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Published: Sunday, 2/24/2008

Mexico State Symphony comes to the Peristyle

Tourists decamping to warm and sunny Mexican resorts may not be planning to attend a symphony concert while on vacation, although our huge neighbor to the south boasts many fine orchestras.

Thankfully, for those still up north, one of the oldest and biggest ensembles, the State Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, is bringing its music to us.

Created by its music director, Enrique Batiz, to spread music as an art to shape both union and identity throughout Mexico, the orchestra has toured every region of Mexico.

Now midway through a 48-concert tour of the U.S. the group established in 1971 by Batiz is making its mark in concert halls east, west, north, and south.

Toledoans will be able to hear for themselves at 8 p.m. Wednesday when Batiz, his orchestra, and pianist Leonel Morales perform in the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle.Known at home in Toluca as the Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico (OSEM), the classical group performs a repertory that embraces music by Latin composers as well as the European masters.

The program planned for Toledo reflects this musical diversity. The first half of the evening is to include composer Carlos Chavez's versions of Chaconne in e Minor by Buxtehude and Chavez's Sinfonia India, No. 2.

Following intermission, Morales, a Cuban-born pianist now living in Spain, will perform Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 2.

Batiz, 65, began his musical career in his hometown, Mexico City, as a pianist. By his early 20s he had studied in the U.S. with Gyorgy Sandor and Adele Marcus. He made his mark prestigious contests such as the Marguerite Long International Piano Competition, but then turned to conducting, studying in Europe and the U.S. He has won awards in Mexico and Europe for his recordings and concert appearances.

The orchestra is appearing as part of the Toledo Symphony's Peristyle Series.

The State Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, with conductor Enrique Batiz and pianist Leonel Morales will perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle. Tickets are $25 to $45 at 419-246-8000 or www.toledosymphony.com.

- Sally Vallongo

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