Talented Musician Jesús María Sanromá
Considered by many to be one of the most accomplished pianists of the 20th century, Jesús María Sanromá made his debut in 1913 in the Fajardo Municipal Theater – he was only eleven years old at the time. He went on to play at San Juan’s Puerto Rican Ateneo in January 1916, where he was heard by José de Diego, an influential Puerto Rican statesman, journalist, lawyer and poet. Recognizing the incredible talent and potential of the young pianist, de Diego persuaded the Puerto Rican government to give him a grant to develop this talent through musical education in the United States, launching him on a most rewarding career.
In 1920, Sanromá graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music, based in Boston, Massachusetts, having been awarded the prestigious Mason and Hamlin Prize. The next step in his promising career was being appointed to the position of official pianist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, allowing him the opportunity to work with great composers, including Sergei Prokofiev and Igor Stravinsky. Sanromá collaborated with Arthur Fiedler – conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra – on a number of projects including the first complete recording of George Gershwin’s much-loved Rhapsody in Blue in 1935.
Having completed twenty years of service with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Jesús María Sanromá left his position as the orchestra’s official pianist and branched out to collaborate and record with other musicians, including the legendary Leonard Bernstein and Pablo Casals. On his return to Puerto Rico in 1952, Sanromá was appointed as a consultant in the University of Puerto Rico’s music department, and in 1956 he was selected as a member of the organizing committee of the music conservatory of Puerto Rico, as well as being actively involved in the popular annual Pablo Casals Festivals.
Sanromá released thirteen albums, featuring 154 of Puerto Rican composer Juan Morel Campos’ danzas. He staged a series of concerts in Puerto Rico and performed in France, Germany, Austria, Spain, England, Canada, the United States and a number of the Latin-American countries. His awards and recognitions included Honorary Doctorates from the New England Conservatory of Music, University of Miami, University of Puerto Rico, Boston College and St Peter’s College in New Jersey. Moreover, he was named Knight of the Order of Saint Sylvester by Pope Paul VI. Jesús María Sanromá passed away at the age of 82 and was buried in the Bayamon Porta Coeli Cemetery – leaving a noteworthy musical legacy that lives on.