I am back at the office after an amazing concert season this year and heading deep into the summertime. This July, once the clouds are gone and the dry heat is on, we will spend most of the time with the family, working on next concert season, enjoying several outdoor concerts, thanking all the people who worked together with us on each success we had and preparing the next third edition of Pueblos Blancos Music Festival that will take place this Sept 6-9th.
It was on March, when we went on the road and since then and for four months, wehad touring over 1000 musicians throughout Spain and Portugal. We organized 85 concerts in total and some days we had three different ensembles playing on three different corners of the Iberian peninsula. Over 30,000 people attended to all our concerts and welcomed each ensemble with outstanding ovations, no matter if they were choirs, bands or symphony orchestras. No matter if they were HS music students, college or adult community choirs or wind bands.
It is impossible to thank to all the many collaborators we had, from our international partners to the local ones ( townhalls, cultural authorities, festivals, music halls, cathedrals, charity organizations, private institutions and foundations, schools and conservatories, professional musicians and ensembles, old friends and our staff, particularly to my wife Kitty who worked in the shadow and behind each scenario.
It will be also very hard to say which of the ensembles were my favourite ones as I met most of them and attendend to most of the concerts but I only spent full time touring with few. Probably this made me having strong memories of all of them and of their music. Want to give very special thanks to Ebbe Munk and the Copenhagen Royal Chapel that came at the end of April and sang beautifuly in Lisbon at the Monastery of Jeronimos, in Salamanca at the Old Cathedral, in Seville at Church of El Salvador and the final one in Malaga´s cathedral. It was the third visit of the Copenhagen Royal Chapel choir to the Iberian peninsula with us, but this tour was probably the best of all.
Under the title ” Choir Sounds of Joy and Reflexion” they presented choral masterpieces from Italy, Germany, Scandinavia and Russia, from reinassance until today. Listening O Magnum Mysterium by Morte Lauridsen, the Benedictus by Carl Nielsen or the Bogoroditse Devo by Rachmaninov brought myself and all audiences to another dimension, while Helen Davis played beautifully several harp solos.
The Phoenix Boys Choir came back to Spain and Portugal, also for their third time. Under Georg Stangelberger, the choir performed 10 concerts in 16 days, from the North of Spain to Andalusia. Special memories of the concerts in the Picos de Europa National Park at the Basilica de Covadonga, and at San Martin Pinario Monastery in Santiago de Compostela or the Monastery of Santa Clara in Coimbra. But also at the Cathedrals of Alcala de Henares and Salamanca, the sharing concerts in Madrid and Sevilla or the concerts in Ecija or Granada.
Last full tour was my with daughter Paula and Pedro Vega. We toured together with the Twickenham Winds from Huntsville, Alabama. The band members were travelling with friends and family . David and Carol Spencer falled in love with Spain few years ago while he was conducting a HS Band from Huntsville and decided to return with a band of professional musicians and friends. Performing outdoor at the main Plaza during a stormy afternoon in the mountains of Madrid was a question of faith and love for sharing music with the locals. Suddenly the sky opened and the music started. As we say here the Madonna always appears ! Taking some of the group members to listen to some guitar at the caves of Sacromonte in Granada, attending at the Maestranza Opera House in Seville to see Carmen and Victor Ullate´s Ballet, performing in Puerto de Santa Maria Theatre or opening the wind band festival in Andalusia, where some highlights that will stay in our memories forever.
Other memorable concerts were the Boston College Choir in Ecija, the MIT Concert Choir concerts in Barcelona, Valencia and the mountains of Madrid, the Villanova Singers at the Cathedral of Valencia, all the concerts of the MSU and CLU universities throughout Spain. Also the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra in Plaza Mayor in Madrid or the three concerts we presented at the Andalucia Music Festival thanks to the support and friendship of Vicente Coves and the European Guitar Foundation. Also the concert of MSU at the opening day of the Festival de Ubeda inside the old church of San Lorenzo and the day before were we moved in 24 hours inside an old cloister and chapel in Alcala La Real where the international congress of synestesia just finished……
Special thanks for all audiences, many of them who had been following our concerts over the years. Also to the different churches and catholic communities, priests and bishops and charity of organizations as Caritas.
And of couse, cannot forget our staff, from my wife Kitty and my daughter, to Carlos Muiña, Aurora, Pedro Vega, Cesar Higueras, Violeta, Caroline, Luis el Cubano,Don Francisco, Juan Jose Davalillo, Pedro Alburquerque, Luis Fernandes, Jorge, Jose, Isaac, Lazaro, Toñin, Goyo, Jose Manuel, Don Francisco, Maria Diversity, Maxi Santos, Pedro Ordoñez, Fernando Motas, Diego Martinez, Paco Toro, Juan Angel de Ubeda, Fredi Anfirock, Fran Muñoz (Sevilla)…. and many other friends Gracias !!!!
Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir
Under the Patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Denmark
Ebbe Munk, Director / Helen Davies, harpist
Portugal & Spain April-May , 2018
Under the title of Choir Sounds of Joy and Reflexion, the Copenhagen Royal Chapel came this April to Lisbon and Spain and offered concerts on Wednesday April 25 at the Church of the Monastery of San Jeronimo in Lisbon, on April 28 at the Catedral Vieja de Salamanca, on April 30 at the Iglesia del Salvador in Seville and a final concert at the Catedral de Malaga on May 2nd.
The CRCC performed in front of over 2,400 people on their Iberian tour and shared the beautiful voices in front of warm audiences.
Under the leadership of Ebbe Munk and with the harpist Helen Davies they played the following program:
“Choir Sounds of Joy and Reflexion”
Palle Mikkelborg Noon of Night / Dear God, Be Good to Me
Morten Lauridsen O Magnum Mysterium
HARP SOLO Stephen Henriksen The Meadown
REFLEXIONS ON THE VIGIL
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina Sicut cervus & Sitivit anima mea
Sven-David Sandström Sicut cervus& Sitivit anima mea
HARP SOLO Adolf Sjöden Elegie
LIGHT AND JOY
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Jauchzet dem Hern, alle Welt, Psalm 100
Carl Nielsen Benedictus ( from 3 motets op. 55)
HARP SOLO Rhian Samuel Ymhell y mor ( Far across the sea)
PRAYERS AT THE END OF THE DAY
Carl Nielsen Teach Me, Star of the Night
Sergei Rachmaninoff Bogoroditse Devo/ Ave Maria
Palle Mikkelborg A Simple Prayer: Oh Divine Master
More about the CRCC
Among some of the oldest European musical traditions are the Cathedral choirs and their choir schools. The Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir is the only representative of this tradition in Scandinavia.
Founded in 1924 by Mogens Wöldike the choir developed into a full-time institution with the boys receiving their general education alongside a full musical and vocal training at SANKT ANNAE GYMNASIUM, the Copenhagen Municipal Choir School. Since 1959 the choir has been resident at Copenhagen Cathedral and performs, as part of their duties, at state functions and during royal visits abroad. A main part of the choir´s activities are concerts in leading concert halls, cathedrals and at festivals all over the world.
In 2000 the CRCC was awarded the prestigious Eugene Mortimer Choir Prize by the Europeran Cultural Foundation Pro Europa, and from the 2002 the choir has been appointed Ambassadeurs de lÚnion by Le Féderation Européene des Choeurs de lÚnion in Brussels. In 2003 the choir was honoured in Paris by lÍnstitut de France-Académie des Beaux-Arts with the Prix Chant choral Liliane Bettencourt.
The CRCC regularly works with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and has released numerous recordings. There is a continued collaboration with the Tivoli Symphony Orchestra/Copenhagen Phil, with the ensembles of the Danish Broadcasting Company and with regional orchesttras in Denmark, and a close co-operation with the Royal Opera House in Copenhagen has also been established in recent years. The recording of Buxtehude´s Cantatas received the Danish Music Awards “Choral release of the year” in 2002. In 2018 the choir releases its latest recording including Palestrina´s Marcellus Mass and Sicut Cervus, and a new setting of Sicut Cervus by Sven-David Sandström.
From 2000 the CRCC has performed in such various places as New Zealand (Wellington Cathedral), New York (Saint Thomas, 5th Ave)Beijing (National Centre of Performing Arts), Shangai ( Oriental Art Space)Milano (Teatro alla Scala), Berlin ( Berliner Dom), Paris(Notre Dame) and Oxford (Sheldonian Theatre)
Her Majesty the Queen of Denmark has presented CRCC and Ebbe Munk with the PRO EUROPA prize (2002) on behalf of the European Foundation for Culture….. to honour the high quality and outstanding achievement of its choral singing and its artistic contribution to culture dialogue in the world.
Ebbe Munk was in 1991 appointed both as precentor in the Copenhagen Cathedral and artistic director and conductor of the CRCC for which he was fourth in succession after Mogens Wöldike, Niels Moller and Per Enevold.
Ebbe Munk´s name has been closely associated with the price winning chamber choir VOX DANICA, which was known especially for the performance of new Nordic music. From 1982 to 1991 he was the director of SANKT ANNAE YOUTH CHOIR, which under his leadership developed into one of the major youth choirs in Europe.
With the CRCC and as a choir instructor, Ebbe Munk has given masterclasses, participated in choral festivals and served on international competition juries in places such as Princeton University, Festival des Cathedrales de Picardie, the National Conservatory of Music and the Opera House in Hanoi and Nordklang in Finland.
