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Ernesto Lecuona at:


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Hal Leonard


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Wrote "Malaguena"

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Cuban-born, Ernesto Lecuona is the dominant musical force to have come out of the island nation, and without question one of the major contributors to the emergence of Latin music as a power in the world marketplace. Often called 'the Gershwin of Cuba,' he was friendly with George Gershwin and with the composer Maurice Ravel, who once called Lecuona's immortal "Malaguena," "more melodic and beautiful than my own "Bolero." Lecuona was friendly with many of the most influential composers and musical personalities of his moment in time, and his style and use of forms have influenced all Latin music, even the salsa of today.

Ernesto Lecuona was born in Guanabacoa, Cuba, across the bay from Havana, on August 6, 1895, but for an unexplained reason he actually observed his birthday as August 7, 1896. His musical talent was already discernible at age three. Following initial piano studies with his sister, Ernestina, he continued at the Conservatorio Peyrellade with Antonio Saaverda and the famed Joaquin Nin. At 17 he graduated from the National Conservatory of Havana with a gold medal in performance.

He had become a prodigious pianist indeed and his talents were soon on view for the first time outside Cuba when he appeared at Aeolian Hall, New York City in 1916. While his ties to his native Cuba were always strong, this initial performance in New York paved the way for an increasing presence in the United States, both as concert pianist and as composer, which eventually led to his permanent move to Florida in 1960, following the rise to power of the Communist leader, Fidel Castro…

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Discography Highlights

MALAGUENA Edwin Steffe, Ernesto Lecuona
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SAY SI SI (PARA VIGO ME VOY) Francia Luban, Al Stillman, Ernesto Lecuona
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