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Renowned Mexican pianist Abdiel Vázquez in San Antonio

By Angela Covo
La Prensa

SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio’s Beethoven Festival, sponsored by KCI, will fill the air with the master’s music all during January and February. And thanks to the Instituto Cultural de Mexico and Youth Orchestras of San Antonio, a lot of young people will be participating in the grand endeavor, giving a fresh patina to the gorgeous music.

San Antonio audiences are in for a fantastic treat this month – not only will they get to hear the com­plete works of Beethoven performed by all the best talent in San Antonio – the festival has attracted stars of the music world to our city as well. This week, a prominent Mexican talent, Abdiel Vázquez, will play a free solo recital at the Instituto Cultural de Mexico, and then add his youthful shine to a performance with the Youth Orchestra of San Antonio on Sunday.

“When YOSA’s young players combine forces with a rising star like Abdiel Vázquez, sparks will fly. Don’t miss your chance to hear the future of classical music: San Antonio’s very best young musicians, playing at the top of their game!” Troy Peters, YOSA music di­rector, said. Peters will conduct that performance.

Vázquez made his Mexi­co City’s Bellas Artes Pal­ace debut with the National Symphony Orchestra per­forming Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3, in the finals of the V National Piano Competition where he won first prize and a gold medal.

The young pianist, 27 years old, also received the National Youth Award from former Mexican President Vincente Fox in 2010, just a year after having received the State Youth Award from Nuevo Leon’s Governor. He was also distinguished with the Citizen’s Merit Medal for his contribution to the community’s artistic and cultural growth.

Vázquez has performed in the U.S., Argentina, Eu­rope and all over Mexico, with such orchestras as the National Symphony, Nuevo Leon’s Symphony, Tamaulipas Symphony, and the Youth Symphony of Nuevo Leon. He soloed in three International Youth Symphonic Festivals in Monter­rey, and performed in concerts with Mexico City’s Philhar­monic, Queretaro’s Philharmon­ic, Carlos Chavez Symphony, Aguascalientes’ Symphony, Coahuila’s Camerata and the Sinaloa of the Arts Orchestra. He is Laureate of the XXI Inter­national ‘Claudio Arrau’ Piano Competition in Chile.

He was just 6 years old when he started studying piano with Myrna Treviño and won his first local piano competition when he was 13. A graduate of the Escuela Superior de Música y Danza de Monterrey, he studied with Gerardo González, and then earned his master’s degree at Manhattan School of Music, under renowned pianist James Tocco. He now continues to study in Madrid under Oxana Yablanskaia.

In a special performance as a featured partner of the San Antonio Symphony’s Beethoven Fest, the YOSA Philharmonic will present “Beethoven and Orpheus” featuring Vázquez in Beethoven’s epic Fourth Piano Concerto at 4 p.m. on Sunday, January 22 at the Laurie Audi­torium.

The pianist is delighted to play with YOSA.

“This is great music and it’s a great approach to present Beethoven with fresh faces per­forming,” he said. He confessed that his favor­ite composer is whomever he happens to be playing at the moment.

“Right now, Beethoven is my favorite,” he said.

The young pianist is most proud of the fact that he is grounded – he understands that a concert pianist is only as good as his last performance – “and even that doesn’t last very long,” he shared.

Thursday night at 7 p.m., Vázquez will play a free solo recital at the Instituto, but make sure to reserve your spot ahead of time by calling (210) 227.0123 as seating is limited.

For Sunday’s performance, purchase tickets in advance through Ticketmaster or by calling YOSA’s office at (210) 737­0097. More information on YOSA is available at www.

According to a release from the San Antonio Symphony, there is no mountain higher for an orchestra and its music direc­tor to climb than the nine sym­phonies of Beethoven. Having conquered this glorious summit, their world view (and the audi­ence’s) is forever changed.

The 2012 Beethoven Festival gives San Antonio audiences a unique opportunity to explore these masterpieces and other classics by Beethoven. In addition to the nine symphonies, Festival part­ners will offer all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas, the complete chamber works for solo cello, all 10 violin sonatas and much more.

Festival partners include Camerata San Antonio, KLRN, Musical Bridges Around the World, Musical Offerings, Ol­ mos Ensemble, San Antonio Chamber Music Society, San Antonio Symphony Mastersing­ ers, San Antonio International Piano Competition, SOLI Cham­ber Ensemble, Tuesday Musi­cal Club Artist Series, Youth Orchestras of San Antonio and others.

Most concerts will take place in January and February, 2012.

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