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HomeMusicClassical pianist Teresita Gómez celebrates Colombian composers : NPR

Classical pianist Teresita Gómez celebrates Colombian composers : NPR

Colombian pianist Teresita Gómez is a legendary determine in that nation’s classical music scene.

Akiro Palacio /The Cartagena Music Competition


When probably the most famend pianist in Colombia, Teresita Gómez, got here out for an sudden solo encore at the Cartagena Music Competition on the Getsemaní Auditorium, she fully stole the present with a chunk 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 all the time felt displaced.

“He was an individual who suffered a really sturdy uprooting, he was a really lonely individual, although he was surrounded by among 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 a number of 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 folks.”

Her white adoptive dad and mom lived the place they labored, on the Palacio de Bellas Artes, an unique superb arts college within the metropolis of Medellín.

When Gómez was solely three years outdated, one of many academics allowed her to look at — from a distance — whereas she was instructing the little white ladies who have been her college students. Gómez paid cautious consideration to the place the scholars put their palms. At evening, when her father walked round doing his rounds, she went together with him, taking part in on all of the classroom pianos.

“I did all this in hiding. My mother was so apprehensive they might 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 believed they’ll beat me.”

However the piano trainer lifted the little lady up in her arms and advised her, ‘I’ll train you in secret each Tuesday.’ Ultimately, the trainer secured a scholarship for Gómez on the college. Quickly after the star pupil was getting encores at recitals.

Teresita Gómez, with Orquesta Filármonica de Mujeres on the Cartagena Music Competition in January, 2023.

Music critic Juan Carlos Garay works with the Cartagena Music Competition and describes Gómez because the nation’s most necessary feminine pianist. “Due to her story, due to her background, due to what she represents,” he stated. “Aside from, in fact, she’s an incredible 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 Nineteen Eighties, Gómez did one thing revolutionary. She started to review and carry out the music of Colombian classical composers.

“I believed it was necessary that we should not be embarrassed to play Colombian music,” she stated. “I wished 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 of much less useful than European classical music. “Individuals began criticizing her. Like, ‘oh man, she can not play the large composers so she has to play Colombian music!’ Because of her, 40 or 50 years after she began doing that, we Colombian musicians can play our repertoire with delight.”

Teresita Gómez performs Suite Breve by Columbian composer Pedro Morales Pino accompanied by the all-female Orquesta Filarmónica de Mujeres on the Cartagena Music Competition.


Over the course of an extended 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 important 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 record of accomplishments.



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