About the Piece

Atipanakuy is a musical journey inspired by the vibrant tradition of the Scissors Dance of Peru. Originating from the Andean highlands, this captivating dance is characterized by its dynamic movements and the resonant clang of metal plates. Within the dance's rhythm and ritual, dancers invoke the spirits of earth, water, heavens, and the underworld, bridging ancient mythologies with contemporary expression.

In pre-Hispanic times, the dance was performed by revered shamans, who, amidst persecution, sought refuge in the mountains. Upon their return, compelled to blend indigenous traditions with Catholicism, the dance evolved, incorporating Christian symbolism and metal plates in lieu of stones. This synthesis of cultures, emblematic of cultural resilience, echoes throughout Atipanakuy, infusing it with layers of historical significance and spiritual resonance.

Commissioned by the esteemed Peruvian violinist María Elena Pacheco, Atipanakuy is a fantasia for violin and orchestra, delving into the intricate interplay between soloist and ensemble. The title, derived from Quechua meaning "to compete; two or more people vying for the same thing," encapsulates the dynamic relationship between soloist and orchestra—sometimes in dialogue, other times in competition, yet always in pursuit of artistic expression and mastery.

Structured as a musical narrative, Atipanakuy unfolds in distinct sections mirroring the progression of the Scissors Dance. The piece commences with a solemn introduction, evoking the ceremonial offerings made to the spirits before the dance's commencement. Subsequently, the orchestra and violin engage in three "duels," each escalating in complexity and intensity, akin to the exchanges between the traditional dance's principal performers, the "danzaq" and "tusuq."

Following the culmination of the duels, the orchestra echoes the introductory motifs, symbolizing acknowledgment of the violin's triumph. The soloist then embarks on a mesmerizing cadenza, a moment of virtuosic prowess and introspection. Finally, Atipanakuy concludes with a triumphant coda, celebrating the fusion of tradition and innovation, spirit and artistry.