Last updateFri, 08 May 2015 5pm
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Big summer ahead for state orchestra centennial

Thursday night was the first in a series of events inside and outside Guadalajara to celebrate — and raise funds for — the 100th anniversary of orchestral tradition in Jalisco. The observance is slated to conclude, if all goes well, in September with a visit by the entire Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra to Busan, South Korea, where they have been invited to participate in the Maru Festival. 

To kick off the centennial celebration, a formal dinner organized by the 60-member Patronato, a private group that underpins the orchestra, was held May 6 at the giant Expo Guadalajara facility. The JPO played the beloved work “Huapango” by José Pablo Moncayo and, joined by the Jalisco State Choir, did Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” always a huge favorite in this city. Such crowd pleasers surely made the 1,500-peso tickets worthwhile to the audience, who also got to witness the presentation of four awards to outstanding Mexican talent, including tenor Ramon Vargas. The evening was directed by JPO Director Marco Parisotto, who will also lead the three other anniversary events.

Funds raised at the gala are to offset costs of a second event celebrating the centennial — a recording in June of the orchestra playing Tchaikovsky works with an as-yet-unspecified label of Universal Music. 

“This will be the first recording done by the orchestra in ten years,” General Manager Arturo Gomez said, explaining that the concert will be performed for the public as part of the group’s second season, and then recorded soon after.

As another jewel in their crown, the JPO travels to Mexico City to perform June 12 at that city’s prestigious Palacio de Bellas Artes. The lineup for this program will be all Russian, with works by Prokofiev and Stravinsky and headlined by invited pianist Alexei Volodin.

Saving the best for last, the orchestra is scheduled to perform in the festival in Busan, South Korea’s second largest city. Some of the hefty expenses for this tour are already covered, but perhaps the largest chunk — airline tickets for the entire orchestra — are as yet blowing in the wind. This could be a problem, as insiders say that the orchestra is generally short on funds and has recently been several months late in paying some suppliers.

However, orchestra management is optimistic, noting that this will be the group’s first concert ever outside Mexico — surely a fine feather in the collective cap for this centennial year.