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"Ernesto Lecuona: El Maestro" at Sanctuary of the Arts

Sanctuary of the Arts brings a one-of-a-kind event to South Florida, “Ernesto Lecuona: El Maestro,” on Dec. 7-9. On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of his death, international artists including, musicians, singers and dancers will converge in a world-tribute celebration and homage to the genius of Lecuona. Principal headliner for the event will be acclaimed Cuban pianist Aldo López-Gavilán, described as a “formidable virtuoso” by the London Times, and “dazzling technique and rhythmic fire” by the Seattle Times. Having played globally with the most distinguished orchestras and concert halls, including the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Aldo López-Gavilán, will stop in Miami to pay homage to the legendary Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona in an unforgettable evening.

Mr. López-Gavilán will be accompanied on stage by a group of hand-selected musicians from the Greater Miami area, as well as Mezzo-Soprano Solange Merdinian, and Tenor Martin Nusspaumer, among others. Also, dancers from Sanctuary of the Arts Choreographic Ensemble will grace the stage, interpreting some of Maestro’s Lecuona signature compositions, choreographed by acclaimed teacher and choreographer Alice Arja and Rafi Maldonado-Lopez.

Isabel Custer, filmmaker, and co-founder of the Key Biscayne Film Festival will also premiere the documentary “Ernesto Lecuona, El Maestro,” narrated by none other than award-winning actor Andy Garcia.

Ernesto Lecuona has been credited for raising Cuban music to classical status. With a prolific songbook of over 600 compositions including pieces for piano and symphonic orchestras, film scores, songs, and zarzuelas, Lecuona has been hailed as one of the most illustrious graduates of the esteemed National Conservatory of Music in Havana, Cuba. He is sometimes referred to as the Gershwin of Latin America. Maurice Ravel was once quoted for saying “I feel the Malagueña is more melodic and beautiful than my own Bolero.”

Lecuona brought Cuban music to the world. His popularity won him appearances across Europe, Latin America, and the United States. His music was found all over America including many of his compositions that were played on the “I Love Lucy” show by Desi Arnaz, eleven film scores, including “Always in my Heart” whose theme song by the same name was sung in English and Spanish around the world, and nominated for an Academy Award. After the Cuban revolution, Lecuona became a Tampa, Florida resident. He died in 1963 and is buried in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, NY.

Sanctuary of the Arts is the fruition, or "dream come true" as it were, of its Founders, Mike, and Margaret Eidson. Both, known for decades of dedicated service and financial support to artistic, educational, human services, children, and community service organizations, now bestow this incredible legacy to Florida communities. Voted in 2023 as “Best Performance Space” by Coral Gables Magazine, Sanctuary of the Arts welcomed over 22,000 audiences in 2022 with over 40 performances from March to December. For 2023, over 70 performances and events will have taken place, welcoming Grammy, Emmy, and Pulitzer Prize winners. Through its resident companies, Sanctuary of the Arts operates out of 7 Latin American countries and hosts an international professional training program in dance.

Tickets for "Ernesto Lecuona: El Maestro" are on sale now. Tickets are $65 to $100.