Today marks the birth of Cuban musician Ernesto Lecuona, born in Guanabacoa on August 6, 1895. A prolific composer, he wrote over six hundred pieces, including music for stage and film, popular songs and dance tunes, piano pieces, orchestral works, and ballets. One of his greatest contributions to the theater was the stylistic development of the Cuban zarzuela.
Lecuona, a master of the symphonic form, has been called “the Cuban Gershwin.” He founded and conducted the Ernesto Lecuona Symphonic Orchestra and was internationally known as an exceptional pianist. Some of his most well-known pieces include Black Rhapsody, zarzuelas like María la O, and songs like “Siboney,” “Malagueña,” “La Comparsa,” “Andalucía,” and “Always in My Heart,” which was nominated for the Oscar’s Best Song in 1942. Lecuona left Cuba for Tampa, Florida, in 1960. He died in Tenerife, Canary Islands, in 1963.
For full biography, see http://www.songwritershalloffame.org/exhibits/bio/C228
Image from http://www.last.fm/music/Ernesto+Lecuona