Ernesto Lecuona

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In this Spanish name, the first or paternal family name is Lecuona and the second or maternal family name is Casado. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_0

Ernesto Lecuona y Casado (Spanish pronunciation: [eɾˈnesto leˈkwona; August 7, 1896 – November 29, 1963) was a Cuban composer and pianist of worldwide fame. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_1

He composed over six hundred pieces, mostly in the Cuban vein, and was a pianist of exceptional skill. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_2

His father was Canarian and his mother was Cuban. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_3

Biography Ernesto Lecuona_section_0

Lecuona was born in Guanabacoa, Havana, Cuba, Kingdom of Spain. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_4

There are inconsistencies surrounding his birthdate, with some sources indicating the year 1895, and others still giving the day as August 6. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_5

He started studying piano at the age of five, under his sister Ernestina Lecuona, a famed composer in her own right. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_6

As a child prodigy, he composed his first song at the age of 11. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_7

He later studied at the Peyrellade Conservatoire under Antonio Saavedra and the famous Joaquín Nin. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_8

Lecuona graduated from the National Conservatory of Havana with a Gold Medal for interpretation when he was sixteen. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_9

He performed outside of Cuba at the Aeolian Hall (New York) in 1916. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_10

In 1918 he collaborated with Luis Casas Romero, Moisés Simons, Jaime Prats, Nilo Menéndez and Vicente Lanz in setting up a successful player piano music roll factory in Cuba producing Cuban music and also copies from masters made by QRS in the USA. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_11

The brand label was "Rollo Autógrafo". Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_12

He first traveled to Spain in 1924 on a concert tour with violinist Marta de la Torre; his successful piano recitals in 1927 and 1928 at the Salle Playel in Paris coincided with a rise in interest in Cuban music. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_13

His popularity brought him to concert halls in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, and Lima in South America, as well as Paris, Nice, Barcelona, Madrid, and London in Europe, followed by more engagements in New York. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_14

María la O, Lecuona's zarzuela, premiered in Havana on March 1, 1930. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_15

He was a prolific composer of songs and music for stage and film. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_16

He scored some of the film music for The Cuban Love Song, Always in My Heart (film), and One More Tomorrow (film). Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_17

The entire musical score of the film Carnival in Costa Rica was penned by Lecuona. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_18

His works consisted of zarzuela, Afro-Cuban and Cuban rhythms, suites and many songs which are still very famous. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_19

They include “Siboney” (Canto Siboney), “Malagueña” and “The Breeze And I” (Andalucía). Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_20

In 1942, his great hit, “Always in my heart” (Siempre en mi Corazón) was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song; however, it lost to “White Christmas”. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_21

Lecuona was a master of the symphonic form and conducted the Ernesto Lecuona Symphonic Orchestra, employing soloists including Cuban pianist and composer Carmelina Delfín. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_22

The Orchestra performed in the Cuban Liberation Day Concert at Carnegie Hall on October 10, 1943. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_23

The concert included the world premiere of Lecuona's Black Rhapsody. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_24

Lecuona gave help and the use of his name to the popular touring group, the Lecuona Cuban Boys, though he did not play as a member of the band. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_25

He did sometimes play piano solos as the first item on the bill. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_26

In 1960, thoroughly unhappy with Castro's new régime, Lecuona moved to Tampa, Florida and lived on West Orient Street in West Tampa with his relative, singer Esperanza Chediak. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_27

Lecuona lived his final years in the US, but while traveling in the Canary Islands three years later, he died of a heart attack in the town of Santa Cruz de Tenerife on November 29, 1963, where he was trying to recuperate from a lung ailment. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_28

He was interred at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, New York, but his will instructs that his remains be repatriated once the current régime runs its course. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_29

A great deal of Lecuona's music was first introduced to mass American audiences by Desi Arnaz, a fellow Cuban and Lucille Ball's spouse. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_30

Lecuona's talent for composition has influenced the Latin American world in a way quite similar to George Gershwin in the United States, in his case raising Cuban music to classical status. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_31

Ernesto and Ernestina's cousin Margarita Lecuona was another accomplished musician and composer. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_32

She was the author of the song "Babalú", made popular in the Latin American world by Miguelito Valdés, and in the United States by Desi Arnaz (who, contrary to popular folklore, did not write the song). Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_33

In popular culture Ernesto Lecuona_section_1

Lecuona was included as a character in the novel The Island of Eternal Love, by Miami-based Cuban writer Daína Chaviano, together with other important names in Cuban music. Ernesto Lecuona_sentence_34

Selected compositions Ernesto Lecuona_section_2

For piano Ernesto Lecuona_section_3

Waltz Ernesto Lecuona_section_4

Ernesto Lecuona_unordered_list_0

  • ApasionadoErnesto Lecuona_item_0_0
  • CrisantemoErnesto Lecuona_item_0_1
  • La bemolErnesto Lecuona_item_0_2
  • MaravillosoErnesto Lecuona_item_0_3
  • PoéticoErnesto Lecuona_item_0_4
  • RománticoErnesto Lecuona_item_0_5
  • Si menor (Rococó)Ernesto Lecuona_item_0_6
  • Vals AzulErnesto Lecuona_item_0_7

Others Ernesto Lecuona_section_5

See also Ernesto Lecuona_section_6

Ernesto Lecuona_unordered_list_1

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Lecuona.