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Ernesto Lecuona

Arguably the most important Latin musical figure of the early 20th century, Ernesto Lecuona wrote hundreds of works during the era, including popular standards ("Malagueña," "Andalucia" aka "The Breeze and I," "Siempre en Mi Corazon," "Comparsa," "Noche Azul") as well as operettas, ballets, and an opera. Born in the Guanabacoa section of Havana in 1896, Lecuona earned fame first as a concert pianist. Taught piano by a sister (all three of his siblings were musicians), he studied at the National Conservatory in Havana and, later, with Maurice Ravel in Paris. He debuted in New York at the age of 21, and soon became a concert sensation (his piano recordings run into five volumes). Lecuona had been composing songs even while studying piano however, and he copyrighted two of the most famed songs in the Latin repertoire -- "Malagueña" and "Andalucia" -- during the late '20s. His group, the Palau Brothers Cuban Orchestra (later renamed the Lecuona Cuban Boys), toured America during the 1930s and became a huge success. Lecuona composed the scores for four MGM films during the early '30s, and earned an Academy Award nomination for the title song to 1942's Always in My Heart. Lecuona, named the cultural attaché to the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C., in 1943, rarely performed after World War II, preferring instead to cultivate his Cuban farm. He left his native country in 1960 however, denouncing Castro's revolution and vowing never to play again until Cuba was free of communism. Apparently, he never did perform professionally again, and he died in 1963 while on vacation in the Canary Islands. ~ John Bush, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

he was a true GEM
@Murphylarro n d e , He, Lecuona is Cubano, do not bring this other crap into it, It is what it is. If it wasn't for his latino roots he would have never made such beautiful music with Cuban/latino rhythm, period.
murphylarron d e : there is a simple thin in Cuba we have the racial and cultural heritage of almost every region in Spain and the african ascent is perceived well even in a sophisticate d composer as Lecuona. The famous musicians in Europe only acepted students before a very rigorous test, in any way tainted with favoritism. Lecuona's sister Ernestina also was a famed pianist and composer.
En el Siglo XX hubo un Lecuona. La musica cubana se divide en antes y despues de este genio universal
tfcastillo59
one of the Cuban icons enjoyed by many in the exile community... a true treasure for all of humanity!
murphylarron d e
I wonder if it was a coincidence that Lecuona, a Cuban of Basque heritage, chose to study with Ravel, whose mother was Basque from Spain.
francal11
OTHER SIMILAR ARTISTS TO ERNESTO LECUONA: IGNACIO CERVANTES AND MANUEL SAUMELL. Check also PIANIST AND COMPOSER FRANK FERNANDEZ AND PIANIST THOMAS TIRINO, who recorded most of Lecuona's piano music. Thank you.
francal11
A wonderful composer and pianist. I must add to the biographical information, that although he died in the Canary Islands (Santa Cruz de Tenerife) on November 29th, 1963, he was buried in the United States: Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Hawthorne, Westchester County. This was his wish. FRANK CALDERON
jperez697
los grandes nunca mueren, lecuona ademas de ser inmortal, es un simbolo de la musica cubana.

mis respetos y admiracin para ese gran talento que dio lo que fuera esa hermosa isla cuando reia.
ONe of Cuba's greatest. What a shame he had to leave Cuba.

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