Vero Beach brothers to duel with piano, organ in 6-year rematch Friday

VERO BEACH – Apparently, the musical duel six years ago between the Flores Brothers’ favorite instruments – piano and organ – was inconclusive.

That sell-out concert featuring two beloved music directors of two Vero churches – who happen to be brothers – has provoked a rematch set for this Friday, March 25.

“There are those who like piano, and there are those who like organ,” says Jose Daniel Flores. “This is a battle of the instruments, to see which one is king.”

Clearly, Jose Daniel Flores presumes his instrument, the organ, wears the crown.

But if the standing- room-only crowds cheering for respective favorites did not make the case strongly enough in 2004 to make the decision definitive, there is some question this year if the contest can be considered fair.

This time Jose Daniel Flores will perform on the Community Church’s magnificent new 4,000-pipe, $1.6 million organ, installed only last year, and considered among the best in the nation.

Brother Marcos Daniel Flores, clearly the underdog, must play on a mere piano, albeit a Hamburg-built Steinway concert grand, and not even on his home turf: he is director of musical arts at the island’s Christ-by-the- Sea Methodist Church.

“I was waiting for the organ to do the sequel,” says Jose Daniel, who, if he had a moustache, might have twirled its ends at the plan.

The concert’s tongue-in-cheek press release speaks of his “legions of fans” there, who will no doubt make the trek to the mainland in order to cheer each man on.

Both brothers were relative newcomers to Vero Beach when the first duel was staged.

Jose Daniel Flores is the former dean of academic affairs at the Conservatory of Music in San Juan, a school founded by Pablo Casals, from which he earned a bachelor’s degree.

Jose Daniel Flores was director of music and organist at Union Church in San Juan.

He has a doctorate in sacred music from the Oxford Graduate Theological Foundation, as well as a master’s degree in choral music and organ from the University of Illinois.

Brother Marcos Daniel got a late start on the piano. It was not until the age of 16 that he began his piano studies in earnest.

Like his brother, he, too, studied at the Conservatory of Music, focusing on piano performance.

He then earned a master’s in piano performance and literature at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, and continued his solo piano studies while earning a doctor of musical arts degree from Arizona State University.

Refereeing the competition is a third Flores brother, Iliut, professor of communications at the University of Puerto Rico.

Iliut, who also provides a running commentary of the rivalry, claims to have the edge over both his brothers.

“Iliut claims to be the smartest of the three,” says Jose Daniel. “He says that when he hits the wrong key on his computer, he can just hit ‘delete,'” says Jose Daniel. “Whereas, if Marcos and I hit the wrong key, it just hangs there in the air forever.”

Friday’s concert will include works particularly challenging for both instruments, by a wide range of composers.

It begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Community Church, at 1901 23rd St., Vero Beach.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $12 for students. Call (772) 778-1070 to check availability.

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