Ernesto de Quesada

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Ernesto de Quesada López Chaves
Born November 1, 1886
Manzanillo, Cuba
Died 1972
Alma mater Harvard University
Occupation Music Manager
Known for Hispania Clásica (founder)
Spouse(s) Ascensión Delgado Casarreales
Children Ricardo de Quesada, Alfonso,[1] Enrique, Ernesto Jr

Ernesto de Quesada López Chaves (1 November 1886 — 1972) was the Cuban-born impresario who founded Conciertos Daniel, the classical music management agency now known as Hispania Clásica.


Early life[edit]

Ernesto de Quesada was born in the Oriente, in Manzanillo, Cuba,[2] when Cuba was still a Spanish colony (see the history of Cuba). After he completed high school and college, he devoted himself for a time to teaching guajiros how to read, riding his horse or walking long distances to reach them. (In Cuba, guajiro is a synonym for campesino (peasant).[3])

In 1905, with his income from teaching and some additional funds borrowed from his parents, de Quesada went to the United States. There he studied English for some months in Boston, Massachusetts, attending church on Sundays to listen to the services and accustom his ears to the new language. He enrolled at Harvard University, where one of his fellow students was Julio Cesar Tello, who would later become an archaeologist in Peru. They remained friends for many years.[4] After completing his philosophy studies at Harvard, de Quesada went to Germany.


In 1908, in Berlin, de Quesada founded the concert management company Konzertdirektion H. Daniel. As he was only 22 years old and the agency's sole proprietor, he invented an imaginary senior business partner, "Herr Heinrich Daniel," who was said to be out of town whenever anyone asked to speak to him.[5]

In 1914, on the verge of World War I, de Quesada moved to Madrid, there re-establishing his agency as Conciertos Daniel, with plaques for "H. Daniel" and "Ympresario E. de Quesada" on the doorway, where the artists he would represent included Gaspar Cassadó and Andrés Segovia.[4] In 1916, he married Ascensión Delgado Casarreales, a graduate (guitar and violin) of the Conservatorio de Música.

In 1917, as Arthur Rubinstein's music manager for his concerts in Spain and Latin America (from 1916),[6][7] de Quesada travelled with him from Cádiz to South America on the cruiser Infanta Isabel.[4][8] Rubinstein performed his Argentina debut concert in Buenos Aires at the Teatro Odéon (Teatro Colón?) on 2 July 1917, in a tour which included concerts in Montevideo, Santiago de Chile and Valparaíso as well.

In Spain, Ernesto de Quesada also created “Associations for Musical Culture,”[5][9] founding an Asociación de Cultura Musical in each of more than fifty cities in Spain, including small towns where people had never before heard a classical music recital. He also loaned each of them a piano de cola — a grand piano — without asking for payment. These associations nearly disappeared during the Spanish Civil War, as did the pianos.

During the Spanish Civil War and World War II, Conciertos Daniel was primarily active in Latin America,[5][10] expanding throughout the continent, where de Quesada's sons Alfonso,[1] Enrique, and Ernesto Jr. worked closely with him. (As correspondence in the mid-1940s with members of the Léner Quartet reveals, concert management tasks were not always straightforward or simple.[11]) Ernesto de Quesada's youngest son, Ricardo de Quesada,[12][13] head of the agency in Madrid since his father died in 1972, reorganised it as Hispania Clásica in 1996. One of the founder's grandsons, Enrique de Quesada, Jr.[13][14] in Caracas, is its director for Latin America.

Ernesto de Quesada also founded La Sociedad Artística Daniel[15][16] and La Sociedad Musical Daniel.[17] La Sociedad Musical Daniel was the organizing force on the Latin American side for a twenty-eight-week U.S. government-sponsored ballet tour of Latin America in 1941,[18][19][20] which was said by Dance Magazine to have been "the first example of an American government's support of dance."[21]

With fellow impresario Sol Hurok and others, de Quesada was present when Daniel Barenboim (then age 13) and Arthur Rubinstein met for the first time, in Paris in 1955.[7]


