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Puerto Rican Virtuosos Bring Modern Twist to the Classical

Presencias hosted yet another night of divine music on the evening of Thursday, November 5, at the Figueroa Chapel amphitheater with the celebrated virtuoso violinist, Fermín Segarra and pianist, Daniela Santos.  
 
The doors were open an hour prior to the event,  and as the audience grew steadily and the lights were dimmed, the musicians were ready to perform.  Spotted among the audience were students, faculty, families and members of the local community, all linked by the desire to indulge in live classical music.
 
Image credit: Mariela Del Toro (Presencias UPRM)
 
An ex-alumnus from the class of ’78 commented that she came here to “listen, relax and appreciate the music of the angels.”  Her best friend, who also shared her fondness for the violin, said that she loved “witnessing the product of talented young musicians—I want to give them my support.” Emmanuel Acevedo, recent ex-alumnus and former pianist from UPRM’s Orchestra, mentioned how he looked forward to listening to Segarra’s interpretation of Beethoven’s Sonata.  
 
For her part, Marielys Padua, a fifth year Microbiology major, attends Presencias’s events frequently and was thrilled to see how the virtuoso would interpret these famous classical pieces, as well as the rest.
 
Fermín Segarra opened the concert with a rendition of Beethoven’s Allegro, a movement of what is known as his Spring Sonata, for the “feeling of happiness it transmits.”  Before he played the first strings, he told his audience with a chuckle that they’re not supposed to clap as a general rule, but “to clap if they felt excited or if they enjoyed it that much.” As his fingers played the violin, the audience grew silent, and in moments one could feel the flowers of the Spring Sonata in full bloom.
 
With the company of the pianist Daniela Santos, they weaved together a lovely sonata with its four movements: the Allegro, the Adagio, the Scherzo, and the Rondó.  As a movement ended Segarra smiled, paused briefly, signaled to Santos that the next piece was about to begin, and strung on.  After Beethoven’s sonata, Segarra said that despite how music has become so segmented to him “with jazz, danza, tango(…), I thank you for joining us tonight.”
 
Image credit: Mariela Del Toro (Presencias UPRM)
 
The night continued with Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s somber, profound “Deep River,” which was followed by Mozart’s Rondó. As point of fact, Segarra noted that famous composer Fritz Kreisler arranged the Rondó for the violin.  The chords Segarra effortlessly played with eyes closed entranced him and his audience alike.
 
Every performance was met with booming applause.  In a brief pause between songs before paying homage to Juan Morel Campos’s danza, the violinist shared his mission to promote both classical music and Puerto Rican danza as a musician. He revitalized Morel Campos’s “Candorosa” and made every note soar as he enraptured his listeners. The musicians let the art speak on its own, dominating every minute with their electrifying melodies, with each note evoking emotion.
 
After the hour-long concert, Segarra surprised the audience with an extra song, the classic “En mi Viejo San Juan,” with the excuse of feeling nostalgic for the city he lives in. The audience roared with a standing ovation.  What is remarkable about the a performances by these young virtuosos is not only the music they chose to perform, but how their contagious enthusiasm for the classical continues to delight older generations, while still enchanting younger viewers. 
 
Once the artists ceased to play, the lights were brightened and the concert was over, nothing remained but feeling.
 
Image credit: Mariela Del Toro (Presencias UPRM)
Sophomore English major who enjoys hanging out with dogs, watching the X-Files, and crafting mixtapes for friends.
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