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Ponce, Manuel Maria

Manuel Maria Ponce (1882-1948, b. Fresnillo, Zacatecas) is undoubtedly Mexico’s most beloved composer. Born in a small provincial Mexican town in 1882 to modestly prosperous parents who gave him his first piano lessons, his natural talent soon outstripped the educational potential in Mexico and he moved to Italy and Germany to complete his studies.

Ponce was the first to give Mexican music both a national identity and an international stature - he put Mexico on the musical map. Ponce successfully bridged the three worlds of folk, popular and classical music - a rare achievement among composers. The variety of his compositional styles reflects his extended periods of study in Europe as well as his devotion to Mexican music and culture.

Although he was a pianist, Ponce became best-known for his numerous guitar works, written for his close friend Andres Segovia. His piano output of over ninety pieces spans his entire career, and includes early salon-style character pieces, neo-Baroque preludes and fugues, nationalistic rhapsodies, and French Impressionist/neo-Classic works. His pupil, Carlos Chavez (1899-1978), said of him, ‘It was Ponce who created a real consciousness of the richness of Mexican folk art’.

Available records

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