ONE of San José’s lesser-known culturalevents marks it 10th season this year.But “lesser known” is probably not afair description. The popular Martes por laNoche (Tuesday night) concert series drawsa regular clientele of devoted classical musicfans each week to Room 107 in theSchool of Musical Arts on the University ofCosta Rica (UCR) campus in San Pedro,just east of San José.And, as an added bonus, the concertsare always free.The term “season” didn’t always applyto the loosely organized schedule duringprevious years, explains María ClaraVargas, director of the school.“This year, I decided to give it personality,organizing it from the beginning of theyear as an entity, precisely to give it a varietyof participants, groups and repertoires,”she said.The 2004 calendar is a 70/30 mix ofCosta Rican and international chambergroups, who perform each week for anenthusiastic audience. International presentersare those who have come to UCR on atemporary basis to give classes.MOST of the concerts are instrumental,with a few vocal evenings mixed intothe calendar. Costa Rican vocalist ZamiraBarquero will present a selection of lieder(German songs) by Robert Schumann andJohannes Brahms at next Tuesday’s recital.Pianist Gerardo Duarte will accompanyher.Carnegie Hall this is not. Busts of composersWolfgang Amadeus Mozart andRichard Wagner flank the wooden stage. Ascant 129 seats populate the room, bankedon risers to afford everyone a good view.But the informal, intimate atmosphere isperfect for soloists, duos, trios or smallchamber groups whose sounds would belost in a larger venue.“An agreeable space, with a good pianoand a guaranteed audience,” Vargasdescribes it.There are other great concerts sites inthe country, Vargas said, but in general, theyare halls much larger than Room 107, andsome are quite costly for small groups.PUNCTUALITY is a virtue here. Theroom door locks promptly at 7 p.m. and themusic begins. Latecomers must cool theirheels in the hall outside and are admittedonly between numbers.The season loosely corresponds with theuniversity’s academic year, meaningMarch-June and August-November, butVargas said that this second half of the seasonactually began in July, an early start toaccommodate requests from performers toappear.Check out the series now that Part Twoof the 2004 season has begun. The recitalsmake for a classy, intellectual diversion ona rainy Tuesday evening.Concerts take place at 7 p.m. eachTuesday through the end of November. TheSchool of Musical Arts is on the east side ofthe UCR campus and has ample parking.(Vehicle access in the evening is limited tothe campus’s west-side entrance near thelaw school.)Call 207-5565 for more info. Look nofurther than The Tico Times calendar in theWeekend section for series listings.
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