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September 5-11, 2007

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LEGENDS OF DE FALLA: Jorge Federico Osorio specializes in Spanish and Mexican composers.

Piano Español

Steinway Society and Mexican Heritage Plaza welcome Mexican piano great Jorge Federico Osorio to town

By Michael S. Gant

MAKING the kind of connection that seems completely naturally (and should help with the next funding request), the Mexican Heritage Plaza brings one of Mexico's most famed pianists, Jorge Federico Osorio, to town. This concert on Sept. 8 is a joint project with the Steinway Society of the Bay Area, and the organizers envision it as the beginning of a new series of community arts and education series with an emphasis on Hispanic composers.

Chicago-based, Mexican-born Osorio has recorded notable renditions of keyboard pieces by the early-20th-century Mexican composer Manuel M. Ponce, as well as Piano Español, a sampler of works by de Falla, Albéniz and the Baroque composer Padre Antonio Soler. A seasoned touring veteran since the 1970s, Osorio received glowing notices for his New York recital in 1997, when The New York Times praised him for his "bright but warm tone." His 2006 album, Mexican Piano Music by Manuel M. Ponce (Cedille Records), boasts lovely, dreamy versions of the composer's Canciones Mexicanas, his evocative Suite Cubana and several very Debussy-like mazurkas (not so coincidentally Osorio has recorded an album of Debussy). For his San Jose concert, Osorio will showcase selections by Ponce and late-19th-century Spanish composer Enrique Granados, paired off with some Chopin.

Osorio's appearance marks the beginning of a collaborative effort by the Steinway Society and the Mexican Heritage Plaza to spark interest in classical music in young audiences. According to Henry Schiro of the Steinway Society, "the concert is already 70 percent sold out." There is, he says, "a pool of Latino artists that we can book," and notes that "since we put the word out in April, we have had 30 proposals from internationally famous Latino piano players" to come to San Jose. In addition to his concert, Osorio will also make appearance at two area schools to play for students and parents: on Sept. 6 at 6pm at McKinley School District offices auditorium and on Sept. 7 at 10am at Seven Trees Elementary School.

JORGE FEDERICO OSORIO performs Sept. 8 at 7pm at the Mexican Heritage Plaza, 1700 Alum Rock Ave., San Jose. Tickets are $15 ($35 for a family or group of four); $50 VIP tickets include a post-concert reception with Osorio. (1.800.MHC.VIVA)

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