The choir’s founder-director and artistic director of Gaulitana: A Festival of Music, Colin Attard, has recently been in Mexico conducting the Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico for the final concert in the orchestra’s 2016 season – which was also celebrating the OSEM’s 45th anniversary. The concert was held at the Sala Felipe Villanueva in Toluca on Friday 16thDecember.  After the concert Mro Attard was also interviewed by the Portal Diario del Estado de México.

The concert opened with Gaetano Donizetti’s rarely-performed and very bouncy overture from the opera Roberto Devereux. This was followed by Maurice Ravel’s great Piano Concerto in G featuring top Mexican artist and one of the leading contemporary pianists, Guadalupe Parrondo. The second part of the concert was intentionally reserved to lighter musical stuff – music by Johann Strauss.  The four excerpts were the overture from Die Zigeunerbaron, and the waltzes Rosen aus dem Süden, Kaiser, and An der schönen blauen Donau.

Amongst other events, Mro Attard had the opportunity to attend a Christmas Concert at Toluca’s big Cathedral given by the Coro y Orquesta Sinfonica Bicentenario of the Esperanza Azteca. The latter is a social program for underprivileged boys and girls, aged from 5 to 17. About 16,000 young people, together with 1300 teachers, develop important values through music, such as discipline, the pursuit of excellence and teamwork. As a result these youngsters significantly improve their self-esteem, additionally inspiring their families and communities – surely a very valid way to strengthen the social fabric. Esperanza Azteca has over 80 orchestras and choirs at some 80 Mexican states, and is also present in El Salvador and the United States. The concert was directed by Augusto J. Carrion Rodas, himself a viola player with the OSEM.

Mro Attard also visited the Conservatorio de Musica del Estado de Mexico accompanied by two OSEM violinists who are also members of the teaching faculty of the conservatoire. During the visit, he briefly attended the conservatoire’s 25th anniversary ceremony presided by the governor of the state of Mexico, the secretary for culture and the conservatoire’s director general.

Photo caption: Mro Attard congratulating the leader of the OSEM at the end of the concert