Institut Ramon LLull

Cor de Cambra del Palau de la Música Catalana joins Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel for a groundbreaking performance

Music.  Los Angeles, 20/02/2024

Premiered in 1805 as Beethoven was reckoning with his own Deafness, Fidelio is a tale of triumph over oppression as the noblewoman Leonore goes undercover to daringly rescue her husband from political imprisonment. Gustavo Dudamel conducts the LA Phil and a star-studded cast in a groundbreaking event co-directed by Alberto Arvelo and Joaquín Solano and produced in collaboration with Los Angeles’ acclaimed Tony Award®-winning Deaf West Theatre (Artistic Director, David Kurs), Venezuela’s Coro de Manos Blancas (White Hands Choir), and Barcelona's Cor de Cambra del Palau de la Música Catalana, directed by Xavier Puig.

The innovative semi-staged production of Beethoven’s Fidelio, created for both Deaf and hearing audiences, was called an “outright breakthrough for opera” by the Los Angeles Times when it was performed in 2022. With a story told through the composer’s music sung by hearing vocalists and the expressive gestural poetry of sign language by Deaf actors, the performances explore the search for communication—both primal and sublime—that is at the heart of all artistic expression.


About Cor de Cambra del Palau de la Música Catalana

The chamber choir at the Palau de la Música Catalana, the Cor de Cambra, is one of the most prestigious professional choirs in Spain. The choir was founded by the Orfeó Català in 1990 with the goal of sharing universal choral music, helping to recover Catalan musical heritage and encouraging new compositions. Former choir directors include Jordi Casas i Bayer, Josep Vila i Casañas and Simon Halsey. Xavier Puig currently directs the choir, while Jordi Armengol is the choir pianist.

All the choir members are required to have excellent vocal and artistic skills, which means the group has the musical abilities of a truly great choir. It has been conducted by great masters, such as René Jacobs, Marc Minkowski, Kent Nagano, Simon Rattle, Gustavo Dudamel, Daniel Barenboim, Christophe Rousset, Vladimir Jurowski, Daniele Gatti, Simon Carrington and Fabio Biondi, and has collaborated with singers Philippe Jaroussky and Mark Padmore. The ensemble has been a member of The European Network for Professional Chamber Choirs (TENSO) since 2010.

Internationally, highlights include the choir’s 2017 début at the BBC Proms in London, a tour with Jean-Christophe Spinosi and the Ensemble Matheus in 2018, and the choir’s début at the MÜPA festival in Budapest in 2022, with a program of ensaladas and madrigals from the Catalan Renaissance. The St. John Passion by Bach, under the direction of Xavier Puig, the première of Reconnaissance by Kaija Saariaho and Invocation to the earth by Xavier Pagès Corella, under the direction of Simon Halsey, were the highlights of the 2022 season. The most notable projects from the 2022-23 season include performing works by Palau de la Música Catalana guest composers Caroline Shaw and Ferran Cruixent (directed by Júlia Sesé, chorus master); a concert to commemorate the centenary of the Obra del Cançoner Popular de Catalunya [Folk Songbook of Catalonia] which, with the goal of sharing professional choral music throughout Catalonia, toured a total of fifteen towns and cities; a second collaboration with Europa Galante and Fabio Biondi on Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria by Monteverdi, and a new collaboration with Franco Fagioli and l’Orchestre de l’Opéra Royal de Versailles, including two concerts in the French auditorium.

Highlights from the 2023-24 season include performances of The sacred veil by Eric Whitacre at both the Palau de la Música and Festival Vocal Saulus in Zaragoza, conducted by the composer himself; a performance of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea alongside The English Concert, conducted by Harry Bicket as part of the Palau Opera concert series; Die Fledermaus by Strauss, together with Les Musiciens du Louvre and under the baton of Mark Minkowski, performed at both the Teatro Real in Madrid and the Théâtre des Champs Élysées in Paris; and performances of Beethoven’s Fidelio alongside the LA Phil, under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel, in concerts at home in Barcelona and on tour in Paris, London and Los Angeles. Last but not least, this season the choir has also produced and performed in two of its own concerts: A song to nature. A cry to the earth and A Schubertiade.


About Xavier Puig, Choir director

Born in 1973 in Cervera (Lleida), Xavier Puig began his musical studies with the piano and violin at the Municipal Conservatory in his native town, broadening his musical education at the Professional Conservatory of Badalona and earning the teaching qualification for Harmony, Counterpoint, Composition and Instrumentation under the tutelage of M.A. Hurtado, M. Roger, B. Casablancas and J. Soler.

At the same time he began studying conducting with the International Course of Choir Direction in Lleida, where he learned from the maestros Josep Prats, Johan Duijck, Laszlo Heltay and Jordi Casas (1990-1994). He continued his training as a choir director with the European Conducting Courses taught by Pierre Cao in Catalonia (1996-1998) and at the Pontarlier International Academy in France (1997-1998).

He began orchestral conducting with maestro Salvador Mas at the Barcelona Conservatory and in 1999 he was accepted into Vienna’s University of Music and Performing Arts, where he completed his orchestral conducting studies with Leopold Hager.

In March 2002 he won the contest for the position of Assistant Director of Spain’s National Youth Orchestra (JONDE), also earning the Assistant Director post of the Barcelona Symphonic and Catalonia National Orchestra (OBC) in July 2003, with whom he conducted various concerts featuring works by Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Britten.

In 2018 he was appointed Conductor of the Vallès Symphonic Orchestra and Principal Director of the Cor de Cambra of the Palau de la Música Catalana. He also directs the Girona Orchestra and the Enric Granados Auditorium Chamber Choir in Lleida. For 25 years he has directed the Retama Choir of Cervera and the Arrayán Ensemble, dedicated to performing music from the 20th century. In the field of opera, he founded the chamber music company Òpera de Tres Rals, dedicated to small format opera, and he currently directs different concerts in the Òpera a Palau cycle. He has been guest conductor for numerous orchestras around Spain and maintains a close relationship with the Terrassa 48 Orchestra, with whom he will begin a comprehensive interpretation of Beethoven’s symphonies.

Xavier teaches Orchestra and Conducting at the Catalonia Higher School of Music (ESMUC). He has been guest conductor for several youth orchestras and he now directs the Conducting Course for the Terrassa 48 Orchestra since 2017.

He has filmed the work of Catalan composers and various educational programmes for Catalonia’s TV3. He was artistic director for the first six editions of the Cervera Easter Festival, dedicated to Catalan classical music, which he founded in 2011.


Cor de Cambra del Palau de la Música Catalana's international tour has received the support from the Institut Ramon Llull.

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