UK Alumnus to Lead Panama National Symphony Orchestra
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 25, 2014) — University of Kentucky alumnus César Leal will conduct the first concert of the 2014-2015 season of the Panama National Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 31, at the Teatro Nacional de Panamá, in Panama City, Panama.
The concert is an innovating and challenging program bridging European and Latin American musical traditions from the beginning of the 20th century. The program includes “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” by Paul Dukas, as seen in the Disney’s film “Fantasia”; “The Afternoon of a Faun” by Claude Debussy; and “Sensemayá” by Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas. Additionally, Leal will conduct the famous Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104 by Antonín Dvorák as performed by internationally recognized cellist Isaac Casal.
After winning a scholarship to attend UK School of Music, Leal, who admired UK’s musicology program, decided to pursue his doctoral degree in musicology. “I was captivated by the professionalism and the expertise of the professors of the musicology division. They supported my activities, research and performances throughout the entire program,” he said.
Besides holding a doctoral degree in musicology from UK, Leal holds a bachelor’s degree in music performance from Javeriana University in Bogotá, Columbia, and a master’s degree in instrumental conducting from Florida International University. Leal is currently the artistic director and conductor of the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra at Sewanee: The University of the South. Additionally, he teaches and develops courses in musicology and music history.
Leal’s activities as a musicologist and conductor often intersect. In September 2013, in collaboration with the Lexington Ballet, he directed a full-stage production devoted to Sergei Diaghilev’s "Ballet Russes." This tribute included performances of Igor Stravinsky’s "Rite of Spring," Frédéric Chopin's "Sylphides" and Claude Debussy’s "Afternoon of a Faun." In 2011 and 2012, he was the assistant director of the Congrés Mondiale d’Écologie Sonore, an event devoted to music research and performance.
For his debut with the Panama National Symphony Orchestra, Leal programed works from the fin-de-siècle (late 19th century) that bridge European and Latin American musical traditions.
Leal's research interests include fin-de-siècle cultural life in Paris, Latin American contemporary music, and the significance of soundscapes to music history. He is currently the artistic director of EnVaGe (the Ensemble of Variable Geometry). Leal has led ensembles in the U.S., Panama, Colombia, France and the Ukraine. He has also recorded works by several Latin American composers and has presented scholarly papers in the U.S., Canada, Peru, Greece and Switzerland.
The UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition, and theory and music history.
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