A concert dedicated to Mozart and Mahler has opened the XXI Encuentro de Música y Academia de Santander, which will be followed by a great celebration of chamber music. The Encuentro pays tribute to the mezzo-soprano Teresa Berganza, who always maintained a close teaching collaboration with this programme, while the 225th anniversary of the birth of the Austrian composer Franz Schubert and the 175th anniversary of the death of the German Felix Mendelssohn will be commemorated.
Since its beginnings, the Encounter's objectives have been to support young musicians, to bring music closer to everyone, to enrich the musical offer of the Cantabrian region and, above all, to reinforce the position of Santander and Cantabria itself as places of reference on the international music scene.
For this reason, in addition to the halls of the Palacio de Festivales where the enthusiasm of the young people will be complemented by the experience of the maestros, the concerts will also be held in the Paraninfo de la Magdalena of the Universidad Internacional Menéndez y Pelayo, the Church of Santa Lucía, as well as in Comillas, Torrelavega, Santillana del Mar, Laredo and 15 other towns in the region.
Regarding the academic part of the Encuentro, a dozen professors from all over the world will work with the young people, giving master classes and rehearsal sessions. Emblematic names such as the violinists Zakhar Bron and Christoph Poppen, the violist Nobuko Imai, the flautist András Adorján or the trumpeter Radovan Vlatkovic will be in charge this year of spurring the traditional enthusiasm of the young talents.
Founded in 1972 by Paloma O'Shea, the Santander International Piano Competition is now a classic and one of the most prestigious in the world. Open to talented young pianists, its objective is to make them known and help them in their artistic careers. This 20th edition, to be held in 2021, coincides with the 50th anniversary of its creation, and 303 young people of 46 different nationalities took part. Of these, the Selection Committee chose 129, who were invited to participate in the pre-selection phase held in March and April in Paris, New York and Madrid.
The jury, made up of Márta Gulyás, Alexander Kandelaki and Luis Fernando Pérez, chose the 20 finalists who, from 25 July, will give their recitals, lasting a maximum of 50 minutes, with a programme of free choice, but which must include recognised and representative works in the classical, romantic and modern styles.
Twelve of the contestants will compete in the semi-finals with recitals that must include at least one sonata by Mozart, another work to be chosen from among the Spanish composers Albéniz, Granados, Falla and Mompou; another choice from among Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Liszt and Chopin, as well as a piece for piano trio by Beethoven, piano quartet by Schumann or Brahms and/or piano quintet by Brahms, Schumann, Dvórak or Franck.
Six pianists will qualify for the finals to be held on 3 and 4 August. They will then be accompanied by the Orquesta Sinfónica de RTVE, conducted by Pablo González, and will play a major romantic or modern concerto of their choice.
The commemoration of this half-century of the establishment of the Competition will also feature exceptional performances, such as that of Josep Colom, who twice won this same competition, the inaugural in 1972 and 1978. For his recital, Colom has chosen twelve of the Études by Hélène de Montgeroult, the teacher who inaugurated the piano chair at the Paris Conservatoire.