Monsita Ferrer

Monserrate Ferrer Otero stands alone as the sole woman among the better known danza composers. Better known as Monsita Ferre, she was born in San Juan in 1885, she is the aunt of the internationally known actor José Ferrer.

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Ferrer studied piano and voice under the direction of Rosa Sicardó and Ana Otero, then studied composition with composer Julio Arteaga. Some years later, she completed her formal studies with counterpoint and fugues under composer Arístides Chavier.

She implemented what the great Puerto Rican danza composer, Juan Morel Campos, had suggested for clearer musical notation in danza compositions. This was a great advance forward and lead to more understandable sheet music that was easier to interpret and perform.

She composed many lovely and lyrical danzas in the 20th century. Perhaps one of the best known of these is “Ensueño de Gloria”, composed in 1913. The work won her a prize from the Sociedad de Escritores y Artistas de Ponce. Other famous danza compositions include “Divagación” and “Recuerdos del pasado”, which was published in manuscript folio by the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña in 1963.

She also composed other, classical works, in addition to danzas. These included “Cuarteto de cuerdas” (String Quartet) and “Ten Variations for Piano” based on a theme by Aristides Chavier and a song called “Amanecer”, adapted from a poem by famous Puerto Rican author and poet Luis Llorens Torres.

The beloved composer died in 1966.

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