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SHREWSBURY, Massachusetts – For several years, Worcester Pianist Malcolm Halliday has worked to bring pianist Mauro Ledesma from his native Mexico to New England on a cultural exchange. Originally Mr. Ledesma was to perform at First Congregational Church of Shrewsbury on Saturday, May 18, but due to delays in receiving his visa, he was unable to make the trip in time to play the concert. This concert of great classical and Mexican piano music has been rescheduled and will definitely be taking place on Sunday, June 8 at 3 PM at the First Congregational Church.
Malcolm Halliday, who is Minister of Music at the church, and Director of the Arts on the Green concert series, has learned that bringing a young Mexican to our country is not as easy as it might appear. “All that you read about immigration and the difficulties of acquiring a visa is much better understood when you try to help someone through this process yourself. I had no idea it could be as complicated and involved as it turned out to be. The process was initiated two years ago, but unfortunately the first year was wasted in applying for the incorrect visa. Finally the paperwork was resubmitted for the appropriate visa to bring Mauro Ledesma on a cultural exchange, but then we learned that the paperwork had expired because the submission was made in the next calendar year. By this point the process had been delayed several more months, but we still hoped to present Mr. Ledesma this spring. After unforeseen delays in getting his final interview at the US consulate, his visa was finally approved at the end of April, but then we had to wait three more weeks for delivery of the visa. Now I am happy to say that Mr. Ledesma has arrived in the states, and we look forward to his upcoming concert in Shrewsbury.”
Halliday and his partner, The Rev. Thomas Rosiello, first met Mauro Ledesma while visiting San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato, Mexico. Says Halliday: “We decided very quickly after meeting Mauro that it would be a marvelous experience for us to bring such a talented musician to New England. Mauro has never before visited the US. We wanted to give this young musician the opportunity to sample the musical culture and way of life in New England, as well as have audiences hear him at the piano.
The concert will feature several classical works, including the first movement of a piano Sonata by Grieg, Poem by Otar Taktakishvili, a Rachmaninoff prelude and the “Heroic Polonaise” of Chopin. Several Mexican piano works will also be on the program, including Intermezzo by Manuel M. Ponce, Dios Nunca Muere by Macedonio Alcala, Las bicicletas by Salvador Morlet, and at least one tango. Malcolm Halliday will also join Mr. Ledesma at the piano in two amusing duets by Leonardo Velázquez, a 20th century Mexican composer, who only died in 2009. Following the concert there will be a reception, which will also include some Mexican treats.
Mauro Ledesma was born and raised in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. He began his piano studies at a very young age with the Mexican pianist and composer Marta Garcia Renart. In 2001, he was admitted to the University of Colima, where he studied with the renowned Russian pianist, conductor and composer Anatoly Zatin, and graduated with honors.
Ledesma has performed at many of the leading concert halls in Mexico as a soloist, accompanist and chamber musician, and a number of his concerts have been broadcast on radio and television. He is particularly active in his hometown of San Miguel, where he works closely with the city’s international Chamber music festival, Opera San Miguel, Pro Musica and San Miguel Cantador.
Says Halliday: “We certainly hope that Mauro’s concert will attract a lot of interest and support from the local community. This concert is free admission and open to all to attend, though donations will be gladly accepted to help with the expenses to bring Mauro here.”