Catalan composers and musicians of international standing, such as Enric Granados, Isaac Albéniz, Robert Gerhard and the great cellist Pau Casals, have made important contributions to symphonic and concert music. The Modernista auditorium of the Palau de la Música serves as a setting for interesting and varied seasons of concerts. Choirs also have a long tradition in Catalonia. In summer, many towns and villages hold music festivals in impressive historical settings or in spaces of particular artistic interest, such as Peralada Castle, the Church of Sant Genís in Torroella de Montgrí and in Cadaqués on the Costa Brava.
The Palau de la Música Catalana, the Modernista building designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, and L'Auditori, the work of Rafael Moneo, are key attractions for music lovers. The Liceu is one of the most famous opera houses in the world. These are modern facilities that back quality and innovation and which are equipped with state-of-the-art technology.
Designed by Rafael Moneo, this work of architecture has sober and compact forms. It has two auditoriums with a capacity for an audience of 2,340 and 610 people, as well as rehearsal rooms, a museum of music and an Institute of Advanced Music Studies. It has a regular programme and puts on concerts for families in the Festival of Contemporary Music, to encourage young children to learn about and enjoy music. The Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya is based at L'Auditori. This orchestra is heir to a tradition that dates back to 1944 when the composer Eduard Toldrà set up the Orquestra Municipal de Barcelona. Lawrence Foster was the orchestra's chief conductor between 1996 and 2002, when Ernest Martínez Izquierdo took over.
•·Palau de la Música Catalana
This building, designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, opened in 1908 and is one of the jewels of Catalan Modernisme. It is home to the Orfeó Català choral society, founded in 1891. The Palau is one of the finest concert halls in the world and organises various seasons of symphonic music: Promoconcert, Palau 100, Ibercàmera, Concerts Simfònics al Palau and Euroconcert.
•·PALAU DE LA MÚSICA CATALANA
tel. (+ 34) 902 44 28 82
•· Auditori Municipal Enric Granados
Opened in 1994, this concert hall has some of the best acoustics anywhere in Europe. It mounts classical and contemporary concerts. It has a number of rooms and is also home to the Conservatori Municipal de Música de Lleida.
•· AUDITORI MUNICIPAL ENRIC GRANADOS
tel. (+ 34) 973 223 320
Summer Music Festivals
In summer, the selection of classical music on offer moves to towns and villages such as Torroella de Montgrí, Peralada, Vilabertran and Cadaqués. The programming for these festivals includes leading figures performing in settings of outstanding beauty: castles, churches and monasteries. An evening at Peralada Castle or the church in Torroella de Montgrí makes the perfect complement to a stay on the Costa Brava.
•· Festival de Músiques Religioses del Món in Girona (Costa Brava).
Festival focussing on religious music of different cultures from around the world. Held in July.
• Festival Internacional de la Porta Ferrada.
Held in the monastery and streets of Sant Feliu de Guíxols (Costa Brava). This is Catalonia's oldest festival. In addition to symphonic music and ancient and Baroque chamber music, it includes theatre and dance, jazz, pop and world music. Held from June to September.
•·Festival Internacional de Música Castell de Peralada (Costa Brava).
Held in a small village near Figueres in an impressive monumental setting with a medieval castle and a Renaissance palace. The festival takes place in the gardens during the months of July and August both in the auditorium and in the open air. Contemporary composers who have premiered their works at Peralada in previous festivals include Carles Santos, Josep Mestres Amadeus, Tomàs Marco, Jep Nuix and Xavier Montsalvatge. Held in July and August.
•·Festival Internacional de Músiques de Torroella de Montgrí (Costa Brava).
Thirty concerts focussing essentially on Baroque, classical and Romantic music are put on in the Church of Sant Genís and Plaça de la Vila, Gothic-Renaissance spaces of great architectural importance just a few kilometres from the sea. The festival also includes courses on performing and composing music. The musical greats who have performed during the festival in the past include Barbara Hendricks, Jaume Aragall and Joaquín Achúcarro. Held in July and August.
•·Festival Internacional de Música Pau Casals.
Held in El Vendrell (Costa Daurada), this festival pays special attention to Catalan cellists, composers and players. Held in July and August.
•·Festival de Cadaqués (Costa Brava).
Presents new works by contemporary composers and serves as a meeting point for young conductors from around the world. Held in July and August.
•·Festival de Música Clàssica.
Set in Santa Florentina Castle in Canet de Mar (Costa del Maresme), refurbished by Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Held in July and August.
•·Festival Jardins de Cap Roig in Calella de Palafrugell-Mont-ras (Costa Brava).
Performances of exceptional quality. Classical music and jazz, singer-songwriters, dance and theatre. Held in July and August.
•·Festival de Música Vila de Llívia.
Chamber, symphonic and orchestral music and choral pieces performed in the church in Llívia (Pirineus). Held in August.
•·Festival Internacional de Música de Cambrils (Costa Daurada).
Montserrat Caballé and Josep Carreras have performed during this festival in previous years. The concerts are held in a number of venues including Samà Park, and constituted a prime cultural reference for this town and the surrounding district. Held in August.
•·Schubertiada in Vilabertran (Costa Brava).
