A Tribute to Maestro Jorge Velazco, one of the greatest conductors of classical Music in Mexico.
In this month of August 2013, we are commemorating 10 years of the death of the great Mexican maestro Jorge Velazco.
Jorge Velazco was the Founding Director of the great Symphonic Orchestra of Mineria, in Mexico City.
He was Director of music and musicologist and unfortunately he died suddenly on 5 August 2003, at 61 years of age.
The unexpected death of the maestro Velazco schocked to the entire cultural community of the country.
I remember very well that my family and I were waiting with excitment the new concert of the summer season of the Symphony Orchestra of mineria, we always liked their concerts because Maestro Velazco always chose very well the musical programs of the concerts and also because in that year, 2003, was the 25th anniversary of the orchestra.
The concert began with the unexpected news of the death of Maestro Velazco. I have no words to describe what we felt at that time. We felt very sad. We felt like we have lost a family member, a friend and I have to say that we knew him personally for several years.
His last and final concert was just about a week before he died, when he directed one of his favorite concerts for Piano and Orchestra: “The Concert for Piano and Orchestra no. 2 by Rachmaninoff”.
Jorge Velazco was the founding Director of the Symphonic Orchestra of Mineria and this great orchestra is famous for being the only Symphony Orchestra of the world that gives concerts in the summer, while other symphony orchestras are resting in the summer holidays.
So, Mexico is one of the few countries that does not stop playing “cultured” music in the summer holidays.
Jorge Velazco had prepared a special program for the grand gala concert for the Orchestra’s 25th anniversary at the end of August in 2003 but, as I said before, unfortunately he died of a myocardial infarction earlier in the month of that year.
He had selected major operatic parts, from the great chorus of the operas of Verdi and Wagner, the bacchanale of “Samson and Delilah” by Saint-Saëns , the choir of the soldiers of “Faust” by Gounod, Polovetsian Dances of “Prince Igor” by Borodin, arias of Puccini’s “La Boheme” and even “La Marseillaise”.
The Gala Concert was going to be conducted by Maestro Velazco but finally was led by the maestro Carlos Spierer. The concert was memorable.
Maestro Velazco’s achievement for the Symphony Orchestra of Mineria brought many extraordinary things, like for example, he brought many soloists with great prestige, both domestic and foreign, he managed to bring in each summer prestigious choir of Houston’s Symphony Orchestra to Mexico.
The Symphony of Mineria give their concerts each summer, in the large and beautiful concert hall “Nezahualcoyotl”, which is located in the prestigious National Autonomous University of Mexico (University City) while the Philharmonic Orchestra of the University, another extraordinary orchestra that gives us also a lot of pride and joy in our country, prepares to give their concerts in the fall-winter season.
The OFUNAM and the Symphony of Mineria are two of our most loved and respected Symphonic Orchestras of our country.
In this prestigious concert hall, the Nezahualcoyotl, the memorial tribute was paid with the body present of Maestro Velazco. Never before in the history of this musical hall, there had been a ceremony grief.
The gray coffin with the remains of Maestro Velazco had been received with applause which extended until the endless at the time of entering the room and was moved up to the front of the stage, where it was prepared just in the place in which it usually is the podium. At that time, the orchestra played “Las Golondrinas”, a farewell song, composed by Narcissus Serradel.
In another concert in memory of maestro Velazco, The Orchestra played under the great maestro Leon Spierer, Director, violinist (he was first violin of the Berlin Philharmonic under the maestro Herbert von Karajan) and who was a great friend of Maestro Velazco, “Crisantemi”, by Giacomo Puccini and after that, they played the famous “farewell” symphony by Haydn, in which the musicians were leaving, one by one, thier seats, as a sign of mourning.
Mexico owes much to Maestro Velazco, he did a lot of wonderful things for the culture in our country, he was a great musicologist, orchestra director and “Mexican music lovers were able to enjoy great seasons with works that had not previously been heard in Mexico”.
Now there are 10 years without Maestro Velazco and we have also now 35 years of the Symphony Orchestra of Mineria.
We will always remember with affection and respect Maestro Jorge Velazco.