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Somohano, Arturo

Pianist, composer and orchestra director, Arturo Somohano was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico on 1 January, 1910. From his youth, he dedicated himself to the piano and to composing classical compositions.

During the Second World War he was a pianist and concert director in United States military bases. During this time his composition “Canción de las Américas” became a propaganda hymn of the United States Army. He later directed the San Juan Symphony and San Juan Symphonic orchestras, and championed the reconstruction of the Tapia Theater in San Juan, then an abandoned warehouse.

Somohano made many trips abroad as an invited conductor throughout Latin America, the United States and Europe. In 1958, his tour of Spain, Switzerland and Germany was such an acclaimed success, that he has to repeat the tour the very same year to please he many fans. Months later he contracted to direct orchestras in Santiago de Compostela, Zurich, Stuttgart, Madrid and six cities in the United States.

At the end of the 60’s, when he celebrated his 100th concert as Director in Madrid, he was honored by the Parliament and awarded the Cross of Isabel the Catholic and named Honorary Conductor of the Madrid Symphony Orchestra. In the mid-70’s, his Symphonic Orchestra played numerous concerts in the Condado strip of hotels.

He was an important promoter of Puerto Rican folk music; publicizing the works of danza composers Tavarez, Quintón and Morel Campos. In collaboration with Manuel Méndez Ballester , he wrote the forwards for three music reviews and the musical accompaniment for five theatrical works of distinct Puerto Rican authors.

This widely respected conductor died 23 March 1977 in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico.

Discography

Fiesta en San Juan (----)

Paseando por Puerto Rico (----)

A Mi Pueblo (----)

En El Viejo San Juan (----)

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