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The 2013 Casals Festival: A Cultural Celebration

The 2013 Casals Festival is set to take place from the 23rd of February through to the 16th of March with a full program of world-class entertainment and events. The festival was founded in 1956 and named in honor of its founder, the world-renowned Catalan cellist and conductor Pablo Casals (1876-1973). The inaugural event was held in the theater of the University of Puerto Rico, and was meant to start with a performance by Casals of Johann Sebastian Bach's Suite No. 3 for Cello Solo in C Major, but unfortunately Casals had suffered a heart attack during rehearsals and missed the festival as he was recuperating. An empty Conductor's chair signified his absence during the entire festival. Fortunately, the Maestro recovered and became the driving force behind the festival until he died in 1973.

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Features

PRSO: Promoting Symphonic Music in Puerto Rico

Established in 1956 under the leadership of Pablo Casals, the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra (PRSO) has been entertaining sold-out audiences since its inaugural concert in Mayagüez in 1958. The PRSO has among its goals the creation of an environment to encourage the development of Puerto Rican musical talent; the promotion of an appreciation for symphonic music through educational programs; the opening up of opportunities for young graduates in the field of music and providing opportunities for soloists and composers to showcase their works; and to collaborate with educational, cultural, governmental, civic and private organizations in promoting critical appreciation of the symphonic repertoire.

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Features

Amazing Aerobatics of Puerto Rico's Green Mango

Bearing a name that is more likely to be associated with an unripe tropical fruit, the Green Mango (Anthracothorax viridis) is in fact a species of hummingbird found only on the main island and archipelago of Puerto Rico. With iridescent green feathers and blue and black tail, the Green Mango is a relatively large species among these tiny birds and has no clear distinguishing features to differentiate between male and female. While being considered fairly uncommon, it is listed with the IUCN as being of 'least concern' as its numbers have not declined significantly over three generations. Nevertheless, as with all the wildlife of Puerto Rico, the Green Mango is dependent on conservation of the island's natural resources for its continued survival.

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Features

Accomplished Entertainer Jacobo Morales

Born in Lajas, Puerto Rico, on 12 November 1934, Jacobo Morales in widely considered being the most influential film director in the filmmaking history of this charming Caribbean island. He is also a talented actor, having appeared in a number of films, some of which he directed, and is one of the members of the Puerto Rican comedy troupe, Los Rayos Gamma, which is well known for its distinctive brand of political satire.

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Features

Historian, Botanist and Liberation Advocate Dr Agustín Stahl

Born and raised in Aguadilla, Dr Agustín Stahl (12 January 1842-12 July 1917) was a strong and outspoken advocate for his home country's independence from Spain. He was also a medical doctor and scientist, with a special interest in the scientific fields of zoology, botany and ethnology. His interest in these fields led him to write a number of books and scientific papers on the plant life, history and people of Puerto Rico. Dr Stahl's former house in Bayamón was turned into a museum highlighting his life and work, and his remains are buried in Bayamón's cemetery. A bust of this notable Puerto Rican was sculpted by Puerto Rican sculptor Tomás Batista, and is displayed at the University of Cayey.

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Features

The Spectacular Endemic Flora of Puerto Rico

The colorful Flor de Maga, the official national flower of Puerto Rico, grows on the Maga tree (Thespesia grandiflora) and while originally endemic to the humid forests near the city of San Juan, the tree is now found throughout the island. The Maga tree can grow to a height of fifteen meters and the wood of the tree, being exceptionally strong, is used for furniture, fencing posts and other practical purposes. The flowers, in shades of red and pink, are used extensively as decorations, and the trees are grown both as ornamental plants and for their timber.

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Features

Will Puerto Rico Become 51st US State?

Since Puerto Rico became a self-governing, unincorporated territory of the United States in 1952, the topic of the island's political status has been a contentious one. On Tuesday November 6, as Americans were voting for their choice of Presidential candidate, Puerto Ricans were asked to vote in a non-binding referendum on two separate, but related issues. Firstly, voters were asked whether they agreed that Puerto Rico should continue with its current territorial status, and secondly, they were asked to indicate which of three alternative options they would prefer – statehood; independence; or status as a sovereign nation in free association with the United States.

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Features

Take a Stroll through Parque Doña Inés

Located near the Luis Muñoz Marín Foundation in San Juan, the Parque Inés María Mendoza Rivera de Muñoz Marín, more frequently referred to as Parque Doña Inés, is an ecological project to create an arboretum – a collection of trees from different parts of the world. Initially the park will cover twelve-acres of land, with the possibility of this area being extended. Named in honor of the wife of political leader Luis Muñoz Marín, the park aims to preserve a place of natural beauty for all people to enjoy, while offering the opportunity to learn about Puerto Rico's indigenous trees, as well as about remarkable trees from other countries.

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