The mayor of Cayey, Rolando Ortiz Velázquez, announced that he has reached an agreement with the family of the famous Cayey musician César Concepción Martínez, for the establishment of a House Museum that will be an active center for the musical education of the youth. Cayey has an active history in promoting the values of its musicians, as evidenced by the creation of the Casa Histórica de la Música Cayeyana, a municipal initiative that is administered by a non-profit organization.
“Don César Concepción is surely one of the most complete and prolific musicians in the history of Puerto Rico, since he managed to mark several generations with his unparalleled music, performed by the orchestra that he himself directed and cared for until his death. We are very grateful to Don César’s family for their efforts in favor of this project. The location of the House Museum will probably be in the Vieques Community, where Concepción was born and its incomparable talent originated ”.
Concepción Martínez was born on July 28, 1909 and died on March 11, 1974 in Río Piedras. Many remember him as a virtuoso trumpeter who produced at least a hundred beautiful boleros and elevated the Puerto Rican full to the category of “salon” by taking it to the most elegant salons in San Juan. He was the founder and leader of one of the most sensational orchestras in Puerto Rico during the 20th century.
He completed his elementary academic degrees at the Luis Muñoz Rivera School and, from the eighth, at the Benigno Carrión School, in Cayey. At the age of nine he began learning the trumpet under the tutelage of Professor Claudio Torres, who later incorporated him into the Municipal Band. At the age of 13, he joined a group that entertained batches of silent films at the San Rafael Theater in Cayey. In 1925, the prominent pianist Augusto Rodríguez Amador went looking for him to offer him a position in the orchestra The Midnight Serenaders, at that time, the boy César had not turned 16 years old.
In 1935 he traveled to New York, a time of great musical effervescence and with major labels producing Latin American music. There he did not take long to find a place in the orchestra of the Venezuelan pianist Eddie LeBaron, in the luxurious cabaret The Rainbow Room. In 1940 he moved to Los Angeles, where some time later he would found the majestic cabaret Trocadero’s Club, which came to be considered among the most famous in the world.
He also collaborated on recordings and personal presentations with the orchestras of Xavier Cugat and others. From 1940 on he recorded with Don Pedro Flores. César returned to Puerto Rico in 1942, where he was part of the Escambrón Beach Club and later this illustrious Cayey formed his own orchestra, making history at the luxurious New Yorker Club in the County. The National Foundation for Popular Culture relates that the popularity of César Concepción’s orchestra was truly cemented through its daily participation in the program “La rouleta musical”, which the famous Announcer Artau maintained in his radio programs.
Exactly on Tuesday, March 31, 1954, just two days after the inauguration of Telemundo / Channel 2, the now famous orchestra made history again, becoming the first to be hired to perform permanently on the nascent Puerto Rican small screen. In 1968, after years of unparalleled success, César Concepción disintegrated his famous orchestra and settled with his family in New York. He remained retired from the musical scene until 1972, when he returned to his homeland and organized a new orchestra with Joe Valle. Concepción died in Río Piedras on March 11, 1974, as a result of a heart attack. In 1983, the lawyer and senator Nicolás Nogueras Cartagena, summoned a group of musicians who had made up his orchestra in various stages and recreated the original band, which he baptized as Orquesta César Concepción. It played at the Caribe Hilton Hotel until 1997.