to love this expat life in Boquete!

I wish I could find a video of an Ensemblast performance, but here’s one of the tunes they played for us – “Invierno Porteño,” as performed by Piazzolla himself.