Home Headlines 19 years of the Symphonic Orchestra of Yucatán

19 years of the Symphonic Orchestra of Yucatán

by Yucatan Times
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On February 27, 2004, the emotional sound of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Yucatán (OSY) was heard for the first time in its grand opening concert. Nineteen years later, today it is one of the best in the country and recently accompanied Andrea Bocelli in Cancun and Plácido Domingo at the Auditorio de La Isla in Mérida.

It is important to highlight that this has not been the only Symphonic Orchestra that Yucatán has had, since the efforts to have a musical institution of such high quality date back to the end of the 19th century, when the pianist Ricardo Río Díaz founded the artistic society that took his name and organized, together with José Cuevas Pachón, the first symphonic concert held in Mérida, on September 17, 1898, at the José Peón Contreras Theater.

On that occasion, the first Yucatán Symphonic Orchestra was accompanied by soloists Asunción Sauri and Río Díaz himself, but it was heard by a small audience that left the hall before the end of the program, which discouraged the organizer, and the group was dissolved soon after.

It was at the beginning of the 20th century on the occasion of a visit by President Porfirio Díaz that a concert was organized in his honor, with a string quintet at the Sodzil hacienda, which was owned by Governor Olegario Molina, again under the artistic direction of Maestro José Cuevas. After its success, it later became a Symphonic Orchestra, which by 1908 adopted the name of its founder José Jacinto Cuevas and had as its headquarters the José Peón Contreras theater; however, the revolution and the chaotic social environment caused it to disappear again.

The next attempt to integrate a Symphonic Orchestra was in 1922, during the time of Governor Felipe Carrillo Puerto, when Amilcar Cetina, with the help of cellist Francisco Bloom, organized a symphonic orchestra with few elements. The beginning of this group, which performed for the first time at the Union Club, was very successful, but after the assassination of Governor Carrillo Puerto, who had offered to help with the project, they ended their initiative.

In 1925 the same musician Amílcar Cetina Gutiérrez, formed a string ensemble with students from the music school in the State of Yucatán that performed frequently before the Yucatan public and evolved to become the Orquesta Sinfónica de Mérida. Its musical director was Maestro Francisco Sánchez Rejón, who expanded the repertoire considerably, but again due to lack of economic support the orchestra declined until it disappeared.

In 1935 another effort was made to give Yucatán a Symphonic Orchestra, now under the initiative of the Chihuahua musician Samuel Martí, who, without official help at first, managed to get a good number of local musicians to join the philharmonic ensemble, which also made its inaugural performance at Peón Contreras. This orchestra lasted until 1938.

Later, on January 1, 1944, under the direction of Daniel Ayala Pérez, another Yucatán Symphonic Orchestra was established with the conductors Amílcar Cetina, José Ives Limantour, Ernesto Roemer and José F. Vázquez. This time the effort came to an end when the sponsorship of the State Government was suspended when José González Beytia left his post.

It took 25 years for the Yucatán Symphony Orchestra to be reorganized on September 15, 1975, in the last year of Carlos Loret de Mola’s government, now under the musical direction of Carlos Tello Solís, which continued to receive support from the next government headed by Francisco Luna Kan.

Finally, and after another prolonged period of symphonic absence in Yucatán, in 2004 the current Yucatán Symphonic Orchestra was formed and since then it has had three conductors: Juan Felipe Molano José Luis Cham and maestro Juan Carlos Lomónaco, who since 2009 has been in charge of this musical group that currently has 65 members from Mexico, Spain, the United States, Italy, Bulgaria and Russia.

This orchestra has received great support from the public after the fire at the José Peón Contreras theater, as its performances at the Palacio de la Música have been sold out.

The current season began on November 1st and so far four programs and eight concerts have been presented, all of them sold out. The current season will conclude with the requiem to Mozart, which is scheduled for March 18 and 19.

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