Mexican conducting star performs in Grant Park

July 8, 2011 (CHICAGO)

She will lead the Grant Park Orchestra in two concerts at the Pritzker Pavilion, one each on Friday and Saturday night.

Visitors watched Friday as Alondra de la Parra rehearses before the concert. The 30-year-old conductor has gained wide attention for her spellbinding performances, whether leading the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas in New York City, or internationally renowned orchestras around the country and world.

"I feel very privileged to be able to do what I love - music," said De la Parra. "What I hope is to be a source of inspiration for the musicians to play their best."

Her performances have earned her rave reviews declaring that she has a strong command of the rhythms. De la Parra has been named one of six young artists on the rise in Symphony magazine and called one of the young rockstars of the conducting world. She has been heralded by Placido Domingo as an extraordinary conductor.

"Conducting is a discipline that really needs hard work and you never quite get there, but I just love what I do," said De la Parra.

Children from the Austin Community Park District sat in the audience. Following the rehearsal, De la Parra, together with the newly appointed consul general of Mexico in Chicago, Eduardo Arnal spent time talking to the school children. She told them that at 15, she knew she wanted to be a conductor, tested them on what an orchestra is, and demonstrated how conducting works and had them participate.

"I enjoy doing educational outreach and talking to kids of all ages and backgrounds," said De la Parra.

"She is one of the best ambassadors of our culture worldwide," said Arnal.

Born in New York, raised in Mexico, educated in London and Manhattan, De la Parra calls both New York City and Mexico City home. The artist says she loves performing in Chicago.

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