Victory Theatre International Arts Academy
The Academy brings musicians from around the world for a residency in Holyoke, MA. Selected musicians explore unique musical themes and concentrations, conduct workshops in the community, give public performances, and act as ambassadors to the community for MIFA and the Victory Theatre. The Academy is a key part of MIFA’s Education Outreach Program and is mentored by international artists and overseen by a locally based artist of outstanding merit.
In 2017 the creation of the Victory Players Contemporary Music Ensemble took shape under Music Director, Tianhui Ng. El Puerto Rico, The Rich Port was the Victory Players' first project.
Meet the Victory Players: HERE
El Puerto Rico concert
Victory Players & Bomba de Aquí at GBH Boston
Victory Players HHS School Workshop
Victory Players S.H. Plains Elementary School Workshop
Victory Players School Workshop 2018
El Puerto Rico 2 Poster
Victory Players School Workshop 2019
Victory Players School Workshop
Victory Players School Workshop 2019
El Puerto Rico 3; Identity Duets
Talkback- El Puerto Rico 3: Identity Duets
POSTER Sí Se Puede_edited
VP in Puerto Rico
El Puerto Rico focused on the works of contemporary composers inspired by the rich musical culture of Puerto Rico’s classical and popular music and included commissions of new works. Selection for musicians and composers began in 2017 and the successful residency took place over 2 weeks in June 2018. Six musicians conducted by Tian Hui Ng formed a strong artistic bond rehearing the works of the five chosen composers. Three of the composers took part in the residency. In addition, the Players conducted workshops at Holyoke and Chicopee High Schools and the South Hadley elementary school/ The residency culminated in a sold-out gala public performance at El Mercado, the performance space run by Nueva Esperanza in Holyoke’s Puerto Rican Cultural District.
The second phase of El Puerto Rico in June 2019, featured two new ensemble members and the 2018 commissioned compositions were completed and performed. Three new composers were selected and their commissioned works debuted at the 2 public concerts at El Mercado. Lastly, an additional school workshop was added at Gateway Regional High School.
The third phase of El Puerto Rico: Identity Duets in January 2021, was co-presented virtually by MIFA, New England Public Media (NEPM), Nueva Esperanza, and Holyoke Media because of the Covid pandemic. The virtual event featured new MIFA commissioned works by six contemporary Puerto Rican composers performed by the Victory Players, two at a time. Live conversations with the creative team behind the production followed immediately after each performance.
The fourth phase of El Puerto Rico 2021 Holyoke Residency was a success!
GBH Boston video and audio recorded the MIFA Victory Players in "El Puerto Rico 4" June 8 - 11, 2021. Filming took place at the GBH Fraser Performance Studio and will be co-produced by MIFA, New England Public Media (NEPM), and GBH
for a fall 2021 nationwide release. The program will include ten newly
commissioned works by nine composers played by the Victory Players six-member musical ensemble, Music Director Tianhui Ng. The program includes special guest artists Bomba de Aquí, and interviews with the composers.
The recording caps four residencies by the musicians and composers in Holyoke in 2018, 2019, 2020 (virtual), and 2021. The recoding led to a radio debut of the "El Puerto Rico" concerts and the complete musical video series and interviews with composers now on CRB Classical, part of GBH here: www.classicalwcrb.org/el-puerto-rico . In addition to the video series, NEPM released a limited podcast series hosted by Music Director, Tianhui Ng. Listen now here: www.nepm.org/podcast/el-puerto-rico. Also available on Apple music. Produced by New England Public Media and Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts and Sr. Director of Radio, John Voci.
In June 2022 the MIFA Victory Players embarked on a new series "Sí Se Puede, (Yes We Can)" which focuses on the Mexican American experience. The 2022 Residency includes premieres of compositions by composers Johanny Navarro, Gabriel Bouche, Jorge Sosa, and Carlos Carrillo and preview new commissioned works by Mexican American composers J. Andrés Ballesteros, Cody Criswell-Badillo, Marina López, Felipe Pérez Santiago, Leaha Maria Villarreal.
In January 2023 the MIFA Victory Players had a successful residency at Puerto Rico’s prestigious Pro Arte Musical in San Juan culminating in a gala concert at Sala Sinfónica Pablo Casals Concert Hall on January 14, 2023. A recording of their open rehearsal at Pro Arte Musical is available at www.mifafestival.org/victoryplayers
In March/April 2023 the MIFA Victory Players to take part in the University Of Illinois Urbana-Champaign School Of Music And The College Of Fine And Applied Arts, Symposium on Puerto Rican Musical Creativity "Encuentro Puertorriqueño de Creación Musical," to perform “El Puerto Rico, The Rich Port” concert which includes special guest drum and dance group Bomba de Aquí. During the residency, the Victory Players gave masterclasses, Music Director Tianhui Ng conducted the Illinois Modern Ensemble (IME) concert with a special bassoon and bongo piece by our Ensemble Manager, Angela M. Santiago, and Bomba de Aquí presented a Bomba workshop. Carlos Carrillo, a MIFA commissioned composer who is an Associate Professor of Composition-Theory at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign facilitated the collaboration.