We are nearly three years since the beginning of the pandemic, globally we experienced dramatic episodes, and so far this year, the effects of the lack of coexistence are less devastating. In critical moments, people were forced to live in isolation, and in this perspective music proved to be as much of a shelter and companion as it has been throughout history.
Unlike previous years, 2022 was more generous to carry out artistic activities in all genres that depend on common spaces to take place. Movie theaters, theaters and concert halls once again felt the warmth of their respective audiences.
In 2022, the Sinaloa Symphony for the Arts Orchestra (OSSLA), which I have the privilege of conducting, performed before close to 35 thousand spectators in a total of twelve venues, eight of them within Culiacán, two more in Mazatlán and Los Mochis, and two more outside the state of Sinaloa, such as Conjunto de Artes Escénicas in Guadalajara, Jalisco, at the beginning of the year, and the new Mariano Matamoros theater in Morelia, Michoacán, at the closing of the Miguel Bernal Jiménez International Music Festival last October.
I also had the opportunity to prove the healing power of music in other latitudes, when I was invited to conduct in Brazil, before the Orquesta Sinfónica del Teatro Nacional Claudio Santoro de Brasilia -a country I visited for the third time-, with an unusual program, consisting of works by six living Mexican composers such as Luis Portillo, Eduardo Gamboa, Arturo Márquez, Jorge Pastor, Marcela Rodríguez and Javier Álvarez, and in Guatemala, before National Symphony with an unforgettable Zarzuela gala. These were two very contrasting proposals in which, nevertheless, I could perceive that the effect achieved in both audiences was equally healing.
In 2022, the OSSLA performed the music of more than 50 composers, and presented works by Mexican authors Marcela Rodríguez and Samuel Murillo. The annual concert season included 23 different programs, distributed in 35 symphonic concerts, in addition to ten chamber music concerts and a couple of rehearsals open to students. The Pablo de Villavicencio Theater, in the city of Culiacán, received thousands of attendees throughout the year. Other venues in the city of Culiacán included the auditorium of the MIA Institute, Auditorio de la Autonomía Universitaria of the Universidad Autónoma de Occidente, Museo de Arte de Sinaloa, Gilberto Owen Library, Parque las Riveras, Lince auditorium of the Universidad Autónoma de Occidente, as well as the Sinaloa Park in Los Mochis, and Olas Altas in Mazatlán. Guest soloists and conductors from Mexico, Spain and Cuba were present in a series of concerts that included symphonic and Opera music, film music and the best of Sinaloa’s and Mexico’s songs, as was the case in the tribute concert to Luis Pérez Mesa, which opened the Sinaloa Cultural Festival “Lo Nuestro”. Undoubtedly, it was a frenetic year in which the efforts of authorities, technicians and administrators of the Sinaloa Institute of Culture and the Government of Sinaloa stood out. One of the main thematic axes of the year was the Beethoven cycle, which between March and December included the first eight symphonies of the genius from Bonn. The cycle will end on January 20 and 22 with the performance of the great ninth symphony, which will be joined by the opera choirs of Sinaloa and the choir of the Autonomous University of Sinaloa.
Although the world is constantly changing, the changes we have experienced in the last three years have shown us that we are vulnerable, but essentially we are in solidarity. Music was one of the lighthouses that have enlightened our souls during this dark uncertainty.