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Floralba Del Monte, First Lady of Dominican Classical Music- A Salute on her 75th Birthday

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Location: Washington, DC


FLORALBA DEL MONTE, FIRST LADY OF DOMINICAN CLASSICAL MUSIC-A SALUTE ON HER 75TH BIRTHDAY-HON. CHARLES B. RANGEL (Extensions of Remarks - February 24, 2004)

HON. CHARLES B. RANGEL
OF NEW YORK
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2004

Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to salute Dominican concert pianist and piano teacher Floralba Del Monte, the "First Lady of Dominican Classical Music," who has just celebrated her 75th birthday, and who this year also celebrates several professional anniversaries: The 55th anniversary of her debut in the United States at Carnegie Hall; the 50th anniversary of her graduation from the Paris Conservatoire; the 45th anniversary of her appointment to the Piano Faculty at the Santo Domingo National Conservatoire of Music; the 53rd anniversary of her U.S. network television debut on CBS; and the 52nd anniversary of her debut in Washington, DC, at the Dominican Embassy.

Floralba Del Monte was the first Dominican concert pianist who performed in North America, and the first Dominican performer who appeared at world-famous Carnegie Hall in New York, making her professional and U.S. debuts there on June 14th, 1949, performing on this recital the U.S. premiere of the "Sambumbia" or Dominican Rhapsody for Piano by Dominican composer Juan Francisco García, "Father of Dominican Music." In the late 1940s and the early 1950s, she was the first Dominican classical musician who professionally appeared at several of the most prestigious concert halls in New York City, including Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, Steinway Hall, Kauffmann Auditorium and Labor Temple Concert Hall; at important venues such as the International School of Arts, American Women's Union, Fun & Fine Arts Club and the Women's Club of New York; on radio stations and television networks such as NBC, CBS, The Voice of America, WNYC, and WLIB; and at distinguished residences in New York City, performances in which several Dominican piano works were performed for the first time in the U.S. These acclaimed performances established Floralba Del Monte on New York's classical music scene and social circles of the 1950s, the first Dominican performer to make a name for herself in New York.

Floralba Del Monte was the first Dominican performer to appear on U.S. network television, making her debut on CBS on October 1, 1951 as one of the selected artists invited to appear on the Arthur Godfrey Show special that inaugurated coast-to-coast television broadcasting in the United States. During this broadcast, she performed the world premie 2re of her own arrangement for three pianos of the popular "Malaguen 6a" by Ernesto Lecuona, starring as the First Piano of the Pan-American Piano Trio. This piano trio was founded by Floralba Del Monte in New York, and made its world début on that historic night, with Del Monte, Peruvian pianist Elvira Román and U.S. pianist Dolores Layko representing the three Americas-Central, South, and North.

Floralba Del Monte was the first Dominican performer who performed in the Nation's Capital, making her debut there on May 16, 1952, in a gala recital at the Dominican Embassy, and giving another recital at the Pan-American Union, in which she offered the Washington, DC, premieres of several Dominican piano works.

Floralba Del Monte is recognized as a pianist of exceptional interpretative force, holding a unique place in the Dominican Republic that consecrates her as one of the most revered Dominican artistic figures in Dominican history. In the Dominican Republic, as the concert pianist of most important legacy, and as the music educator of most influential pedagogical work, her artistic legacy that spans five decades of unprecedented achievements, includes: Performing the Dominican, North American, and European premieres of the most important and difficult piano works of Dominican music literature, distinguishing herself for her fervent patriotism, including Dominican piano works on her appearances in her country and abroad; being the first performer invited by the Dominican Government to give a concert tour in the country; being the mentor of the most important school of piano ever created in the Dominican Republic, a school comprising several generations of accomplished pianists, including winners of international music competitions, whom she taught during a distinguished tenure of more than 40 years as a Piano Faculty member at the Santo Domingo Conservatoire; and being director of the Santo Domingo Conservatoire, whose recently completed tenure of more than a decade is already regarded as the Golden Age of that preeminent Dominican institution. This legacy, deservingly consecrates Floralba Del Monte as the unrivaled "First Lady of Dominican Classical Music."

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