The complete Spanish name of this youth orchestra – Orquesta Sinfónica “Estanislao Mejía” de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, or OSEM-UNAM – explains precisely its function: it is the symphony orchestra of the music faculty of the National University of Mexico. The music faculty’s best students perform here, getting to know the world’s great symphonic repertoire as orchestra musicians and also giving the Mexican music scene their own impulses. Thus, recent years have seen productions of Mozart’s Magic Flute and Puccini’s La Bohème, performances of Beethoven’s symphonies and great choral works such as Verdi’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah and Orff’s Carmina Burana. These were complemented by no less important works by Mexican composers, such as Silvestre Revueltas’ La Noche de los Mayas (which was rewarded with tumultuous applause when the orchestra performed it at the opening night of Young Euro Classic in 2013) and numerous world premieres by Ibarra or by Sergio Cárdenas, who has been the orchestra’s artistic director since 2005.
The Mexican conductor Sergio Cárdenas has been a professor at the National University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City since 2005, and he is also the artistic director of the Symphony Orchestra of the Music Faculty. In 2015 he was charged with establishing a chair for conducting at UNAM. Born in Ciudad Victoria in 1951, he studied choral conducting at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey (USA) and orchestral conducting at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. There, Cárdenas also conducted the music academy’s orchestra before his further career took him to many countries in Europe and Latin America, but also Egypt and Taiwan. For several years, Cárdenas has also been a successful composer, for example with the work The Flower is a Key (A Rap for Mozart), which was commissioned by the 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic and has also been recorded on CD – with Sir Simon Rattle taking the role of the rapper.
Born in Mexico City in 1987, the tenor Alan Pingarrón began his vocal studies in 2003 at the UNAM Music Faculty in his hometown. He won several competitions, for example the Francisco Araiza Competition and the opera competition “Las voces del Bicentenario” (The Voices of the Bicentennial). Pingarrón has performed with all the major orchestras and all renowned classical music festivals in Mexico. His repertoire includes the tenor parts in sacred works such as the Mozart Requiem, the Verdi Requiem and Handel’s Messiah to opera roles by Mozart, Donizetti and Puccini.
As an artist, Luis Gerardo Villegas is at home in various genres: he works as an orchestral and choral conductor, performing with various ensembles in North and Central America, but also in China. In addition, he is a stage director, for example as artistic director for several Disney productions. Last but not least, he is also active as a percussionist and – mainly in collaboration with Sergio Cárdenas – as a “symphonic rapper”.
The Orquesta Sinfónica “Estanislao Mejía” (Mexico) opens its dress rehearsal tot he public, offering excerpts from its evening programme. Moderation (in German) by Sergio Cárdenas.
Once again, a Young Euro Classic concert features unusual sounds! The Mexican student orchestra of the Music Academy of the University UNAM in Mexico City has brought a tenor from its homeland who will enchant the Berlin audience with Mexican songs. Yet he is also at home in the classical repertoire, which he will prove with three famous arias from the operas La Gioconda, Andrea Chenier and Tosca. The orchestra, which already enjoyed enormous success at Young Euro Classic in 2013, will not stand back: it introduces not only Candelario Huizar, a classical composer well-known in his native Mexico. Furthermore, it also brings The Flower is a Key (A Rap for Mozart), written by its conductor Sergio Cárdenas, back to its roots in Berlin: the “symphonic rap” was originally written for the 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic.