35. Manuel Ponce [365 Composers for 2013]


4th February – Manuel Ponce


Ponce (8th December 1882 – 24th April 1948) is our composer for 4th February, to mark the day of Constitution in Mexico.
Nationality: Mexican
Lifespan: 65 years
Genre: 20th Century
Education: National Conservatory of Music, Mexico
Fame Ranking: 5

Manuel Ponce was a Mexican composer and music teacher. Amongst his works, his pieces for guitar and piano are the most well-known, with many of his guitar pieces forming part of the standard repertoire. He also wrote for other chamber groups, orchestra and composed a large number of songs.

A child prodigy, Ponce showed musical promise at the age of just 4 years. His parents luckily picked up on this quickly, and he received instruction in piano and reading music. He entered the National Conservatory in 1901, and returned there as a teacher eight years later.

Ponce was interested in the folk music of his native Mexico but was also influenced by other styles. His earlier works are of a sentimental nature and are easy-listening material. After a period studying with Dukas, Ponce’s style changed considerably and has been described as a combination of French Impressionism and Neo-Classicism.

Ponce’s most popular work is the song “Estrellita” written in 1914. Although his guitar works continue to be performed world-wide, it is only in Mexico that the rest of his works still regularly heard.

Here is the violinist Joshua Bell performing “Estrellita” at the 2007 Last Night of the Proms, at the Albert Hall:



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