The new Palace of Music in Mérida, capital of Yucatán, ought to reinforce the city’s reputation as a cultural center for all of Mexico for years to come.
The 322-million-peso (USD $18 million) Palace of Music “will house the voices, sounds, and traditional and popular arrangements of Mexico”, said Governor Rolando Zapata Bello at a ceremony last week, held to mark the start of construction.
The project, he observed, represents the new face of Mérida’s Historic Center.
Built on what was previously the home of the state Congress, the new building will become an “architectural landmark” for Yucatán, Zapata promised.
“Mérida has plenty to offer, to locals and visitors; this is why we’re working on its Historic Center, on its heart, to keep the 474-year-old city young, healthy, dynamic, active and generous.”
He explained that the project was the result of a “popular deliberative process. We can affirm that this is a consensual project, discussed with society at large through several means.”
The Palace of Music will be just one more cultural venue in the city, joining facilities such as the contemporary art museum MACAY and the State Pinakothek, the emblematic José Peón Contreras and Daniel Ayala theaters, and the Olimpo and University cultural centers (the former is about to open its doors to the public).
The Palace will also be the home of the National Center of Mexican Music, and will offer visitors a multimedia museum and a music institute.
The three-story building will cover an area of 8,500 square meters. On the first floor will be a 400-seat concert hall, while the music institute will reside on the second. The third floor will house a professional recording studio. Above that will be a garden terrace.
Demolition and reconstruction has already begun on the site in the heart of Merida’s historic downtown. Its completion is expected in 11 months.
One of the project’s supporters said the Palace of Music will play a role in exchanges with music students in Austria. Roberto Abraham Mafud, musician, entrepreneur and president of Culture Yucatán, anticipates that studies, scholarships, research and concerts can also be expected to flow from an agreement his association signed last year with the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, Austria.
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