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Foreign Offices
Music.  London,  19/08/2017

The Orfeó Català and the Cor de Cambra of the Palau make their debut at the BBC Proms in London

On Saturday 19th August the Orfeó Català and the Cor de Cambra of the Palau will be making their debut at the prestigious BBC Proms. These Catalan choirs will be adding their voices to those of the CBSO Chorus and the London Symphony Chorus, alongside the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, to perform Arnold Schönberg's Gurrelieder at the Royal Albert Hall.

This is a historic occasion, the result of the efforts by the Fundació Orfeó Català-Palau de la Música Catalana to internationalise the choirs, aided by the stimulus represented by the arrival of Simon Halsey as artistic director of the Orfeó Català choirs and as artistic adviser to the Palau de la Música Catalana in September 2016.

Two days before the Proms concert, on August the 17th, at 14:30 h, the Orfeó Català is to appear on its own in Southwark Cathedral, also in London, conducted by its director, Simon Halsey. A free concert that is an opportunity to learn more about this group which this year celebrates its 125th anniversary. In Southwark Cathedral, the choir will offer Mozart’s Ave verum , Duruflé’s Requiem, and two pieces by Pau Casals: Nigra sum and O vos omnes, accompanied on the organ by Alex Mason.

This trip to London means the return to the English capital of the Orfeó Català and the Cor de Cambra after their last appearance there on 25th April 2015, when they made their successful debut at the Royal Festival Hall. This was a historic milestone which, preceded by concerts by the choirs in Vienna and Lisbon, showed both ensembles on top form; this continued in 2016 with another European trip, a tour of Italy with Beethoven's Ninth, conducted by Daniele Gatti


About the Orfeó Català

One of the country’s leading amateur choirs, it was founded in 1891 by Lluís Millet and Amadeu Vives to showcase choral works from Catalonia and all round the world, and to guarantee artistic excellence in its performances. Simon Halsey has been its resident director since September 2016, taking over from Josep Vila i Casañas.

The Orfeó is based at the Palau de la Música Catalana and has performed the most representative works in the choral repertoire, while also starring in the national premières of major works (Bach’s Mass in B minor, and Haydn’s The Seasons). It has been directed by the world’s leading conductors such as Richard Strauss, Charles Camille Saint-Saëns, Pau Casals, Zubin Mehta, Frans Brüggen, Mstislav Rostropóvitx, Charles Dutoit, Lorin Maazel, Daniel

Barenboim, Simon Rattle and Gustavo Dudamel, among others.

Recently, the choir has performed at the Konzerthaus in Vienna, Sala Gulbenkian in Lisbon, the Royal Festival Hall and Cadogan Hall in London, and has toured Italy with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Daniele Gatti. In May 2016 the Orfeó launched the celebrations of its 125th anniversary.

About the Cor de Cambra

The Cor de Cambra del Palau de la Música Catalana, the chamber choir of the Palau de la Música Catalana, is one of the most prestigious professional choirs in Spain. It was established by the Orfeó Català in 1990 with the mission of disseminating world choral music, fostering the revival of the Catalan musical heritage and encouraging new work.

Jordi Casas i Bayer directed the choir for the first 21 years and Josep Vila i Casañas was the lead director from September 2011 until September 2016, when Simon Halsey was appointed to the post.· The extremely high vocal and artistic quality required of each of its members gives the ensemble a potential which has enabled it to transcend borders and become an international benchmark for chamber choirs.

The Cor de Cambra has been conducted by great maestros such as René Jacobs, Marc Minkowski, Kent Nagano, Simon Rattle, Gustavo Dudamel, Daniele Gatti, Daniel Barenboim, Cristophe Rousset and Vladimir Jurowski, among others. · Since 2010, the ensemble has been a member of the European Network for Professional Chamber Choirs (TENSO). ·

During the last season, the choir performed on several tours: with Les Musiciens du Louvre and Marc Minkowski; the Ensemble Matheus and Jean-Christophe Spinosi and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra under Daniele Gatti.
Palau de la Música Catalana

Opened in February 1908, the Palau de la Música Catalana, home of the Orfeó Català, is the only Art Nouveau concert auditorium listed as a World Heritage Site.
Built between 1905 and 1908 by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner as a base for the Orfeó Català with money raised by popular subscription, the Palau de la Música Catalana is a piece of symbolic and emotional heritage for a whole people who identify with its history.

The concert auditorium − one of the world's most distinctive venues − has been for over a hundred years the privileged setting for national and international concerts in the city of Barcelona. This jewel of Catalan Art Nouveau architecture, the only Art Nouveau concert auditorium to be listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (since 4th December 1997), is today an essential meeting place in the cultural and social life of Catalonia.

The Fundació Orfeó Català-Palau de la Música, as the sole manager since 2012, based on values of excellence, participation, social commitment and Catalan identity, backs the activities of the house choir: the Orfeó Català, as well as the Escola Coral and the Cor de Cambra del Palau de la Música Catalana. Today, therefore, still among the most genuine symbols of Catalan culture, the Palau and the Orfeó, as dynamic, open institutions, foster music, choral singing, knowledge and dissemination of the country's heritage and social and cultural cohesion.

 

On August the 19th the Orfeó Català and the Cor de Cambra of the Palau make their debut at the BBC Proms in London, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle and together with the London Symphony Orchestra.

On August the 17th, the Orfeó Català will offer a concert in Southwark Cathedral conducted by its director, Simon Halsey.

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