Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra

The new season will highlight works by Puerto Rican musicians and composers.

The Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra (OSPR by its Spanish initials) is pleased to continue with its series of concerts as part of its new season, which resumes in-theater events after spending over a year holding virtual performances due to coronavirus-related restrictions.

Maximiliano Valdés, orchestral conductor and Music Director of the OSPR, explained to THE WEEKLY JOURNAL that this anticipated return will prominently feature works by Puerto Rican musicians. Through the different concerts, the OSPR will perform compositions by Angélica Negrón, Roberto Sierra, Héctor Campos Parsi, Ernesto Cordero, Raymond Torres Santos, Alberto Rodríguez, and Alfonso Fuentes.

“We don’t have our entire orchestra on stage because we have to keep distances and because we have to maintain plastic panels that separate the wind and wood [instruments] from the bronzes. But it is a very important step compared to what it was last year. At least now we can hear each other on stage, which was very difficult at the time of the pandemic,” the maestro explained, adding that the concerts - per tradition - are being held at the Pablo Casals Symphony Hall in the Luis A. Ferré Fine Arts Theater (Bellas Artes) in Santurce, San Juan.

The upcoming concert will take place this Saturday, Sept. 11, and it holds special significance because it is designed to remember the 20th anniversary of the tragic terrorist attacks of 9/11 that shook the international community. Speaking on the devastating impact on U.S. soil two decades ago, Valdés noted that “it is still so present today with everything that is happening in Afghanistan. So, we chose a piece that is serene, that is not tragic or dramatic.”

“It is a requiem from [Gabriel] Fauré; it is a serene, transparent, very beautiful piece - perhaps the most serene look towards the beyond that exists in music. It also has two young Puerto Rican soloists: Ricardo Rivera (baritone) and Natalia Santaliz (soprano). And along with that, we made a piece that was written for the occasion by a very famous American composer today, Aaron Kernis, which is called Celestis Music,” he stated. “It is made thinking about how much life changed after all that - the lack of security, the fear, the lives that were lost, and all this conflict that continues so alive to this day.”

In addition to the classical music concerts that will be presented every Saturday at 7:00 p.m. and the 9/11 remembrance performance, this season will also commemorate other special dates such as Veterans Day, Halloween, Christmas, and Three Kings Day. Moreover, the public will be able to enjoy popular music and the soundtrack of their favorite films as part of the long-awaited “Pops” concert series.

‘The Return of a Great Orchestra’

The season kicked off on Aug. 28 with a masterly performance by Diana Figueroa, a Puerto Rican pianist, who mesmerized the audience with a rendition of classics by legendary composers, such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonin Drovak, as well as a new piece by Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra. Speaking on this “return of a Great Orchestra,” Valdés affirmed that it consists of “a program that has to do with the reasons of music… I hope that all the public enjoys it.”

“Puerto Rico has a great Symphony Orchestra and it was time to meet the public again. For this season, we have chosen a great repertoire of symphonies, choral works, and concerts, which make it an extraordinary opportunity to share the experience of music. We look forward to seeing you in the room,” Valdés asserted.

In accordance with the Executive Order in force, at each concert, attendees must present evidence of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the Hall. Tickets are available at Fine Arts Center’s box office and through Ticket Center at https://tcpr.com/.

Pops / Special Concerts

All the concerts listed below will be held at the Pablo Casals Symphony Hall at 7:00 p.m.

The Hispanic Heritage

Date: Sept. 25, 2021

Director: Rafael Enrique Irizarry, associate director

A Light Halloween

Date: Oct. 30, 2021

Director: Rafael Enrique Irizarry, associate director

Symphonic Christmas

Date: Dec. 17 and 18, 2021

Director emeritus: Roselín Pabón

‘Reyando con tu Sinfónica’

Date: Jan. 4 and 5, 2022

Director emeritus: Roselín Pabón

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