With a recital for piano and saucepans, María Paz Santibáñez celebrated life

The Chilean pianist brought together in a single concert Debussy’s moonlight, Bartók’s nocturnal music, denunciation, Mapuche poetry, cacerolazos and a broken pedal for Frenchman Maurice Ohana.Photo Luis Salinas / Arcos-Alcaraz Archive

On September 24, 1987, the main headline of a Chilean newspaper broke the news: Carabinero shot a university student at close range. It was María Paz Santibáñez, a renowned pianist who, exactly 35 years later, gave a recital last Saturday at the National Center for the Arts (Cenart).

In front of two grand pianos in the Blas Galindo auditorium and some pans waiting their turn, he raised his fist and intoned: The oppressive State is a male rapist. The moonlights of Debussy, the nocturnal music of Bartók, the denunciations, the indigenous Mapuche poetry, the sound of the cacerolazo and a broken pedal for Maurice Ohana all fit into a single concert.

I live fundamentally on hope and trusthe stated in an interview a couple of days before his presentation at the Black and White International Piano Festival. At the same time, one has to look at where it comes from. When I speak of memory, I do not only speak of history, but of experience.

In his suitcase he brought his saucepans and wooden ladles, as seen in the photo he posted on Facebook from the airport, where he arrived from Paris at 4 in the morning, a few hours after a strong tremor in the city. She was already waiting for a master class with students. She also got some blue Mexican pots that she received as a gift.

Today I celebrate life. I carry in my heart those who did not survive, and I dedicate the concert that I offer in Mexico, today on this special day. Thirty-five years after being on the brink of joining the list of those assassinated by the Pinochet dictatorship, I persist in creating a culture of life and hopehe wrote in his official accounts.

That’s why he came to his concert with gigantic emotion. Somehow this day I will play with a different passion and hope, for myself and for those who are not. It is not about carrying memory as a weight, but as a transforming energy for a better future.

life of constant struggle

His life has been music and perseverance for social struggles. In recent years, after the great protest movement in 2019 in Chile, the project began Impact Suite, living creation to which different composers add works written for piano and pans. included in the concert The rapist is… you are… you were… and four other extracts. It is a musical and multidisciplinary project for the creation of works born of resistance, out of respect for the dignity of people and human rights”, he explains.

“I think that that revolt that took place in Chile in October, 30 years after that peaceful people hoped that somehow that ultraliberal system would give them back some of their lost dignity, people said: ‘enough is enough.’ He went out to demonstrate with all his might and the repression was really brutal. That moment was key ”, he recounted in the talk with this newspaper.

I met with a filmmaker and a writer; we held an event at the Chatelet theater in Paris to support the Chilean cause from an artistic point of view. The project female resistance crystallized after it is multidisciplinary, it invites street searches. But the front line is not going to be anyone at a demonstration or tear gas. They are women dancing or those who protect the wounded, an artistic image and the performative partas the Mexican public could see, also with the pans on the piano strings, sometimes scratching or rubbing, hitting the cooking instrument, of various sizes and colors.

Ohana and her teachers, the sea, the wind…

The night of the seventh concert of the Black and White Festival began with two preludes by the French composer Claude Debussy (1862-1918), with whom it also ended, to show an innovator in writing. From the Hungarian Béla Bartók he interpreted an example of a renewed impulse to compose piano works, it is said, after seeing Igor Stravinsky play. And María Paz Santibáñez also brought the Frenchman Maurice Ohana, whose greatest lessons were not received from musicians, but from the sea, the wind, the rain, the trees and the light, as Juan Arturo Brennan explained in the hand program.

In this regard, the pianist mentions: “There are people who said that they ended up with their hair standing on end after the impact suite. That’s why later I play some works by Debussy, which call for something peaceful, memory, liquidity and movement. It’s a way of saying: ‘well, this is where we are and we have to continue’”.

By Editor

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