I was first drawn to Mexico City for a language immersion program and to study the music and life of Manuel M. Ponce in 2011. During that trip, through a series of fortunate events, I connected with many pianists in the city and was able to meet the man considered the “spiritual son” of Ponce, Maestro Carlos Vasquez. I returned in February of 2013.
Highlights of the trip include reconnecting with my dear friends, Ana and Evita. As on my previous visit, I again had the honor of visiting the great Maestro Vasquez who is 93 years old. The maestro enjoyed a long career as an international pianist and dare I say, international charmer! Although the maestro moves slowly, his sparkling personality, wit, conversation, memory, and piano prowess are sharp.
After making the very long journey across the city by bus, train, and taxi, we spent a memorable afternoon in the company of the maestro in his home. Evita, Vasquez and myself took turns playing on the massive grand piano that once belonged to Manuel M. Ponce. It was a special afternoon filled with nostalgia, music, and moments that transcend words. It seems as though I’ve known my friends for years and years. We share the common love of Ponce’s music and the love of pursuing a lifetime of music adventures and friendships.
The concert I presented was in the Sala de Música de Emilio Lluis. It was an intimate and elegant event with about 25 people in attendance. (The audience was encouraging and patient as I delivered the narrative in Spanish!) Concert night was topped off as the audience sang Las Mañanitas (Mexican Birthday Song) to my boyfriend, Joe Sweeney.
I can’t wait for my next trip to lively Mexico City!
Photos by Joe Sweeney.