Famed composer, singer, producer and host of radio and television programs. She is considered one of the island’s most outstanding composers of modern romantic music. She broke barriers in her field by being named one of the first female disc jockeys and, later, an executive of a radio station.
Aurea was born November 1, 1925 in Santurce in a home of Puerto Rican musicians and composers. Her grandfather was the waltz composer Rafael Balseiro Dávila (1867-1929). She was the daughter of Juan Ramón Balseiro Ramos (1897-1973), violinist, musical arranger and composer, and Ana Aurea Vachier, pianist and violinist. Her aunt, Aurea Balseiro de Georgetti, was also a pianist and her uncle, José Agustín Balseiro, was a well known musician and man of literature.
Her work in the communications media began in the mid-1940s, when she worked as a script writer in the programming department of the former WEMB Radio El Mundo station, founded by Angel Ramos, owner of Empresas El Mundo. In the 1950s, she was one of the founding members of the Puerto Rican Society of Authors, Composers and Editors of Music, and later, in the 1970s, of the Puerto Rican Authors Union.
In 1965, Balseiro joined the programming department of WKAQ Radio as a script writer and producer. She gained her own program, called Hablemos de música, at the radio station, in which she was the disc jockey. In 1968, she was named director of programming at WKAQ-FM, becoming one of the few women executives in the industry.
In 1969, she founded the Filin Festival, which was dedicated to that Cuban genre of music, which fused the forms of bolero and jazz. This event was held for several consecutive years in concert halls on the island and on cruise ships. From 1970 to 1974, she worked as director of public relations for the Pediatric Cardiovascular Program at the Medical Sciences Campus of the University of Puerto Rico.
Balseiro returned to working actively in the communications media as a producer and host of Puchi Balseiro con Filin (1989-1991), broadcast by WEUC-FM, the Catholic University of Ponce’s station, and on television with Usted y mi mundo, which was broadcast by WIPR TV in 1994.
She began to write music when she was very young, but her first piece, “Ruego”, which she wrote when she was 15 years old, was not performed until the 1950s, when the César Concepción orchestra debuted the work. She wrote more than two hundred songs, among which were “No insistas más” (1962), “Tu y mi canción” (1964) and “En la soledad” (1971). Among the singers and bands that have performed her works are Los Hispanos, Tito Rodríguez, Flor de Loto, Iris Chacón, Lucy Fabery, Humberto Ramírez and Gilberto Santa Rosa.
She received many recognitions and awards during her lifetime. Balseiro was named Composer of the Americas (1975) in the program Música en relieve, broadcast by PRQ Cadena Azul in the Dominican Republic. The Puerto Rico Tourism Company paid tribute to her in 1978 and granted her the title Ambassador of Tourism and, in 1979, the organizing committee of the VIII Pan-American Games chose her composition Canción de COPAN as the official hymn of the games. The Puerto Rico Association of Professional and Business Women chose her as one of the 10 distinguished women of 1980 and she won the 2004 National Culture Award granted by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture.
After a long battle with cancer, Puchi Balseiro died on January 11, 2007, in San Juan.
Author: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: November 18, 2009.
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