Alejandro Vela is a prodigious and prolific pianist who performs around the world but nothing compares to playing in his home country, an experience he describes as a “blessing.”
In an interview with the Milenio newspaper, Vela said he sees a lot of Mexican musical talent playing internationally, but he believes greater support is needed to achieve the same recognition at home.
He includes himself in that category.
“There are some people who know me but others who don’t, so I always try to convince them and leave an impression on them of something they felt during my performance.”
Vela added that audiences in Europe are quite different: “they live the music very intensely” whereas in Mexico the audience needs to “be taken on a bit of a journey.”
Still, he says he has always been proud to say he is from Piedras Niegras, Coahuila.
Vela is also somewhat of an ambassador for Mexican music, performing compositions ranging from those by renowned early 20th-century composer Manuel M. Ponce right up to contemporary Mexican composers.
“I feel like it is my responsibility to make our music known, and even more so the music by living composers,” Vela said.
He recently performed a concert in Prague of music by master Mexican composer Alberto Askenazi but Ponce’s music seems to be the biggest crowd-pleaser.
Vela recalls the comment, “That’s what we want to hear,” when he played music composed by the Mexican melodist, born in Zacatecas in 1882 but raised in Aguascalientes.
Vela has also had considerable success in Asia and has toured there on several occasions, most notably Taiwan, where he has been seven times.
Apart from performing there, he has also given classes in public schools and universities.
He points out that musical culture is ingrained in children from a very young age.
“From when they are very small they know what music is, they know the instruments and their parents get them interested in music or dance. [Their] public schools are very similar to Mexican schools, but over there they have first-class grand pianos.”
Vela stressed the importance of promoting a positive image of Mexico in the world, citing art, sports and even gastronomy as areas in which Mexico and its young people have a lot of potential.
“The world already knows [the bad things] that are happening in Mexico so I devote myself to promoting the good things.”
A video of Alejandro Vela playing “Estrellita” composed by Manuel M. Ponce appears below.
Source: Milenio (sp)