The Symphonic Orchestra of the Ernesto Ramos Antonini Free School of Music won the gold medal at the New York International Music Festival held at Carnegie Hall in New York. The group was chosen over the youth symphony orchestras of Japan, California, and Switzerland.
Puerto Rico boasted great talent as the Ernesto Ramos Antonini Free School of Music Orchestra obtained the first place, winning a gold medal in this global competition. In total, 67 students, between the ninth and twelfth grade, make up the Symphony Orchestra. Secretary of de Education, Jesús Rivera Sánchez thanked the youth by exalting the educational work on the island, as well as the staff of the agency working in the Free School of Music, underlining that “The students demonstrated great talent and commitment to music and its future.”
16-year-old Anthony Calderón Vizcarrondo, who plays the French horn in the Youth Symphony Orchestra, said that it was hard to forget what happened night at Carnegie Hall: “When we heard that we won we began to skip, we all embraced and sang ‘La Borinqueña’ [hymn].” Led by Fermín Segarra Vázquez, the group of teenagers achieved an overall score of 95% and the coveted gold medal. They had auditioned via YouTube and they were chosen to take part in the final event.
They performed Jean Sibelius’ “Finland;” “Spain,” by Emmanuel Chabrier; and “El Cumbanchero,” by Rafael Hernández with an arrangement by José Pujols. Segarra stated that “They are happy; they can’t wait to get home, but they are happy. Their presentation went very well. There was a colleague in the audience who plays in the Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera and he only has praise for them, especially for the execution of the “Spain,” because the end is difficult to achieve,” added Segarra, who also plays in the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra.
Director of the Ernesto Ramos Antonini Free School of Music in San Juan Víctor Rodríguez Deynes highlighted that from his seat in Carnegie Hall the delivery seemed “dreamlike.” He added, “It seemed to me that they were floating with their instruments, achieving a flawless sound. They even received a standing ovation when they ended their set with “El Cumbanchero.”
The students went on a tour of New York, before returning to San Juan.
Watch the students perform “El Cumbanchero” here:
For full article (in Spanish), see http://www.elnuevodia.com/cantamoslaborinquena-951506.html and http://www.elnuevodia.com/videoorquestasinfonicadelaescuelalibredemusicaganafestivalinternacional-951204.html