Pro Musica presents spectacular 2013-2014 concert season

By Michael Pearl

The Pro Musica classical music season commences on October 13, with Rodrigo Garciarroyo and Zaira Soria singing great arias from your favorite operas. Rodrigo is one of México’s finest tenors and Zaira, the outstanding overall winner of Opera San Miguel’s Concourso in 2010, now sings principal roles regularly at Bellas Artes in Mexico City.

Following that, Alexander Pashkov will give a piano recital for us on November 17. Alex is one of the finest concert pianists in Mexico today and the intensity of his playing, combined with his inimitable, classical Russian technique, puts him in a class of his own. His program will include works by Schubert, Mendelssohn and Grieg.

Uber-talented violinist Timothy Fain and his outstanding collaborative pianist William Ransom return for two recitals on the weekend of December 7 and 8. Tim played all the music for, and appeared in, the cult hit movie The Black Swan, which we will be showing the night before his first concert at Teatro Santa Ana in the Biblioteca.

The New Year brings the return of the fabulous Afiara String Quartet, on January 11 and 12. In London this summer I saw them take by storm the famously discerning Wigmore Hall audience, and they rank amongst the top string quartets in North America today. Their two different programs will be entirely new to San Miguel and include works by Haydn, Schumann, Dvorak and Mozart.

From mid-January, we have concerts every weekend until the end of March. After the Afiara, we present the one and only Richard Dowling, San Miguel’s favorite visiting pianist, with Evan Drachman and his ever-sensitive cello playing, in two programs of duets for both instruments, as well as solos.

An enlarged Mexican Baroque orchestra, last season’s surprise sell-out hit, returns to Teatro Angela Peralta in a vibrant program of music by Vivaldi and friends. This will include such favorites as Pachelbel’s Canon and Handel’s Water Music, as well as pieces by Vivaldi himself.

February brings Andrew Sords with two violin recitals, accompanied by pianist Elizabeth DeMio. When they debuted for us several years ago, our audiences loved Andrew’s vibrant, energetic playing and the way he spoke eloquently about his music. They will play two different programs featuring works by composers as diverse as Schubert, Elgar and Richard Strauss.

The following week sees the sensational Pépe Romero, probably the world’s greatest living classical guitarist, at the only Mexican venue of his 70th birthday World Tour. Pépe usually plays to audiences numbering in the thousands, and we are uniquely fortunate to have him play in the intimacy of St. Paul’s church for two nights.

Mid-February, Alexander Pashkov plays the high season for us for the first time with two piano recitals, featuring works by Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and Debussy. Prepare to be dazzled!

Then…the opera! Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore.

Il Trovatore is a dramatic love story of a gypsy’s lifelong quest for revenge. This gripping melodrama is set in 15th century Spain and it has everything—vengeance, war, jealousy, and the passion of a doomed love triangle. It is packed full of Verdi’s magnificent and melodious arias, and we have again assembled the best cast possible in Mexico, led by the ravishing voice of Rodrigo Garciarroyo. From our last year’s production of La Bohème the stunning bass, Guillermo Ruiz, also returns. An indication of the quality of the cast is that the role of the Conte de Luna will be sung by Genaro Sulvaran, who made his debut at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in this role. There will be two performances; Friday and Sunday, February 21 and 23, at Teatro Ángela Peralta.

How do you follow an opera? Elizabeth Pitcairn playing her famous red Stradivarius violin. She brought the house down at her recitals for us last year and this will be one of the hot tickets of the season.

March brings the Mexican debut of one of the most dramatic and highly rated new young string quartets in North America, the Catalyst Quartet. Their exhilarating playing will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. A leading-edge group, but one which combines that with the traditional musicianship of the finest playing; The New York Times said, they are “invariably energetic and finely burnished.”

The following weekend sees another Mexican debut, this time by German pianist Andreas Klein, a maestro of great reputation in his native Europe. He joins us for two solo piano recitals, and you can expect fireworks. The Washington Post described his playing as an, “elaborate display of technical prowess.”

It has long been Pro Musica’s ambition to stage full-scale symphony concerts in San Miguel and we bring this to fruition when we present the Guanajuato Symphony Orchestra, March 20, at Teatro Angela Peralta, with 60-plus players under the baton of its charismatic music director, Juan Trigos. Juan is a prolific composer and conducts orchestras in countries worldwide, including the US and Russia. The centerpiece of the evening will be Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

The season concludes with our now famous Garden Concert, Sunday, March 30. The formula of a long interval with free-flowing champagne and tables piled high with delectable canapés in that magical garden will remain the same. The music will be a new version of our show-stopping Best of Broadway production, with Rodrigo Garciarroyo and Veronica Alexanderson singing perennial favorites from top shows, such as West Side Story.

To stage music of this quality and to fund our education outreach program, which teaches over 250 children in disadvantaged schools in the country around San Miguel for 44 weeks every year, is very expensive and ticket revenues are never sufficient to meet all the costs. The funding gap is generously made up by our Patrons and Members. Please consider supporting the vibrant cultural life of San Miguel by joining Pro Musica. There is a category to suit every pocket, starting from US$100 per year. Benefits include free concert tickets, reserved seats, Meet the Artists suppers and cocktail parties and much more. For detailed information about Pro Musica membership and our 2013-2014 concert schedule, please visit our website at


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