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Festival Focus: Striking All the Right Notes with Music Education


By Daniela Ahlenius

Musical education has been an integral part of the Festival de Música de Cámara San Miguel de Allende from the very beginning. For all 40 years of the Festival, Mexican and international students have received instruction from the world’s great musicians.

Peled and his Peabody Peled Cello Gang are at the festival for a special residency program focused on cello instruction and performance. Peled, a sought-after teacher, and “The Gang,” as they are sometimes called, are in residence at the festival August 9–16.

Peled has said, “I want my students to not only excel technically but to become successful career performers who understand how to emotionally prepare for a performance and experience the feedback of an audience.”

Comprised of students from Peled’s studio at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, The Gang performs works arranged for cello ensemble under Peled’s guidance. He sometimes also performs with them as a soloist. The ensemble is comprised of six students from around the world, in what is truly an international group of musicians:

Jiaoyang Xu, China

Mairead Flory, USA

Javier Iglesias Martin, Spain

Joseph Hensler Staten, USA

Tzu-JouYeh, Taiwan

Ismael Guerrero, Cuba

Joining Peled and “The Gang” are six up-and-coming student cellists from throughout México. While here, these students will spend the week devoted to cello study and performance.

This year, participating students represent such organizations as Conservatorio de Música y Artes de Celaya, la Orquesta Infantil Juvenil Santiago de Queretaro, Ojala Niños, and la Orquesta Juvenil Pro Música.

The six finalists were selected by Peled himself and were chosen from a competitive pool of 54 applicants. Applicants were required to submit video performances of a Bach piece as well as an individually chosen piece. The six finalists include two who live near San Miguel de Allende:

Isaac Reynaga Alanis, San Luis Potosí, San Luis Potosí

José Luis Rafael Alvarado, Celaya, Guanajuato

Jean Carlos Coronado Cabrices, Venezuela (a student in Guadalajara, Jalisco)

Adriana Castro, Ciudad Madero, Tamaulipas

Luis Capilla Cruz, Xalapa, Veracruz,

Natalia Vilchis, Monterrey, Nuevo Leon

Finalists study in master classes and attend performances throughout the festival. This intensive study represents a rare opportunity for cellists to learn from masters in their field. Their experience is likely to be the beginning steps on their journey to join a professional orchestra or perform in recital or concert halls.

Highlights of Peled’s festival tenure include two performances with “The Gang,” one of which will feature a cello choir of 12 and soprano Rosario Aguilar, led by Peled himself, performing Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas Brasileiras No 5 for voice and cellos. Ms Aguilar is the recipient of the Opera San Miguel’s 2018 Deehan Memorial Prize. This concert on August 11 is part of Music Under the Trees.

We invite the community to attend the master classes, held each Saturday in August from 10:30am to 12:30pm in the Miguel Malo Auditorium at Bellas Artes. You can see aspiring musicians learn from the world-class quartets performing in this year’s festival.



“Music Under the Trees”

Amit Peled and Peabody Peled Cello Gang

Sat, Aug 11, 1pm

Free general admission

Festival Performance

Amit Peled and Peabody Peled Cello Gang

Wed, Aug 15, 7pm

Master Classes

Sat, Aug 4, 11, 18, 25, 10:30am–12:30pm

Miguel Malo Auditorium at Bellas Artes

Hernández Macías 75, Centro


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