Classical pianist Teresita Gómez celebrates Colombian composers : NPR
Akiro Palacio /The Cartagena Music Pageant
When probably the most famend pianist in Colombia, Teresita Gómez, got here out for an surprising solo encore on the Cartagena Music Pageant on the Getsemaní Auditorium, she fully stole the present with a bit by her favourite European composer, Frédéric Chopin.
Throughout a rehearsal, Gómez defined why she identifies so deeply with Chopin, an expatriate musician who lived in France and at all times felt displaced.
“He was an individual who suffered a really sturdy uprooting, he was a really lonely individual, despite the fact that he was surrounded by a few of the nice musicians of his time,” Gómez stated. “That is not straightforward.”
It is by no means been straightforward for Gómez both. She was positioned for adoption just a few days after she was born.
“I used to be born in 1943. And it was not straightforward for the Black daughter of custodians who have been white,” she stated. “It wasn’t straightforward for an individual like me to enter that world of white individuals.”
Her white adoptive dad and mom lived the place they labored, on the Palacio de Bellas Artes, an unique high-quality arts faculty within the metropolis of Medellín.
When Gómez was solely three years previous, one of many lecturers allowed her to look at — from a distance — whereas she was educating the little white women who have been her college students. Gómez paid cautious consideration to the place the scholars put their arms. At evening, when her father walked round doing his rounds, she went together with him, taking part in on all of the classroom pianos.
She opened the door and screamed so loud I can nonetheless hear it. ‘The Black lady is taking part in piano!’ I began crying. I assumed they’ll beat me.
“I did all this in hiding. My mother was so fearful they’d catch us and throw us out,” she remembered.
In the future she was caught. A piano trainer walked in whereas Gómez was taking part in a lullaby. “She opened the door and screamed so loud I can nonetheless hear it. ‘The Black lady is taking part in piano!’ I began crying,” she stated. “I assumed they’ll beat me.”
However the piano trainer lifted the little lady up in her arms and informed her, ‘I will educate you in secret each Tuesday.’ Finally, the trainer secured a scholarship for Gómez on the faculty. Quickly after the star pupil was getting encores at recitals.
Diego Vega /Cartagena Music Pageant
Music critic Juan Carlos Garay works with the Cartagena Music Pageant and describes Gómez because the nation’s most essential feminine pianist. “Due to her story, due to her background, due to what she represents,” he stated. “Other than, in fact, she’s a fantastic performer.”
Gómez debuted professionally at age 12 at Bogotá’s Teatro Colón, the nation’s equal of Carnegie Corridor. After graduating from the nation’s prime conservatory, she grew to become each a professor and a pianist. Within the early Eighties, Gómez did one thing revolutionary. She started to check and carry out the music of Colombian classical composers.
“I assumed it was essential that we should not be embarrassed to play Colombian music,” she stated. “I needed to eliminate that disgrace.”
“She was amazingly courageous,” noticed Ana María Orduz, a music professor on the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín. When Gómez began taking part in Colombian composers, she defined, their music was thought-about much less invaluable than European classical music. “Folks began criticizing her. Like, ‘oh man, she can’t play the massive composers so she has to play Colombian music!’ Due to her, 40 or 50 years after she began doing that, we Colombian musicians can play our repertoire with delight.”
Over the course of a protracted and influential profession, Teresita Gómez has toured the world, recorded a number of albums and carried out through the inauguration of President Gustavo Petro in August 2022. Particularly vital was the presence of the primary feminine Afro-Colombian vice-president who, like Gómez, comes from a working-class background. This yr, Gómez turns 80. She is including a e-book of memoirs to her prolonged checklist of accomplishments.
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