Cor de Cambra
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.
Choir master for the Palau chamber choir, the Cor de Cambra
Júlia Sesé studied a degree in choral conducting with conductors Pierre Cao and Josep Vila i Casañas, and later received a degree in classical and contemporary singing after studying with Mireia Pintó and Xavier Mendoza at the Catalonia College of Music (ESMUC). She continued her studies with masterclasses by Michael Gläser and Jos van Veldhoven in the Netherlands (Eric Ericson Masterclass), studies in Norway with Dale Warland, in Italy with Simon Carrington, in Catalonia with Harry Christophers and in Spain with Johan Duijck.
She has conducted Cor Bruckner Barcelona since 2007 and Cor Plèiade since 2014. Under her direction, both choirs have become reference points for a cappella choral repertoire in Catalonia, especially for 20th and 21st century composers. Sesé has taught the choir course at the Reina Sofia School of Music (ESMRS) in Madrid since September 2021. She has been a member of the jury for composition competitions (La Fiesta de la Música 2018 and 2020) and choral competitions (Ejea de los Caballeros Choral Competition 2022).
From 2010 to 2022, Sesé was a singing teacher at the music school for the Societat Coral Amics de la Unió de Granollers, and taught vocal technique at VEUS-Cor Infantil Amics de la Unió, under the direction of Josep Vila Jover. She was the preparatory conductor for participatory concerts of Messiah organised by “la Caixa” Foundation in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
She was assistant conductor to Conxita Garcia for the Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu in January and February 2018. Since 2017, she has regularly worked as a preparatory/assistant conductor for the Cor de Cambra at the Palau de la Música Catalana.
Jordi Armengol i Puig
Born in Prats de Lluçanès in Barcelona province, Jordi Armengol began his piano studies with Vicenç Prunés at the Escolania de Montserrat, where he also studied the violin and organ. He then continued his piano studies with Albert Attenelle and studied chamber music with Jordi Mora at the Escola de Música de Barcelona. In 1994 he earned a diploma in Recital from the Guidhall School of Music and Drama in London and in 1996 he completed his studies at the Conservatori Professional de Música de Tarragona, earning first prize. He then moved to a Freiburg to study with Vitali Berzon. He gained outstanding results in the national competitions in Madrid, Vilafranca del Penedès, Berga and Carlet.
He has performed as a piano accompanist at the Grec Festival and Maig Coral in Barcelona, in the Cambra Coral and Concerts de Tarda series at the Palau de la Música Catalana and at the Auditori and the Liceu. He has also performed in the Josep Carreres auditorium in Vila-seca, the Enric Granados auditorium in Lleida and in Manresa, Tarragona and other towns around Catalonia. He took part in the 20th Ciclo Música y Teatro at the royal monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, in the 21st Ciclo de Música Clásica in Penyíscola and in the Cicle de Concerts dels Jardins de Can March in Mallorca. Outside Spain he has performed in France, Estonia and Guatemala.
Jordi Armengol has given concerts alongside conductors such as Jordi Casas, Mireia Barrera, Fernando Marina, Daniel Mestre, Simon Halsey, Josep Vila i Jover, Júlia Sessé, as well as with composers and conductors including Eric Whitacre, Josep Vila i Casañas, Gorka Sierra and Johan Duijck. He has played in rehearsals with conductors Salvador Brotons, Edmon Colomer, Antoni Ros Marbà, Salvador Mas, Manel Valdivieso, Josep Pons, Jesús López Cobos, Víctor Pablo, Sir Neville Marriner, Helmut Rilling, Daniel Barenboim and Jean-Christophe Spinosi, among others.
He has provided piano accompaniment for flute lessons with Magdalena Martínez and singing lessons with Meribeth Dayme, Russell Smith, Dolors Aldea, Elena Copons and Ana Luisa Chova, among other artists, in Barcelona, Terrassa and Tortosa. In addition, he has played as an accompanist at the Dénia International Music Course, at the Tarragona Music Festival and at the International Course of Historical Music Interpretation organised by “la Caixa” Foundation.
He has played piano accompaniment for oboe and bassoon lessons at the Catalonia College of Music (ESMUC), and has taught piano and chamber music at the Barcelona School of Music. As a composer, Armengol has had his work published with Boileau and has recorded an album on the choral and piano work of composer Cristòfor Taltabull, together with the Palau de la Música Catalana chamber choir, the Cor de Cambra.
He plays chamber music with a number of different ensembles, as well as accompanying recitals with singers. He has performed regularly with sopranos Elena Copons and Ulrike Haller and with baritone Josep-Ramon Olivé, with whom he has appeared on stage in numerous festivals and concert series, including the Auditori de Barcelona, La Pedrera, the Vilabertran Schubertiade, the prestigious Echo Rising Stars concert series, LIFE Victoria, the Joan Manén Catalan Music Concerts, and the Intèrprets Catalans concert series at Petit Palau. He is currently the pianist for the Cor de Cambra chamber choir at the Palau de la Música Catalana, which is directed by Xavier Puig.