Jordi Savall reopens the Cycle of Historical Music

Starting next January 26 and until June 14, the Ciudad de León Auditorium will host the XVIII Cycle of Historical Music of León, program co-produced between the National Center for Musical Diffusion (CNDM) and the León City Council. This cycle brings together some of the most important names in Spanish historical musical performance over ten concerts that will be held at the City of León Auditorium.

In addition to the concerts that make up the cycle, the tenth edition of the University Extension Course organized jointly with the University of León and the IX International Baroque Vocal Interpretation Course, directed by Eduardo López Banzo. These activities deepen the CNDM’s double commitment to promote and recover ancient musical heritage –articulated through extensive programming in 29 Spanish cities of 12 autonomous communities–, and to support young Spanish singers and musicians at the beginning of their careers.

The programing

From January 26 to June 14, 2021, you will be able to enjoy ten proposals in León that constitute an exciting journey through the best historical music by the most relevant interpreters and groups in this field, both from our country and abroad. All the concerts of the cycle are held at the Ciudad de León Auditorium and are scheduled at 7:30 p.m.

The opening date will arrive on January 26 from the hand of the musical director and violagambista Jordi Savall, who together with two of his closest collaborators, Andrew Lawrence-King (Italian baroque triple harp) and Xavier Diaz-Latorre (theorbo and guitar) will offer, under the name of Hesperion XXI, ‘Musical Europe. From Renaissance to Baroque ‘, a concert in which a journey through European music between the 16th and 18th centuries is proposed. Divided into seven ‘sections’, the program is dedicated to composers from different countries and themes: Diego Ortiz and Gaspar Sanz (Spain), Tobias Hvme (England), Emilio de Cavalieri (Italy), Johann Sebastian Bach (Germany), Marin Marais (France), among others.

After this start, the Auditorium will host the Italian team on February 9 Byzantine Academy, directed by Ottavio Dantone and with Alessandro Tampieri as a soloist on both violin and viola d’amore. This group, which has achieved great success due to the rigor of its performances and its participation in the most important European festivals, will tackle a series of scores for strings by the “king of the violin concerto”, Antonio Vivaldi. These compositions will be joined by others by two Venetian musicians, Giovanni Benedetto Platti and Benedetto Marcello.

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Then, The Tempest, considered by specialized critics as one of the most relevant Spanish ensembles in the performance of early music, with Silvia Marquez Chulilla the harpsichord and the direction, and with the voice of the soprano Eugenia Boix, They will offer a concert of double historical importance, since, on the one hand, there will be the premiere in concert of two works by Domenico Scarlatti, Sonata in G minor and Sonata in C minor and, on the other, two works recovered by the settled Italian composer will be premiered in Spain Domenico Porretti. This appointment will be on February 19.

Under the direction of the prestigious Eduardo López Banzo, the concert will take place on March 3, in which the voices of the four singers selected in the VIII Baroque Vocal Interpretation Course organized by the CNDM will be heard at the León Auditorium in 2019: Beatriz Arenas (soprano), White Elm (countertenor), Alberto Ballesta (tenor) and Daniel Munoz (baritone). Together they will give life to musical pages by George Frideric Haendel, Antonio Vivaldi, Antonio de Literes and a selection of pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach.

The flamenco group The gardellino, led by the oboist Marcel Ponseele, a collaborator of some of the great European baroque ensembles of the last forty years, will offer an overview of the music created for the Dresden Court, one of the most influential and prestigious centers of the entire 18th century. In this fifth concert of the cycle, to be held on March 10, some of the most exquisite pieces by composers and instrumentalists who worked at this Court will resonate, such as Johann David Heinichen, Johann Adolph Hasse, Johann Friedrich Fasch, Jan Dismas Zelenka, Georg Philipp Telemann or Johann Georg Pisendel.

On March 26, the young Madrid team Apotheosis will present ‘A tribute to tears’, a chamber music monograph dedicated to Haendel, a composer best known for his great lyrical and choral creations, but who did not stop cultivating chamber music throughout his life. It was precisely Handel’s interpretations that have earned this group the highest prizes in various European competitions, becoming one of the most sought-after groups specialized in ancient music in our country.

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After the halfway point of the cycle, on April 13, The Various Affections, group led by Nacho Rodriguez and dedicated to the interpretation and study of the polyphonic repertoire of the Renaissance and early Baroque, he will face one of the great challenges of any polyphonic group in the world: to interpret the sublime Officium defunctorum by Tomás Luis de Victoria, a six-part work composed in 1603 a the death of the Empress María de Austria, who lived in retirement in the convent of the Descalzas Reales in Madrid, where Victoria served as her personal chaplain.

The retreat, a group created and directed by the cellist from Bilbao Josetxu Obregon, specialized in the interpretation and rediscovery of baroque, classical and early romantic repertoire, will present on April 28 a concert dedicated to the profane cantatas of Alessandro Scarlatti. Accompanied by the voices of the soprano Alicia love and the mezzo-soprano Giuseppina Bridelli, this renowned group will unveil and premiere in modern times three pieces recovered by the Italian composer.

On May 18, Giovanni Antonini, together with his training The Harmonic Garden, will propose the program ‘Music and emigrant musicians in Europe of the Renaissance and the first Baroque’, an exciting musical journey in which the public will be able to know, among others, the music of the Bassano, a Venetian saga of manufacturers and virtuosos of instruments wind, some of whose members emigrated at the beginning of the 16th century to England, where they joined the Court of Henry VIII and formed a famous flute consort.

As a finishing touch to this eighteenth edition of the León Historical Music Cycle, the Baroque Orchestra of the University of Salamanca, with Pedro Gandía Martin to the violin and the direction and the soprano Saskia Salembier, will perform an exquisite selection of music by Jean Baptiste Lully, Marc-Antoine Charpentier and Jean-Philippe Rameau, in a program that reflects all the brilliance of the Baroque of the neighboring country. This closing concert will take place on June 14.

Parallel activities

From February 19 to April 28, 2021, the Multipurpose Hall of the City of León Auditorium will host the tenth University Extension Course promoted by the University of León and the CNDM with the support of the City Council of the Leonese capital. The objective is to introduce the higher student body, and the rest of those interested, the value of the Spanish heritage legacy, mainly musical, but also artistic, in its constant interrelations and contacts. This initiative continues the collaboration created ten years ago between the three institutions involved. The course is divided into theoretical parts to which the concerts of the CNDM cycle are added as musical examples of what has been discussed. Registration for this course and complete information will be available soon on the University of León websites.

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On the other hand, Eduardo López Banzo will give the IX International Course of Baroque Vocal Interpretation from March 4 to 7, 2021, at the Ciudad de León Auditorium. The success of previous editions is reflected in the selection of 32 young singers (17 sopranos, 1 mezzo-soprano, 5 baritones, 4 tenors and 5 countertenors) whose careers have been boosted, after passing through this specialized course, to become part of casts of international baroque productions. Information and registration for this course will be available on the CNDM website,

Due to capacity limitations, this year tickets will not be sold for this new edition of the León Historical Music Cycle, there will only be sale of single tickets. However, season 19/20 season ticket holders will have priority to renew their season tickets when 100% of the venue’s capacity can be re-sold in future seasons.

The sale of tickets will be carried out in a staggered manner during the fifteen days prior to each concert on the online sales channel and at the Auditorium box office two hours before each concert (only in the case of that the seats have not been exhausted in the online sales period). The tickets will be priced at € 12 (under 26s will enjoy a 40% discount on the general ticket price, with tickets for all concerts at € 7.2). The price of the extraordinary concert on March 3 will cost € 6 (€ 3 for those under 26 years old).


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