The Catholic University of America

Aug. 4, 2011

Pianist Santiago Rodriguez to Cap International Festival at CUA

  Santiago Rodriguez

Santiago Rodriguez, eminent Cuban-born pianist, will perform a recital dedicated to the memory of his deceased colleagues on Saturday, Aug. 6, at The Catholic University of America as part of the 3rd Annual Washington International Piano Festival.

Hailed by The New York Times and Baltimore Sun as one of the finest pianists in the world, Rodriguez is professor and chair of the Department of Piano Performance at the Frost School of Music, University of Miami.

“Rodriguez is considered one of the world’s greatest interpreters of music of Rachmaninov as well as a leading exponent of Spanish and Latin American music,” says Grayson Wagstaff, dean of the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, co-sponsor of the festival.

“In addition to being one of the world’s great pianists, he is a role model for Latino children interested in classical music,” Wagstaff adds. “Given the music school’s attention to Latin American music, I consider this incredibly fitting that he is giving the concluding recital of the piano festival.”

Rodriguez was born in Cardenas, Cuba, and began his piano studies at the age of 4. After Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba, he was sent with his younger brother to live in an orphanage in New Orleans run by Catholic Charities. But before sending him to the United States, his mother had hidden money in his belongings along with a note begging the nuns to continue his musical education.

Two years after his arrival, he made his concert debut at age 10 performing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 27 with the New Orleans Philharmonic. His international career was launched in 1981 when he won the silver medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

He has performed with symphony orchestras in London, Berlin, Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, New York, Baltimore, Seattle, Indianapolis, and Houston, and with the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C.

Saturday’s concert will include selections by Ludwig van Beethoven, Frédéric Chopin, Padre Antonio Soler, Sergei Rachmaninov, Manuel de Falla, Issac Albéniz, and Mortiz Moszkowski. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and free for CUA students with an ID. For more information, visit

This event will mark the closing of the weeklong Washington International Piano Festival, the first and only piano festival in D.C. It combines an intensive educational program with a concert series featuring world-class classical pianists.

Forty-two students from the United States, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, and Russia are participating in recitals, workshops, and lectures. They have the opportunity to study one-on-one with artists, such as Rodriguez, who also serve as teachers.

Performances throughout the week have featured the talents of young pianists living and studying in the D. C. area who are winners of local, national, and international competitions. For more information on the festival, visit

MEDIA: For more information, contact Katie Lee or Mary McCarthy in the Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600.


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