An unusual catalyst motivated composer, musician, recording producer, artist and real estate executive Craig Cervantes to create a musical tribute to the late Princess Diana that will be featured during Saturday night's Missouri Symphony Orchestra performance.
"Queen of Hearts" will be performed as part of the orchestra's production at 7 p.m. at School of the Osage.
Princess Diana was killed in a traffic accident in Paris on Aug. 31, 1997.
On the night Princess Diana was killed, Cervantes — with deep roots at the lake — had been at the now-closed Potted Steer in Osage Beach, and was headed back by boat with friends to the Lodge of the Four Seasons.
"We were coming down the Main Channel and a thunderstorm and hail storm hit," Cervantes recalled. "We couldn't get back because the storm was so severe. We pulled into a dock. The hail was hitting the tin roof of the dock. I knew she was badly hurt, and I felt compelled to express that moment in music. So I sat up all night at my place at Black Hawk Estates and wrote the music."
The rhythms of those sounds of nature are the basis for his composition, Cervantes explained.
Cervantes was so touched by the elegance, romance, excitement and tragedy of Diana’s life, that it took several years for this music in his mind and fingertips to be completed and shared with the world.
"Queen of Hearts" is a symphonic tribute to Diana, the Princess of Wales, and is dedicated to her sons, William and Harry.
"Nearly 20 years later, the world has not forgotten Diana. If anything, her legend has steadily grown. I'm happy to add to it with my music," Cervantes explains.
With the 20th anniversary of her death nearing, Cervantes said the time finally seemed right and "Queen of Hearts" was recorded in September 2015 by the London Symphony at the famed Abbey Road Studios.
“When I wrote the symphony soon after the Princess’ death, I did so with profound sorrow,” Cervantes said. “When it was finished I set it aside because it was too painful to go further with it. But now I think the time is right because it is important to remember all the good the Princess did in the world for the needy and the suffering, for the disabled, for those injured in combat, for peace, for international understanding and good will, and to place the power of being royalty to opening new doors for helping to make better lives for people in many places in many ways.”
The inspiration for the piece was realized when two events took place in his life, according to Cervantes.
He wrote the first part "March of the Dancing Romantic" in 1983 upon his father's death, the honorable Alfonso J. Cervantes, mayor of St. Louis from 1965-73. The band arrangement was recorded in 1984 and appears on his "City Nights" album. The subsequent parts, "Iverness" and "Promenade and Finale," were inspired by the death of Diana.
In 2006, he took a month-long sabbatical in Aspen, Colo., where he returned to the Aspen Music Festival and School where he was able to complete the score.
Plans are underway for an international debut of the piece and the Missouri Symphony Orchestra, directed by Maestro Kirk Trevor, will lead the U.S. debut on Saturday.
The “Queen of Hearts” album is available on CD Baby. Cervantes will be available in the lobby at School of the Osage.
In the days after Saturday's concert, Cervantes will return to London to assist in putting together a live performance of the London Symphony and make it part of the 20-year anniversary commemorations.

About Cervantes
Cervantes’ musical abilities were recognized at an early age by his parents, the late Alfonso and Carmen Cervantes, of St. Louis. A current resident of the Lake of the Ozarks, St. Louis and Naples, Fla., Cervantes was provided a musical education at an early age. By his teenage years, he played five instruments, and his musical prowess led to a professional debut in 1973 playing drums for the legendary Chuck Berry. He performed behind a myriad of major talents in Las Vegas for several years before returning to St. Louis in his mid-30s upon the death of his father, Alphonso.
Alphonso was a real estate mogul in St. Louis and at the Lake of the Ozarks. The elder Cervantes was a friend and business associate to the late Harold Koplar, who founded the Lodge of Four Seasons and who owned property on Horseshoe Bend.
Cervantes holds a Masters Degree in Music Composition from the Walt Disney California Institute of Arts and has a background in classical and jazz piano as well as extensive study in Indian music. A real estate and development executive by day his work often takes him to Florida where he enjoys performing as a pianist and singer in several of the state’s prominent hotels. He also is a real estate agent with The Villages Realty in Sunrise Beach.

If you go
What Missouri Symphony Orchestra
Director Kirk Trevor
When 7 p.m. Saturday, June 25
Where Cummings Auditorium, School of the Osage, Highway 42
Cost $20 for adults, $5 for students at Central Bank locations
Sponsors Lake Arts Council, 573-964-6366.