By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Some of the best musicians on the Brazilian instrumental scene will come together in Rio this week for CopaFest 2013. Running from October 31st through November 2nd, the Salão Cristal room of the iconic Copacabana Palace should provide the perfect setting for an event that promises three nights of thrilling improvisation and experimentation.

Max de Castro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Max de Castro will bring the sounds of Brazilian legend Érlon Chaves to the Salão Cristal during CopaFest 2013, photo by Rafael Ianni.

The sixth edition of the festival officially opened in Arpoador’s Studio RJ venue on October 29th with ‘Novissomos CopaFest’. Highlighting the cross-generational appeal of the event, it showcased the up-and-coming bands Quarteto Coda, Quarteto Thiago Carreri and Brasilidade Geral, who earned their place in the festival via a competition earlier in the year.

The latter’s trumpeter, Bruno Santos, told The Rio Times; “No doubt it is a great initiative that creates opportunities for new groups. As I participate and other musicians show their work, we gain a greater visibility. It creates an interactivity between us and the established names on the national scene.”

It is the winners of the new bands competition, Duo Elo, who will open the first night at the newly renovated Copacabana Palace at 10PM on Thursday, October 31st. The duo – Cainã Cavalcante and Thiago Almeida – will bring their perfect balance between piano and guitar to the Salão Cristal stage.

Following the newcomers will be legendary group Som Imaginário, featuring the pianist and conductor Wagner Tiso. Formed in the early 1970s, the band has played with some of the biggest names in Brazilian music. Starting out with Milton Nascimento, they have since worked with the likes of Gal Costa, Simone, Marcos Valle and Carlinhos Vergueiro.

The second night of CopaFest 2013 kicks off with pianist Tomás Improta and his show “Dorival”, a homage to the compositions of Dorival Caymmi. As Improta told The Rio Times, “The arrangements are influenced by various styles, wandering from classical music to jazz, to samba and even through the gaff [gafieira samba].”

“This festival brings quality music. That is very important culturally to Rio or any other city,” continues Improta, who will be joined by Bahian singer Virginia Rodrigues. “We are seven billion music lovers. It’s an almost unanimous love that humanity has for music. In my case, besides being one of the seven billion humans, I had a family full of professional pianists and musicologists since childhood. I lived with many masters of classical and popular music, which increased my love and connection.”

Brasilidade Geral, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
CopaFest 2013 Concurso finalists Brasilidade Geral, photo courtesy of Brasilidade Geral.

Following Improta will be Raul de Souza, a man considered by many to be one of the best trombonists in the world, taking to the stage with his quintet at 11:30 PM.

For the final night of the festival, Bondesom, Vinil é Arte and Max de Castro are set to ensure the festival goes out with a swing, with Castro, son of Wilson Simonal, paying homage to the great Brazilian maestro Erlon Chaves.

“I will play various arrangements written by him,” Castro told The Rio Times. “I will only play songs from his repertoire as an arranger or producer. He served on many fronts; movie soundtracks, soundtracks for novelas, and arrangements for major MPB artists of the early ’60s until 1974, when he died.”

“An initiative like this, the festival CopaFest, is a great opportunity to play with an excellent technical and artistic structure,” Castro concludes. “The festival has become a seal of quality and an optimal platform for musicians to showcase their art. Brazil is a hotbed of great musicians, has always been and continues to be.”

What: CopaFest 2013
Where: Copacabana Palace (Salão Cristal), Avenida Atlântica 1702, Copacabana
When: October 31st – November 2nd
Entrance: R$80, with fifty percent off for hotel guests (Tickets are available at


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