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Press Release

Teresa S. Thomas

For immediate release:
September 11, 2002

Carnegie Mellon's Leonardo Balada to Present World Premiere in Spain

MADRID—Leonardo Balada, University Professor at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Music since 1970, will conduct the Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus of Spain in a world premiere of his latest composition this month in Soria, a city near Madrid.

The acclaimed composer will conduct his premiere of "Dionisio: In Memoriam," a cantata for narrator, chorus and orchestra, at the concert hall in Soria on September 13. Commissioned by the Soria Autumn Music Festival, the 30-minute piece is based on the writings of Dionisio Ridruejo, a brilliant poet and politician who was an aid to Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, but later became a hero in the struggle for a democratic and free Spain.

Ridruejo changed his allegiance to the fight for democratic ideals after his experiences serving in a Franco division sent to support the Nazis against the Russians during World War II. The cantata combines very contemporary techniques with motifs of the fascist and communist military hymns of that era, says Balada, a reflection of Ridruejo's personal ideological struggles. The musical flavor of Soria, where Ridruejo was raised, can also be heard in the composition.

This is the second international premiere by Carnegie Mellon's composer-in-residence this year. In March the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra premiered his "Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No. 2 - New Orleans" in Berlin. This and other Balada compositions were recorded by the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra and will be released by Naxos Records as part of its "21st Century Classics" collection. Naxos has released two other CDs featuring Balada's compositions.


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