Critics praise Ana Cervantes as "a physical, emotional performer with mastery of tone and color," as an artist of "commanding intensity" with "great interpretive qualities, enormous passion," and as "ambassadress for the music of Mexico."
The daughter of a Mexican father and U.S. (Nebraska) mother, Ana has a special ability to serve as an interlocutor between cultures through her engaging, charismatic stage presence and imaginative programming, which pairs new works with "standards."
As a commissioning artist, Ana Cervantes has inspired major collections of works by eminent composers. Canto de la Monarca: Mujeres en México / Song of the Monarch: Women in Mexico, her current international commissioning project, involves 17 composers from six countries: México, Spain, Colombia, Brazil, the USA and Great Britain, each writing a work for solo piano inspired in an important woman in Mexican history. Monarca takes as its symbol the Monarch butterfly, uniquely capable of transatlantic migratory flight and of returning every year to its sanctuary in México. Cervantes will perform the world premiere of the Canto de la Monarca music at the International Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato, México in October 2010, with the U.S. premiere the following week at the University of Texas in Dallas. Throughout 2011, Cervantes will bring this music to audiences in the U.S., in Europe and in Latin America. The double disc recording of Canto de la Monarca is due for release in early 2011.
For Rumor de Páramo/Murmurs from the Wasteland — and the resulting CDs Rumor de Páramo (2006) and Solo Rumores (2007) — Cervantes commissioned 23 composers from five countries and three generations to compose a short piece for piano solo inspired by the work of landmark Mexican proto-magic realist author Juan Rulfo.
In 2003, Cervantes was awarded a grant from the Mexican National Fund for Culture and the Arts (FONCA) and the Guanajuato State Institute of Culture to realize Agua y Piedra/ Water and Stone: Recent Music of México, a recording of music by seven Mexican composers, three of them women, and the premiere recording of six pieces.
In 1999, as a Fulbright García-Robles Senior Scholar, Cervantes developed a repertoire of contemporary Mexican concert music and brought it to audiences in the U.S.A.; she received an Individual Artist award from the Bossak-Heilbrun Charitable Foundation (U.S.A.) to continue this work. Premiering works by U.S. and Mexican composers, Cervantes has performed at numerous festivals including many editions of the Festival Internacional Cervantino and in the XV and XVI Festivals of New Music of La Habana. She has partnered in residency with numerous institutions including the Organization of American States, the Catholic University of America, the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Mexican Cultural Institutes of Washington, D.C. and San Antonio, Texas.
As teacher and clinician she is in demand from California Institute of the Arts to Sao Paulo, Brazil.
An alumna of Bard College, Cervantes has served on the artist faculty at Princeton University, at Rider University's Westminster Conservatory, and on the music faculty of the School of Music of the University of Guanajuato.
Ana Cervantes maintains an active international schedule as a performer. At home in Guanajuato, Mexico she collaborates with the chamber ensemble Ehecalli, and in various venues internationally with soprano Patrice Michaels, as well as joining music with the spoken word in her collaborations with poet Lirio Garduño.
"Cervantes makes evident her love and her almost symbiotic relationship with the musical soul and the emotional content of every work." Eduardo Soto Millán, Proceso, Mexico.