  1. ^ a b Juan Carlos Montero (February 5, 2003). "La lección de piano". La Nación (in Spanish; includes photo of Alfonso de Quesada and Juan Pedro Montero with Claudio Arrau). [permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Ricardo de Quesada. "Ernesto de Quesada López Chaves: Founder of Conciertos Daniel". Hispania Clásica. Archived from the original on 2007-08-08. 
  3. ^ José Barreiro (1989). "Indians in Cuba". Cultural Survival Quarterly, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 56-60. The term guajiro is synonymous in Cuba with campesino or countryman-peasant.  See also: Guajira (music).
  4. ^ a b c Ernesto de Quesada (grandson), Director of Membership & Development Operations, Minneapolis Institute of Arts (January 1, 2005). "Ernesto de Quesada: Biografia". (in Spanish). [permanent dead link]
  5. ^ a b c Hispania Clásica. "Conciertos Daniel 2008 - 100º anniversary.". Archived from the original on 2007-08-07. 
  6. ^ Harvey Sachs, p. 153, Rubinstein: A Life. Grove Press (1995). Hardcover first edition: ISBN 0-8021-1579-9, ISBN 978-0-8021-1579-9. “In My Young Years, Rubinstein incorrectly stated that his first major Spanish tour began early in January in 1916 and that he signed a contract with young Ernesto de Quesada and his Madrid-based Daniel Concert Agency when the tour was already well along. The tour really began in the second half of February 1916 and was organised from the start by the Cuban-born Quesada… He had met Rubinstein at San Sebastián the previous summer and had immediately begun to organize his 1916 Spanish itinerary. Indeed, the directors of the local Philharmonic Society in Bilbao, where Rubinstein made two of his earliest appearances on the tour, on February 23 and 24, had complained that Quesada was sending them Rubinstein instead of the more celebrated Teresa Correño or Busoni. But after the first concert their complaints dissipated…”
  7. ^ a b Daniel Barenboim, p. 40, A Life in Music. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (1991). Hardcover first edition: ISBN 0-297-81163-0. ISBN 978-0-297-81163-3. “One day, Mrs. Rubinstein phoned to ask whether I could come to their house that evening. There were a great many people there, including Sol Hurok and Ernesto de Quesada — the latter had been Rubinstein's manager in Spain and Latin America since the First World War… Rubinstein practically negotiated my first contract for me!”
  8. ^ United States Department of the Navy, Naval Historical Center. "Infanta Isabel (Cruiser, 1885-1926)". Online Library of Selected Images: Spanish Navy Ships. Archived from the original on 2007-08-18. 
  9. ^ Asociación Musical Granados-Marshall (Granados-Marshall Musical Association). "Frank Marshall King". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. …the Musical Culture Association, a society which was fostered by the Conciertos Daniel agency, which brought one of the most brilliant seasons of concerts to the Palau de la Música Catalana with performances by Claudio Arrau, Arthur Rubinstein, Wanda Landowska, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Jascha Heifetz among many others. 
  10. ^ Alexander Kosloff. "Mexico's Conservatory of Music". Music Educators Journal, Vol. 53, No. 2 (October 1966), pp. 97-101, doi:10.2307/3390789. (October 1966 peer reviewed journal reference to Conciertos Daniel in Latin America during the time of Spain under Franco. There are two main concert management bureaus in Mexico, the Conciertos Daniel and Instituto Nacional des Belles Artes. Their series present a wide range of international artists.  External link in |work= (help)
  11. ^ "Lener Quartet Papers" (PDF). New York Public Library archives. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2007-07-12. 
  12. ^ "Brief biography of Ricardo de Quesada.". Hispania Clásica. Archived from the original on 2007-08-07. Born in Madrid, he and his family left Spain during the Civil War and initially settled in Mexico, where he went to grade school in “Colegio Cristóbal Colón”, studying privately at the time violin. Every summer, after 1949, he and his parents spent their holidays in Spain at their property located in the base of Peñon de Ifach in Alicante. 
  13. ^ a b Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra. "Booking information for Latin America and Spain". 
  14. ^ "Director for Latin America, Enrique de Quesada, Jr.". Hispania Clásica. Archived from the original on 2007-08-06. Enrique is one of Ernesto de Quesada's grandchildren … He was born in Mexico City where he went to school and graduated in Marketing. He also studied music, specializing in cello in the School of Music of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México… Married, with four children and a granddaughter, he shares the passion for music of all the de Quesada family. 
  15. ^ La Sociedad Artística Daniel — The Daniel Artistic Society Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine..
  16. ^ "sTRANGE mUSIC - nEWS". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. The Sociedad Artística Daniel is in charge of Paralelo's programming. The Sociedad, founded in New York City almost one hundred years ago, has been responsible for the promotion of classical music in North and South America as well as in Europe. 
  17. ^ Célida P. Villalón; translation by Vivian Villalón. "The "Other" Ballet Russes.". Danza Ballet. The [1941] season in Havana (sponsored by Sociedad Musical Daniel, and the impresario Ernesto de Quesada) … included marvelous ballets, some of which had never been seen in Cuba before. 
  18. ^ Andrew Cahan. "Photography: Catalog 78" (pdf). Cahan Books. 237. LYNES, GEORGE PLATT Roosevelt, Franklin Delano, prefatory note. AMERICAN BALLET PRIMERA JIRA INTER-AMERICANA JUNIO-DICIEMBRE DE 1941 (Premiere Inter-American Tour of the American Ballet, June–December 1941). (New York): Under the auspices of Sociedad Musical Daniel: Ernesto de Quesada, Presidente, 1941. [permanent dead link]
  19. ^ Laura Raucher. "Kirstein 100: A Tribute Online Exhibition.". New York City Ballet Archives. … the single most documented tour in the NYCB Archives: American Ballet Caravan’s tour to South America in 1941. 
  20. ^ "Ballet Caravan (American ballet company).". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Ballet Caravan … rejoined the American Ballet, renamed the American Ballet Caravan, in 1941 for a government-sponsored tour of South America. 
  21. ^ Naima Prevots (December 1999). "Funding for DANCE - federal aid to the arts.". Dance Magazine. Another brief flurry of government activity in arts sponsorship occurred in 1940, one year before the United States entered World War II. Roosevelt saw the need to counter anti-American propaganda in Latin America. Nelson Rockefeller, whose official title was Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, was charged with developing short-term exchange initiatives. … It was for this tour that Balanchine created Ballet Imperial and Concerto Barocco, major works and his first ballets in pure dance form. American Ballet Caravan performed throughout Latin America for twenty-eight weeks at a cost of $100,000 — the first example of an American government's support of dance.