New York Concert and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival

In 1962, returning to the States after three and one half years in Europe, a concert evening was set up at Kaufman Auditorium at the 92nd Street Y. and publicity went out very quickly.

It seems it was an event after the news of my success in London, and a photo of mine was requested by the New York Times to use on the Dance page. Word of mouth spread as well among the Spanish dance community as we made our way to renew old friends and contacts.

One night as we visited the Zambra restaurant, I was approached immediately by Fernando Sirvent, the well-known guitarist at that time and he asked to be my accompanist for the program. I consented right away as it was owed him considering the past events of 1954 when he was unable to play for me. That same evening, Carlos Ramos, also of Spain, asked to be considered for the same assignment and I was dismayed to tell him the engagement had already been given to Fernando. It was a great tribute to my work and reputation to be pursued by two outstanding musicians!

I also contracted Chinin de Triana as singer and Bertha Melnick, a fine pianist who had played for Jose Greco. She was excellent with Spanish music. With the addition of the Galician Group I met during that period, I had a wonderful concert program prepared. The date was May of 1962. Prior to the concert appearance I did two lecture performances in the New York area, one at the Educational Alliance and another for Asia House. Both were accompanied by Fernando Sirvent, the Spanish guitarist.

The concert was an ambitious undertaking and an enormous effort, but the reception by audience and critics was memorable. Following the performance I received an offer to appear at Jacob’s Pillow as a return engagement. This time I had one evening to myself to present the long lecture-performance with guitar. It was one hour and forty-five minutes long and astonished everyone with its complexity and depth. Ted Shawn himself said it was the finest lecture demonstration he had ever witnessed.

The remainder of the week’s work entailed the performance of the Zapateado de Estampio without music accompaniment and the dances Intermezzo from Goyescas and Panaderos de la Flamenca. The reviews were quite favorable, and I was paid a very good fee.

During the summer I did a lecture gig in Philadelphia at a Dance Academy there and later in the fall two concert dates with the Virginia Symphony Concert Series in Illinois and Covington Virginia, with another guitarist from the New York area. There were several school programs, and in the end of the year a concert and lecture for children with Emilio Prados, a marvelous flamenco guitarist from Spain.  This took place at  Henry Street Playhouse.

In 1963 I was booked for a full concert and lecture program at Springfield College in Massachusetts.  It was an all day affair with the lecture in full costume with guitarist, ( this time Emilio Bonet) and Paco Ortiz a flamenco singer, both from Spain. The lecture.performance was given at the noon hour.  The full concert in the evening was presented at 8 P.M.

A reception in my honor at the home of one of the teachers topped off the extreme effort. The Dean of the College attended and gave me very high praise. At the end of the concert he stood and with this signal the entire audience rose to their feet! My first standing ovation! 

Towards the end of that season in New York City, I was informed by letter by the New York State Council for the Arts that I was included in their list of performing artists. This was in connection with a projected booking in the New York area. Prior to this communication, I had not been alerted to this fact. Someone on the staff in the Council neglected to contact me regarding the projected engagement. By then, it was too late, as we had made plans to return to the West Coast because of personal obligations that had to be addressed. We had been away almost five years and there were pressing matters to attended to. However, it was encouraging to know that my work was recognized in this way. The Council was established in 1960.