Duo Pianists John Thomas and Mauro Ledesma Will Perform a Cross-Cultural Program at the Peralta
By Sarahí Valverde
John Thomas is a classically-trained pianist and composer from Pennsylvania. Mauro Ledesma is a classically-trained pianist and composer from San Miguel. The two musicians met in early 2014, when Thomas visited San Miguel and performed at a Sunday service of Unitarian Fellowship at the Hotel Aldea. They quickly discovered a mutual passion for the diverse piano music of the Americas: North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.
“America from North to South”
John Thomas and Mauro Ledesma, duo pianists
Wed, Mar 9, 8pm
Teatro Ángela Peralta
Tickets 200/150/100 pesos, available at the theater box office; Los Milagros (Reloj 17); and
El Sindicato (Recreo 4)
On Wednesday, March 9, at 8pm, Thomas and Ledesma will perform together for the first time in concert at the Teatro Angela Peralta. Their duo piano program is called “America from North to South” and will feature music of composers from the United States (George Gershwin, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Aaron Copland), Mexico (Leonardo Velázquez, Mario Ruíz Armengol), Cuba (Ignacio Cervantes), Argentina (Astor Piazzolla), and Canada (David McIntyre).
A few of Thomas’s own compositions will also be featured, including his solo impressionistic work “The Provincelands,” composed in a dune shack on Cape Cod, and a duo piano rag that Thomas based on the traditional melody, “Shall We Gather at the River.”
Ledesma says, “America is not only a country but several continents. There is such a great variety of music on the American continents; each so different. Our music of the Americas has European richness with native rhythms, and everything in between.”
Both pianists are veterans of the concert stage. Thomas has performed in more than a thousand music events in concert halls, churches, theaters, and other venues in the United States, Nepal, and Greece. He has composed music for piano, voice, theater productions, stage musicals, and documentary short films. Ledesma studied for many years with renowned Mexican pianist and composer Marta García Renart and later attended the University of Colima where he graduated with honors. He has performed hundreds of concerts throughout Mexico. His concerts have been broadcast on radio and television.
Though they have known one another only a short time, Thomas and Ledesma perform together as if they had been musical partners for many years. “Since the first time John and I played piano together” in 2014, Ledesma says, “I felt that we had the same sense and phrasing. We naturally followed the same direction. We do not have to discuss the music very much. We know exactly where we are going without even talking about it.”
Thomas, an avid collector of music from around the world, says Ledesma has opened up new horizons for him. “Mauro has introduced me to exciting music by modern composers of the Americas,” Thomas says. “I love the playfulness and serenity of Velázquez’s compositions, the rhythmic beauty of Cervantes’ Cuban dances, the cartoon-like expressions of McIntyre.” He adds, “It is a great joy also to play Gershwin’s blues and Copland’s iconic ‘Simple Gifts’ arrangement with Mauro.”
Thomas and Ledesma look forward to sharing lively, entertaining, rhythmic, and inspirational music with the people of San Miguel de Allende, a community of many cultures.