2024 Commissioned Work

“El Colibrí y la Cempasúchil” (The Hummingbird and the Marigold)

Composed by Aaron Prado, DMA
Sponsored by Pauline and Randolph Glickman

About the Piece

The piece is inspired by the ancient Aztec story of Xóchitl and Huitzilin, two kids who grew up together and then fell in love. They would go up to the top of a mountain to leave offerings of flower petals to the god Tonatiuh. When Huitzilin was called to war and tragically died in battle, Xóchitl went to the top of the mountain and begged Tonatiuh to bring back her lover. Moved by the girl’s passion and sorrow, Tonatiuh transformed Xóchitl into a marigold on the top of the mountain and brought Huitzilin back to life as a hummingbird. When Huitzilin visited her as a hummingbird, Xóchitl opened her petals and released a sweet fragrance for him. This touching myth became a foundational story for celebrations surrounding El Día de Los Muertos in Mexico – and marigolds remain central to the traditions of remembering loved ones who have passed on.  In this piece, we hear the fluttering sound of the hummingbird, the folk dances of Mexico and Cuba, the sorrow of lost love, and the bittersweet joy of the lovers reuniting.


Trumpet, two violins, Leona bass, percussion, and piano