Debut in México, both as Conductor and Composer
In spite of the curious coincidence of events (My concert began fifteen minutes after the initial whistle of the Final match of the Mexican Football League!), a large crowd attended the noon concert at the Teatro del Estado in Xalapa, Veracruz, where I was fortunate to lead the very talented, energetic, and expressive OSJEV (Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil del Estado de Veracruz).
The program started with Bernstein's Candide Overture, a crowd (and personal) favorite. The orchestra shone in all sections. Then followed a masterful rendition of my Yaluk, a tone poem for brass and percussion - by no means an easy work. The young OSJEV band accepted the challenge and passed with flying colors. I am truly blessed to have had the chance to perform this piece with such a talented group of young players. The final piece in the first half, Chávez's Sinfonia India has been a true favorite of mine for as long as I can remember, and I couldn't think of a better piece for my debut in México. It was a magical performance indeed; all the soloists were truly inspired and the audience noticed, judging by the length of the ovation for them.
The second part comprised of Beethoven's seventh symphony, a piece which is close to my heart for many reasons. It was the first piece I ever conducted outside of Panama, the first piece I conducted for an audition, and the first of Beethoven's symphonies that I conducted in public. The orchestra and I shared a very special time, from the very first chord to the last. Each dance in the piece flourished, and even though there were lots of emotions floating on stage, there was always control. I am immensely grateful to the OSJEV for such a magnificent performance, one which I will remember for many years to come.