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Princess of Asturias Awards 10/15/2023
This coming Thursday 19th October at 7:30pm in the Prince Felipe Auditorium in Oviedo
Their Majesties The King and Queen, accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses The Princess of Asturias and Infanta Sofía of Spain, are to preside over the 31st Princess of Asturias Awards Concert, entitled “With a Certain Taste of Peace”, organized by the Princess of Asturias Foundation in collaboration with the Cajastur Foundation. The concert will take place starting at 7:30pm on Thursday 19th October at the Prince Felipe Auditorium in Oviedo.
The Princess of Asturias Foundation Choir will perform alongside the Principality of Asturias Symphony Orchestra (OSPA) under the baton of Martyn Brabbins in a programme comprising Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and Dona nobis pacem, both by Ralph Vaughan Williams. The concert will also count on the participation of soloists Verity Wingate (soprano) and Paul Grant (baritone).
The final rehearsal, which will be open to the public, will take place at 8:30pm on Wednesday 18th October. The Princess of Asturias Foundation made one thousand free tickets available to the general public for this concert.
Music Director of the English National Opera, Brabbins is Prince Consort Professor of Conducting at the Royal College of Music. He studied composition in London and conducting with Ilya Musin in Leningrad. He began his career at the Kirov Opera House. and has worked at La Scala, the Bayerische Staatsoper and regularly in Lyon, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Antwerp. He was Associate Principal Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra from 1994 to 2005, Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic from 2009 to 2015, Principal Conductor of the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra from 2012 to 2016 and Artistic Director of the Cheltenham Music Festival from 2005 to 2007. He has guest-conducted leading international orchestras such as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, the German Symphony Orchestra of Berlin and the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Philharmonia Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and most major orchestras in the UK. In early 2023, Brabbins opened Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung cycle at the English National Opera with Rhinegold. He won first prize at the Leeds Conductors Competition in 1988, an award that launched his international career. He has received two Gramophone Awards, one for Birtwistle’s The Mask of Orpheus with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and another in 2021 for chamber works by Pickard with the Nash Ensemble. He has also been distinguished with the Cannes Opera Prize for Korngold’s Die Kathrin with the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Grand Prix du Disque for Jonathan Harvey’s Wagner Dream. He received the RPS Conductor Award in 2023 for his “colossal” contribution to the UK’s musical life.
In keeping with the traditional love of Asturians for choral music, the Princess of Asturias Foundation established a polyphonic ensemble in 1983 with the aim of elevating its performance to the highest of levels. Conducted by José Esteban García Miranda since 1989, the Princess of Asturias Foundation Choir is considered an outstanding amateur group that enjoys recognized prestige on the international scene. In December 2007, the European Parliament distinguished the Choir via an extraordinary acknowledgement “for its outstanding services to the European Union”. Throughout its history, it has also been conducted by Luis Gutiérrez Arias, Sabas Calvillo, Víctor Pablo Pérez and Luis Vila. Jesús López Cobos, 1981 Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts, was joint honorary conductor of the Choir until his death in 2018, along with Krzysztof Penderecki, who died in 2020 and who received the same award in 2001.
The Choir has toured Europe, America and the Middle East. In Europe, it has performed in France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Poland, Russia, the UK, Greece and Portugal. It has also performed in Jerusalem, Tampa (Florida), Washington, New York –in St Patrick’s Cathedral and at the Lincoln Center– on the occasion of Columbus Day, in São Paulo, Mexico City and Bogotá. Furthermore, in 2004 it was invited to participate at the marriage of Their Majesties King Felipe and Queen Letizia, performing during the traditional offering of the bride’s bouquet to the Virgin in the Royal Basilica of Our Lady of Atocha. It has also performed Cherubini’s Requiem in C minor alongside the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Riccardo Muti, 2011 Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts; alongside the orchestra and soloist of the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, conducted by the institution’s artistic and general director Valery Gergiev; excerpts from Richard Wagner’s opera Parsifal; The Dream of Gerontis, Op. 38 by Edward Elgar, under the baton of Rossen Milanov; as well as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Sergei Prokofiev’s Ivan the Terrible, conducted, respectively, by Pedro Amaral and Mykola Dyadyura. Since its inception, the Princess of Asturias Foundation Choir has been led by outstanding conductors such as Marcus Creed, Friedrich Haider, Ros Marbá, Peter Maag, John Neschling, Yuri Bashmet, Alberto Zedda, Paul Mann, Jesús López Cobos, Krzysztof Penderecki, Gustavo Dudamel, Sir Neville Marriner, Marzio Conti, Rossen Milanov, Juanjo Mena and Jonathan Webb. It has also collaborated with the Symphony Orchestra of the State of São Paulo; the Vienna Sinfonietta Classical Orchestra; the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, belonging to the National Network of Youth and Children’s Orchestras of Venezuela (2008 Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts); and the Philharmonic Orchestra (OFUNAM) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (2009 Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities), among others. In 2022, the Choir accompanied the Asturian musician Víctor Manuel in four symphonic concerts, on the occasion of his 75th anniversary tour, which included a performance at the WiZink Center in Madrid before more than eight thousand people.
Established in 1991 by the Regional Government of the Principality of Asturias, His Majesty King Felipe VI is the orchestra’s Honorary President. The OSPA, whose principal conductor is Nuno Coelho, runs a concert season in Oviedo and Gijón as well as performing extensively throughout Asturias and Spain. In addition to its previous principal conductors, namely Jesse Levine, Maximiano Valdés and Rossen Milanov, maestros of the calibre of Pablo González, Jaime Martín, Elim Chan, Michal Nesterowicz, Vasily Petrenko, Dalia Stasevska and Hans Graf have also conducted the orchestra. It regularly collaborates with major soloists such as Javier Perianes, Pablo Ferrández, Akiko Suwanai, Daniel Müller-Schott and Kirill Gerstein, among others.
The OSPA also carries out intense educational and social work in Asturias, expanding its horizons every year and garnering widespread acclaim in all the places where it performs. Its most noteworthy activities include its collaboration with Carnegie Hall via the venue’s LinkUp! program, in which more than nine thousand students participate each year. Outside the Principality, the OSPA has performed at Spain’s foremost auditoriums and concert halls. It is also regularly invited to play at festivals such as the Festival Internacional de Santander and the Festival Musika-Música de Bilbao. It has toured Mexico and Chile, has participated in the Inter-Celtic Festival of Lorient in France, and has performed in China, Bulgaria and New York. In 2011, it gave a massively-attended concert before His Holiness Benedict XVI in the Nervi Hall in the Vatican. It has recorded for the following labels: Artek, Naxos, Classic Concert Records and Channel Classics. It has recovered titles from Spain’s musical heritage such as Tomás Bretón’s Los amantes de Teruel and Covadonga, as well as reviving 19th-century Spanish symphonic works. The OSPA is an independent body of the Principality of Asturias’ Regional Vice-Ministry of Culture, Language Policy and Sports.
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