"It is a great honor to invite you to enjoy the concerts that we have prepared especially for our audience who love classical music."
Message from the Musical Director
Dear friends of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Puerto Rico
(Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra):
It is with great enthusiasm that we extend a warm welcome to the 2019-2020 Season of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Puerto Rico. We have created a varied and vibrant season, with guest artists and directors for the enjoyment of all.
With deep gratitude for the support they have always given us, we look forward to this season 2019-2020.
Maximiano Valdés Soublette
Musical Director Holder
About the Orquesta Sinfónica de Puerto Rico
Our Symphony began to germinate in 1956, when the Catalan maestro Pablo Casals accepted the invitation of the government to settle in Puerto Rico, where his mother, the Mayagüezana Pilar Defilló, was born and educated. The inaugural concert was held in 1958 in Mayagüez, led by maestro Casals. Performing as a soloist, José (Pepito) Figueroa, our violinist who had already triumphed in Europe and the United States, and who since then was concertmaster of the Symphony until 1990.
The current principal director is the respected Chilean maestro Maximiano Valdés. With him collaborates the teacher Irizarry Colón as associate director. Other notable figures who have led the Orchestra throughout its history are Alexander Schneider, Juan José Castro, Víctor Tevah, Sidney Harth, John Barnett, Odón Alonso, Karl Sollak, Eugene Kohn, Guillermo Figueroa and Roselín Pabón, who continues to work closely with the Orchestra as principal guest conductor.
Today the Symphony brings together established musicians and excellent young musicians, also active in the international environment. Its relevance in the musical life of the country can be seen in its annual subscription series, its educational concerts, "pops" and community outreach, the Symphonic Workshop and its collaboration with the Casals Festival and the opera and ballet companies. Likewise, the Operalia orchestra, the singing competition founded by Plácido Domingo, has also made its mark with successful presentations in the neighboring Caribbean, Central America, the United States and Spain.
About Festival Casals
The Festival Casals of Puerto Rico (Casals Festival), founded in 1956 by the famous cellist, director and composer Pablo Casals, annually brings to San Juan the most outstanding musical talent in the world.
The history of the Festival began when the government of Puerto Rico, with the support of the private sector, put into the hands of the maestro Casals the necessary resources to create an international festival of classical music. Master Casals visited Puerto Rico in 1955 and 1956 and by 1957 he had moved to the island and founded the prestigious musical event that bears his name. The inaugural concert of the Festival was held on the night of April 22, 1957 in the theater of the University of Puerto Rico. The program began without Casals being able to perform Suite No. 3 in C major for solo cello by Juan Sebastián Bach, as the Maestro suffered a heart attack while rehearsing with the orchestra for the opening concert. An empty chair in the position of the conductor presided over the orchestra during the rest of the Festival.
For eighteen glorious years, maestro Casals was at the head of the Festival, sharing his music with the world, until his death in 1973.
The Festival Casals is a living instrument of cultural, educational and humanistic action where the followers of classical music come together to enjoy an exquisite and varied program of the best works of the repertoire.