Important Cuban Pianist Fidel Leal Comes to San Miguel

Friday, July 13, 7pm
Bellas Artes, Hernández Macías 75
Advance tickets 200 pesos at Solutions, Recreo 11
250 pesos at the door one hour before the concert.
US$11 online steinwayseries.com
All proceeds benefit Libros para Todos

Important Cuban Pianist Fidel Leal Comes to San Miguel

By Fredric Dannen

When Cuban pianist Fidel Leal accepted an invitation to come to San Miguel and perform in our benefit concert series, the Steinway Series, we, the organizers, were satisfied to leave it at that, and let him choose his own program.

Leal has been a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba, toured Europe, and won first place in two international competitions. The young musician was described by a Cuban music critic as “one of the most advanced and important Cuban pianists of his generation to storm into the first decade of this century.”

Leal asked us what we wanted him to play. Without hesitation, we requested some of the Cuban repertoire that he interprets with matchless authenticity; and we asked for something daring.

Leal, who will be giving a single concert at the Bellas Artes at 7pm on Friday, July 13, is going to perform Cuban repertoire, a Bach prelude and fugue, and the hair-raising and brutally difficult Sonata No. 7 in B flat by Sergei Prokofiev.

Prokofiev, like Dmitri Shostakovich, wrote many of his greatest works under the tyrannical eye of Joseph Stalin. While Shostakovich had it worse under the dictator, even at one point fearing his own execution, Prokofiev received a huge shock in 1940, during Stalin’s “Great Purge,” when one of the composer’s closest friends and collaborators was arrested and shot. The three piano sonatas that soon followed, Nos. 6, 7, and 8, were jagged, nervous, and defiant expressions of the composer’s rage. Sonata No. 7 has remained the most popular of the set, with its furiously exciting finale—a sort of rock-and-roll toccata—but its technical difficulties have kept it off many concert programs. Leal has the technical skill and youthful verve to tackle it. That’s the daring part.

The Steinway Series is a benefit concert series for Libros Para Todos, a nonprofit organization that seeks to inspire children in Mexico to read more, particularly those children and young adults residing in rural communities where access to books is limited (for more information, visit makingreaders.org.). The series, held quasi-monthly, always employs the Bellas Artes’ nine-foot Steinway concert grand as a solo or ensemble instrument and has developed a reputation for excellence.

Advance tickets are 200 pesos, on sale at Solutions, Recreo 11, or US$11 online, at steinwayseries.com; or 250 pesos at the door of the theater, starting one hour before the concert.

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