Victor Hugo Ramos - piano

Tuesday, July 19, 7pm
Bellas Artes, Hernandez Macias 75
free

Direct from a concert tour in Chile, the music director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil de San Miguel de Allende is giving a free piano recital to help publicize the youth orchestra he founded and leads.

In 2006, Victor Hugo Ramos Fonseca, a music professor at the University of Guanajuato, was giving piano lessons to children at the San Miguel Casa de la Cultura, and discovered his calling. He was inspired to create a youth ensemble, in his words, "focused on teaching classical music to children." It started simply, with violin and piano students, and little by little grew to become a youth orchestra, with rehearsals at a Baptist church in San Miguel. Disadvantaged children from the campo, as young as six, would travel long distances by bus for the opportunity to play some Brahms or Sibelius with other children.

Ramos is a born teacher and a selfless champion of music education for children, and his efforts should have received government support, but very little was forthcoming. To compound the problem, another self-styled "youth orchestra" — markedly older in average age and bolstered with ringers (salaried musicians) — was established, and drew attention away from Ramos's Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil de San Miguel de Allende.

Ramos's ensemble now holds its classes and rehearsals at the Centro Impulso Social near the main San Miguel bus station, where the photo below, showing some of the youngest musicians, was recently taken.

Members of the Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil de San Miguel de Allende, May 2022
The orchestra currently has about 60 active students and approximately 90 in enrollment. The doors are open to admit more; Ramos's unabashed mission is "to bring music to all our children and young people in San Miguel."

The financing mainly comes from students' parents, providing just enough for Ramos to pay his assistant teachers. Ramos is hoping to raise additional money for a vehicle to transport large instruments, such as timpani, and for instrument maintenance.

Like many conductors who began as pianists, Ramos has kept up his piano fingers, and his upcoming concert at Bellas Artes will feature some demanding repertoire, including Bach's Italian Concerto, Beethoven's whimsical Rondo alla capriccio (nicknamed "Rage Over a Lost Penny"), Chopin's Grande Valse Brilliante, and other works.

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