A season dedicated to the life and work of Schubert and held in a medieval village not far from Figueres. The concerts are held in the Monastery of Santa Maria. The Schubertiada includes renowned figures as well as young musicians and singers who perform lieder, choral music, and chamber and instrumental music. The Associació Franz Schubert, which organises the Schubertiada in Vilabertran, runs a similar season in winter in the Auditori Winterthur in L'Illa Diagonal in Barcelona. Held in August and September.
•·Festival de Música de Cantonigròs (Catalunya Central).
This festival consists of a competition and exhibition of mixed voice choral music, women's choirs with equal voices, children's choirs and traditional dances. Held in July.
•·Cantada d'havaneres in Calella de Palafrugell (Costa Brava).
This event is dedicated to havaneres, a traditional form of song brought from the Caribbean by sailors in the 19th century. Held on the first Saturday in July.
•·Música als castells.
This series of concerts takes place in different places throughout Catalonia, using medieval castles as a backdrop. Held from July to September.
•·Festival de Música Felip Pedrell in Tortosa (Terres de l'Ebre).
Consists of various concerts taking place in different venues of the city, such as the Suda Castle, the cathedral and the Teatre Auditori Felip Pedrell. Held in October.
Jazz has long been popular in Catalonia. The Festival de Jazz de Terrassa and the Festival de Dixieland de Tarragona keep up a tradition that dates back to the 1920s. Techno and advanced music have taken over as the spheres for experimentation in music. A network of venues and events has built up around the Sónar festival, putting Catalonia at the forefront of contemporary creation. With over 90,000 participants, Sónar is one of the most important events of its kind in Europe.
•· Festival Jazz Terrassa. Concerts indoors and outdoors, master-classes taught by musicians, talks, a record fair and a photographic exhibition. This festival has been running since 1981 and is held in April.
•· Festival Internacional de Dixieland held in Tarragona. Traditional jazz played by bands from around the world. Music comes out onto the streets and invades bars and venues at night. In April.
•· Festival de Música Antiga. Organised by the Fundació "la Caixa". Concerts performed using period instruments, some in the squares and streets of Barcelona. In April and May.
•· Festival de Guitarra de Barcelona. Held in various venues and formats (Palau de la Música, Auditori Winterthur, L'Auditori, Luz de Gas), with the finest guitarists in all styles, including jazz, rock, blues and flamenco. From April to June.
•· Festival de Flamenco de Ciutat Vella. Organised by the Taller de Músics, this festival is held at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona. Performances by leading artists. Held in May.
•· Sónar. Urban festival for contemporary musical creation and multimedia art (from electronic pop to techno, hip hop and abstract beats). Three days and nights keeping up with the latest trends and leading artists on the electronic scene in Spain and abroad. Concerts, exhibitions, screenings and seminars and an area for professionals in the field in various settings around the city. More than 90,000 people attended the last event. Held in Barcelona in June.
•· Kesse - Festival Músiques del Món a Tarragona. World music, new trends, electro-acoustic music, ethno-fusion. Amongst the various venues are the impressive Roman circus in Tarragona and Pla de la Seu outside the cathedral. Held in July.
•· Mercat de Música Viva de Vic. A gathering from music professionals, a showcase for creators and performers in every musical genre and trend open to the public, who are able to attend performances in various indoor and outdoor venues. Held over one weekend in September.
•· Festival Internacional de Blues de Cerdanyola. The first blues festival in Spain, with performances by leading international musicians. Held in October.
•· Festival Internacional de Jazz de Barcelona. Set up in the late 1960s, this is the oldest jazz festival in Spain and the most important musical event held in Barcelona in the autumn. Held from October to December.
Pau Casals (El Vendrell, 1876 - Puerto Rico, 1973) is internationally one of the best known Catalans. Listening to Casals play a suite by Bach is an unforgettable experience. His name is still linked with that of the town where he was born, El Vendrell (Costa Daurada), thanks to Vil·la Casals (his home and now a museum), to the house where he was born, and to the Auditori Pau Casals and its programme of music dedicated especially to Catalan performers and composers.
•· House where Pau Casals was born
It retains the atmosphere that Casals knew during his childhood years.
•· The Baroque organ
Dating from 1777, in the parish church where Casals' father was the organist. Also, the Hermitage of Sant Salvador (11th-12th century) and Casals' tomb.
•· Vil·la Casals - Museu Pau Casals
Located on the beachfront in the Sant Salvador Quarter of El Vendrell, this museum brings across the family atmosphere and the beauty that imbued the house in its best days. Pau Casals had this house built in 1909. After touring throughout the world, he would always return to spend the summer with his friends and family. The museum has a rich collection of documents, art and personal belongings that visitors can discover on a modern and pertinent museum itinerary with highly effective audiovisuals through which to delve into the life and works of this brilliant Catalan musician. The visit can be rounded off by a stroll through the magnificent garden, covering over 2,000 m2, with a viewpoint overlooking the beach and the sea, as well as a sculpture gallery.
•· Auditori Pau Casals
Situated facing Vil·la Casals, this modern, flexible structure operates throughout the year as a concert hall. The Festival Internacional de Música Pau Casals, held in July and August, is the most important part of its musical calendar. Special attention is given to performances by leading cellists and Catalan performers and composers.
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