Let yourself be surprised by the Palau and its nature

Joaquim Uriach, president

At the Orfeó Català-Palau de la Música Catalana Foundation, we believe that culture, and particularly music, is entertainment, but above all, an essential element for the development of individuals and society as a whole. The Palau and the Orfeó have played a fundamental role in this development since their inception, remaining true to the social spirit of Josep Anselm Clavé, a figure who presides over our stage.

The Palau de la Música Catalana is synonymous with quality and excellence. Following this path of refinement, for the 2023-24 season, we propose an attractive lineup of concerts featuring international stars, young talents, local artists, and repertoires ranging from popular pieces to contemporary compositions. The Orfeó Català and our in-house choirs, led by Pablo Larraz, will continue to be at the heart of our programming, delivering the same level of quality and taking on new challenges, such as the tour that will bring the Orfeó to Hamburg.

With this 2023-24 program, we aim to highlight how the Palau and its choirs contribute to positioning culture (especially through art and music) as a universal value and an indispensable resource for personal and societal improvement and development.

Our theme for this season revolves around the connection between humanity and nature, exploring how humans are astonished (and moved!) by the sight of an ocean, a lush garden, or "a forest with twilight light," as our Concert Hall has often been described.

In the year when we commemorate the centenary of the death of Lluís Domènech i Montaner, the creator and architect of the Palau, we invite you to be amazed and inspired by nature through the eyes of this great modernist architect while listening to the finest music performed in this magical space. In addition to the musical program, we will also feature visual and digital artists related to the theme of nature, such as Entangled Others, creators of the graphic imagery produced using artificial intelligence that adorns the catalog you have in your hands.

Finally, I want to express my gratitude for the trust and effort of all those who make the reality of the Palau de la Música Catalana and this concert season possible: the human team at the Palau and the Orfeó, house collaborators, members of the Orfeó Català, patrons, public institutions, artists, audiences, and subscribers. Thank you for being part of this project and for continuing to uphold our foundational values of excellence, participation, social commitment, Catalan identity, innovation, and sustainability.

The extraordinary experience

Joan Oller, director general

This year 2023 marks the centenary of the passing of Lluís Domènech i Montaner, the brilliant architect to whom the Orfeó Català entrusted the design and construction of the Palau de la Música Catalana. In the project, the aim was to provide the best possible conditions for the enjoyment of music while also expressing, through architecture and ornamentation, the values that music should bring to society. Among these values, primarily, are the pursuit of excellence, respect for diversity, social and cultural integration, and support for innovation. 

The Palau was conceived to accommodate concerts of various formats: piano recitals, chamber music, folk music, symphonic works, and above all, choral music. Of all these formats, the most complex yet offering the greatest expressive possibilities is the symphonic-choral format. In the season we are presenting, we will have the opportunity to listen to many of the most emblematic works in this format: Mozart's and Brahms' Requiems, Haydn's The Creation, Mendelssohn's Song of Praise, Handel's oratorios Messiah and Israel in Egypt, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (in the bicentennial of its premiere), Bach's Passions, as well as works by Catalan composers such as Pau Casals' El Pessebre and Brotons' Stabat Mater, among others.

In the same year that Domènech i Montaner passed away, two women were born who would become landmarks in the history of our Concert Hall: Victoria de los Ángeles and Alicia de Larrocha. This season, we will remember them in various tribute concerts to celebrate the centenary of their birth. The program will feature space for renowned artists as well as emerging young talents. It will encompass both well-known music and that which is yet to be discovered by most music enthusiasts. There are over a hundred concerts in total, all designed to be extraordinary experiences. Within the fantastic framework envisioned by Domènech, artists and audiences are invited to make the exceptional a regular occurrence and to enjoy unique musical experiences.

Connect with Nature, reconnect with the Palau

Mercedes Conde, artistic director

Last season, we invited reflection on the relationship between humanity and technology, and this year, we highlight the relationship between humanity and nature, which in the 21st century manifests itself in a complex manner due to the consequences brought about by technological advances promoted by humanity: climate change, deforestation, ozone layer depletion, and the depletion of natural energy sources, as well as pandemics.  

However, the fundamental relationship between humanity and nature is the one that leads humans to connect with their essence, their place in the universe, where nature is both habitat and refuge, a place where one can "reconnect" with the essential. In this context, we continue to advocate for the experience of live music because live sound is a genuine manifestation of the connection between humans and the forces of nature through sound: pure intangible energy.

This season, the presence of women is more notable than ever, reflecting current times. The guest composer of the season is Elisenda Fàbregas from Terrassa, who pursued a musical career with determination beyond our borders and is now discovered in her maturity. In the realm of concerts, three female conductors and two contemporary female composers stand out in the Palau 100 cycle, joining the already common group of artists where gender equality is a reality. Also, guest artists include Eugènia Balcells, a pioneer in video art, and the poet Laia Llobera, representing a new generation in a literary genre where it is increasingly common to find women. Joining the roster of guest artists are the studio Entangled Others and the Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo.

The upcoming season features some events of which Palau is particularly proud. This includes J. S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion conducted by Christoph Prégardien. Attention to local talent is also reinforced with the start of the artistic residency at the Palau by the Trio Fortuny and the conclusion of the Cosmos Quartet's residency, as well as the promotion of young talents with international projection such as sopranos Katharina Konradi and Sara Blanch, violinist María Dueñas, and pianists Alexandra Dovgan, Ignasi Cambra, Dmytro Choni, Jaeden Izik-Dzurko, and Anna Vinnitskaya.

We continue to perform works by composers who have been previous artists in residence, such as Jörg Widmann, Joan Magrané, Salvador Brotons, and John Adams. We also premiere new works by composers including Benet Casablancas, Albert Guinovart, Miquel Oliu, and Raquel García Tomás, among others. Additionally, we pay tribute to numerous Catalan composers from our extensive heritage.

Once again, we leave room for innovation and experimentation. This year, we venture into new genres, including American musicals, featuring classics like Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, and we also invite organist Juan de la Rubia to improvise on the video art work of Eugènia Balcells, always with artistic excellence as a premise and with the goal of attracting new and diverse audiences.

Season introduction 2