One of the most marked features of Ebbe Munk´s tenure with the choir has been the development of the performance of early music, which began as collaboration between CRCC and Concerto Copenhagen, as well as with special ensembles from abroad, notable the Duffay Collective in London.
IN 2000 Ebbe Munk established a collaboration between the cathedral choir masters in Helsinki, Turku, Uppsala, Trondheim, Oslo and Copenhagen and this has been extended to include illustrious choral institutions such as Escolania de Montserrat, King´s College Cambridge and New College Oxford.
Since 2002 Ebbe Munk has been artistic counsellor of the Federation des Choeurs de l´Union I Bruxeles and in 2008 he succeeded Sir David Willcocks at the Big Sing and Teapot Summer School in New Zealand. IN 2003 together with the CRCC he has honoured with the Prix Chant choral Liliane Bettencourt by l´Institut de France-Academie des Beaux-Arts(Paris) for which he in 2008 was appointed member of the prize jury.
In 2000 Her Majesty the Queen of Denmark honored Ebbe Munk with a knighthood ( Knight of the Order of Dannebrog) and in 2015 he was elevated to Knight of the First Rank of the Order of Dannebrog.
Helen Davies career as a harpist is diverse and eclectic. Her wide ranging musical life has seen her combine a distinguished orchestral career in Ireland and Scandinavia with scholarly research in 18th and 19th century harp music, arranging and performing Irish traditional harp music and the harp music of her native Wales, and , since 1989, working in the field of contemporary electronic improvided music with her husband, trumpet player and composer Palle Mikkelborg, with whom she has performed worldwide. She has also worked closely with the CRCC and has toured extensively with them.
Helen studied harp in her native Wales with Ann Griffiths and studied music in Birmingham University (UK). During her time in Ireland, Helen taught both classical and Irish harp at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and established a diploma course for Irish harp. She has published several books of harp music and is currently involved in researching forgotten harp virtuosi from 18th and 19th century Scandinavia. Helen has been featured on numerous recordings and her 2 solo CD have both been awarded nominated.
We are proud to announce that this Spring season 2018 we will have some of the most prestige children´s choirs touring in Spain and Portugal. Early next week we have the visit of the Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir under the direction of Ebbe Munk and with the harp of Helen Davis Mikkelborg will be singing at the Church of the Monastery of San Jeronimo next Wednesday April 25 at 17 h their first concert before continue towards Salamanca´s Catedral Vieja ( Old Cathedral) where they will sing on Saturday 28 at 20.30 h. The third concert will take place at the Iglesia Colegial del Divino salvador on Monday April 30 at 21 h and the final concert at Malaga Cathedral on Tuesday May 2nd at 21 h. All concerts will be admission free and limited seats. They will continue then to the United Kingdom where they will sing with the King´s College Choir before ending their European tour. This will be the third time they toured with us and we cold only say that the past tours they received the best reviews and were acclaimed by large audiences so we do hope this one will be outstanding. The program under the title of Choir Sounds of Joy and reflexion ( Cantos de Alegria y Reflexion ) will include the works of known composers as Felix Mendelsshon, G.P Palestrina and scandinavian composers as Sven David Sandström, Palle Mikkelborg and Carl Nielsen and a the beautiful piece for harp , Ave Maria by Sergej Rachmaninov.
Always proud to welcome again to an old friend, Georg Stangelberger conducting the Phoenix Boys Choir and the Men´s Choir. It was almost “yesterday” when he came with his choir to Spain almost 15 years ago and since then they falled in love with the venues and audiences. On their past second tour , few years ago they sang almost 17 concerts in 20 days across the Iberian peninsula including both countries and the area of Lisbon. This early June they will start touring across the Northern Spain, probably the richest area in Spain about choral music tradition with churches and monasteries along the coast that were following the old pilgrimage roads to Santiago. From mystical Galicia they will drive towards Porto and Coimbra where they will sing before entering in Salamanca and then Madrid and Andalusia. We will keep you update the during the next days. George Stangelberger conducted the Viena Boys Choir before he moved with his family to Phoenix (Arizona, USA) where he had been teaching and trainning the children´s voices for over a decade building what is consider among the best Children´s Choirs in North America. The Phoneix Boys Choir will be singing in Gijon(June1st), Santiago de Compostela( June 3rd), Porto ( June 4th), Coimbra ( June6-7 TBC), Salamanca(June 8th), Alcala de Henares ( June 9th), Madrid( June 10th) Sevilla( June13th)Jaén(June15) and the final concert in Malaga (June16).
The last Children Choir this season in Spain is the New York Children Chorus that will be on tour at the end of June and will sing in Valencia, Granada and Madrid between June 23-28. Directed under Mary Wannamaker Huff will sing an excellent repertorie from the classics (Mendelsshon, Schubert) to contemporary (Bernstein, Copland, Gershwin), but also African American Spirituals and Traditional American choral music as well. For any updates of these choral concerts and fresh daily information about our season, we suggest to follow and visit our FB page
It has been a while since we started organizing concerts and events in Spain for musical ensembles and always choosing the right venues where we could get the warmest and larger audiences and the best possible acoustic conditions was a big task for me.
