Musica Española Switzerland 

Imagine you are a young, internationally-renown Spanish pianist traveling the world to play sold-out concerts before eager publics.  Then, one day, after a concert, you decide to settle down and promote Spanish music, its composers and musicians, in the unlikeliest part of Western Europe.  That’s the story of pianist Maria Luisa Cantos and, though, today, it’s hard to imagine the economic powerhouse as less-than-cosmopolitan, when Maria Luisa arrived there more than four decades ago, she became Switzerland’s famous, but lonely representative of Spanish classical music and culture.  Nevertheless, her adoptive homeland was curious about this exotic place called Spain – keep in mind that Spain and Portugal were omitted from the European political map for much of the 20th century – and encouraged her to create a unique organization called Musica Española Switzerland to promote Spanish music in Switzerland.  Musica Española Switzerland has been at work for nearly forty-five years now and Maria Luisa has been awarded the Kingdom of Spain’s highest civilian honor – Lazo de Dama de Isabel la Católica – for her tireless efforts.  Both Maria Luisa and her deputy, Hispano-Swiss pianist Amri Alhambra, join us for an exclusive look at a cultural organization that defies national boundaries and shows the power of classical-music diplomacy at home and abroad.

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