| THE INFLUENCE OF PUERTO RICAN MUSIC
IN THE UNITED STATES
Guest Speaker: Dr. Raymond Torres-Santos
|CULTURAL RENAISSANCE IN PUERTO RICO IN THE FIFTIES AND ITS EFFECTS TODAY|
| With the beginning
of a cultural and educational renaissance in Puerto Rico in the fifties,
musicians were better educated and trained as a result. Some of these initiatives
included the opening of the Institute of Culture and the arrival of Pablo
Casals, whose mother was from Puerto Rico, and the beginning of his prestigious
Casals festival in 1957, the establishment of the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra
in 1958, and the Conservatory of Music in 1960. Some musicians who really
benefitted from all this energy going on on the island are singer Justino
Díaz who has been a tremendous resource in all opera houses in the world.
Also Pablo Elvira, Antonio Barasorda, Eduardo Valdez, César Hernández, Carlos
Conde who have been really having a continuous career in Metropolitan Opera
here in New York as well as other opera houses.
Also instrumentalist José Ramos Santana who has had a brilliant career as a pianist and who just completed a recording with the London Symphony and whose album will be available soon. Also the new generation of the Figueroas, again the Figueroas I was telling you about in the twenties and thirties, their sons have been really influential in this city in the past ten years. Many of them, Guillermo Figueroa,, to just mention three of them, Guillermo Figueroa Jr., Narciso Figueroa and Rafael Figueroa belong to the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and they are the first chairs of the Metropolitan Opera House when you go nowadays to the opera. Also composers Roberto Sierra has had a tremendous reception as a composer and perhaps has surpassed the path created by Campos-Parsi in the forties and fifties. Hešs a very sought after composer. So is William Ortiz whose opera Rican was recently premiered by the American Composers Orchestra.