We worked with many calendars over the years, where Mondays were always Mondays, when suddenly Real Madrid was playing the European championship the same day and hour that we booked a venue at a bullring for a wind ensemble, or when inside a medieval church in Old Castile just before rehearsing and sound checking with a choir, we had to wait until the funeral mass or wedding was over to start the concert if we wanted to guarantee an audience,…. We use to work every year on over 70 concerts per season, plus our Pueblos Blancos Music festival and our Castile International Choral Festival.
We will be glad to speak with you and discuss about the alternative venues and festivals we can offer to you for your concert tour to Spain and Portugal anytime.
Spain and Portugal are located inside the Iberian peninsula, at the end of the end of the known world and are among the oldest countries in Europe with amazing venues for both vocal and instrumental ensembles.
Choral groups have the privilege to sing inside ancient temples from the Roman times such as beautiful basilicas, Visigoth and Romanesque Churches or Gothic Cathedrals, where the sound of their voices and its music will be on the air …….
For instrumental ensembles, we can offer a excellent selection of venues, both indoor and outdoor. Symphony Halls, Modern Auditoriums , Classical Style Theatres or Conservatory Halls are some of the best examples all over Spain. During summer, most of the cultural activities are outdoor, and your orchestra or wind ensemble will be able to perform in beautiful plazas or corners in the medieval squares in front of incredible audiences and as part of some of the best music festivals in Europe as Granada , Segovia or Santander.
Once we are in mid July and after a break before start working on next year season, it is time to look back to the past months of May and June as one of the most productive concert seasons we did organize over the past years. 26 concerts happened in two weeks. From choral to jazz, from wind to symphony. Over 10,000 audience welcomed their concerts. Music spread from Lisbon to Barcelona, from Bilbao to Puerto de Santa Maria, from Salamanca to Ubeda, from Valencia to Reus all over the Iberian peninsula.
The WUC performed in Barcelona, Montserrat, Bilbao, Salamanca, Madrid and Alcala de Henares, while the LCCB played in Madrid , Valencia, Puerto de Santa Maria and Ubeda, while the UCBSO played in Ubeda, Granada, Valencia and Reus and while the different ensembles of the Pacific University performed in Setubal, Lisbon, Madrid, Valencia, Castelldefells and Barcelona.
There were some special days for us, as Saturday 27 May, as when the choir were singing in Bilbao under the direction of Mark A. Hafso works of Palestrina , Victoria, Tichelli, David Brunner or Randall Stroop ; at the Festival Internacional de Musica de Ubeda, the UCBSO were playing works of Debussy, Cindy Cox, Amadeus Regucera and Berlioz, and in Cullera, a town near Valencia that has one of the oldest and better Sociedades Musicales, the Luther College Concert Band under Joan de Alburquerque, were playing with the Youth Wind Band works of Rossano Galante, Andre Waignen, Bach , Turrin or Bernstein.
On Tuesday 30, while the choir were singing at the Catedral de Salamanca, the UCBSO were playing at the Palau de la Musica de Valencia and amazing concert in front of 1000 warming audience, where they played three encores.
The day after, was the Atlantic Day, where two of the Pacific ensembles combined two programs of jazz and symphonic music at the main venue in Setubal, the Forum Luisa Todi in front of +500 people. At the same time in Puerto de Santa Maria (Cadiz) the LCCB where playing in front of 700 people who enjoyed each piece and clapped standing up on “flamenco” rhytms.
Thursday June 1st was another big day with four concerts at the time. While the WUC were singing at the Catedral de Alcala near Madrid, the UCBSO were playing south of Barcelona, the LCCB were playing at the Festival de Ubeda and the Pacifc Jazz ensemble were playing on top of the city of Lisbon.
Two days after the Pacific arrived into Madrid where both the wind and the symphony played in the bullring on a small town near Madrid while Real Madrid soccer team where playing the European championship vs Juventus Milano. After Real Madrid victory the Jazz Ensemble played at the main Plaza almost after midnight!!
While most of the bands were flying back home the Pacific continued from Madrid to Valencia and Barcelona where they finished their tour with open air concerts near Barcelona and a final symphonic concert at one of the nicest gothic churches in Barcelona.
Now, it is time to rest and charge the batteries for the coming season, but also to meet early September with over 20 different bands of jazz, blues and rock coming from Texas to take part on the second Pueblos Blancos Music Festival.
Want to thank to all musicians, audiences, local sponsors and partners who helped us on this wonderful adventure of music throughout the years and specially during the 2017 season.
We hope to work together in the near future and wish you all a nice summertime!