The University Orfeó of València presents the programme for its 75 anniversary at the Main Hall of the Universitat.

  • Fundació General UV
  • May 12nd, 2022

The University Orfeó of València has presented this Wednesday 11 of May the programming of activities that will commemorate the 75 anniversary of the oldest choral formation of Spain in an act celebrated at the Main Hall of the historical building of the Universitat. The event was presided by the rector, Maria Vicenta Mestre.

Accompanied by the president of the Orfeó, Pedro Díez, and its musical director, Francesc Valldecabres, the rector said: “It is a pleasure to participate in this act that celebrates the anniversary of a cultural association that has left a mark not only in the Valencian Community, but also internationally”.

During the years of the pandemic we were part of an international project called BeethOUVen 9 “a great digital challenge with the participation of more than 150 musicians from all over the world (Spain, Philippines, U.S.A, Canada, Germany, France, Belgium, Lithuania, Poland, Holland, Colombia, Italy, England and Cuba)”, Pedro Díez explained. The interpreted music in the audio-visual production projected during the act at the Main Hall “is a reduction of the last movement of the Symphony No. 9 by Beethoven, a song to joy in the agitated times of the pandemic”.

Pedro Díez also referred to the 75 anniversary celebration as a “answer to the musical concerns of the chorists, without forgetting that music can become the best way to change our society.” In this sense, he highlighted the social aspect of musical formation that “has allowed us to obtain the consideration of Association of Public Utility; a recognition, without a doubt, of the activity carried out in the long history of the Orfeó and which make us feel proud”.

Commemorative activities

This social character is also reflected in the programme of activities presented by Francesc Valldecabres, divided into three different but related aspects: musical, educational and social. Regarding the musical aspect, it stands out the collaboration of prestigious soloists and groups, such as the British vocal group Orlando Consort; the counter tenors Carlos Mena and Gabriel Díaz; the soprano Pilar Moral; the mezzo-soprano Marina Rodríguez-Cusí; the baroque music group Música Trobada; the Banda Simfònica Municipal de Castelló and the dance company Marea Danza, among others.

The organization of the first edition of “Cercant. Specialization and Repertoire Course for singers” directed by the choir singer Ana Luisa Chova, full professor of Singing at the Conservatorio Superior de Música of València is the epicentre of the formative aspect. This course is aimed at students of higher conservatories of music and professionals who already finished their studies. It has a high quality teaching staff with Gabriel Díaz, Carlos Mena, Ana Luisa Chova, Marina Rodríguez-Cusí, Angus Smith (Orlando Consort), Montserrat Palacios and Miquel Ramón. The course, which began on 26 March, will be held at the Palau de la Música de València until 11 June.

And on the social aspect, the University Orfeó of València, will invite all the orfeonistes who have been part of it throughout its 75 years of life to perform “Carmina Burana” by Carl Orff. This known piece was released in Spain by the Orfeó in 1960 with a good reception by the critics of the moment.

As a culmination of the celebration of their 75 anniversary, the Orfeó will offer the main concert of the commemoration on 25 November at the Cathedral of Valencia, with the interpretation of pieces by the Valencian composer Amparo Edo (a premiere commissioned by Orfeó for its 75 anniversary), Arvo Paart, Ola Gjeilo, Peteris Vasks and Samul Barber. This concert also will pay tribute to the healthcare workers and will be in memory to the victims of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“For us is a gift to celebrate 75 years of uninterrupted trajectory at a time when we feel that musical project of Orfeó is enjoying great vitality. The efforts from recent years towards the artistic quality of the group and the recent development of multidisciplinary projects have brought a great richness to the group that allows it to face great musical challenges in the future” Valldecabres pointed out.

“The most emblematic and historical room”

The rector of the Universitat de València, Maria Vicenta Mestre, closed the interventions standing out, in first place, the space that hosted the event, the Main Hall, “the most emblematic and historical room of the heritage that the Universitat de València treasures and which hosts the most solemn events of university life”.

“For me is a privilege to preside over this act that highlights a cultural asset such as the University Orfeó, responding to the cultural mission of this academic institution and showing its fundamental role in the Valencian society”, she said.

In her speech the rector pointed out the importance of the intervention of the Orfeó in the different academic acts and how their music, a universal language, can create “a magical atmosphere that move the public to the point of abstracting them from the present”. “The celebration of this anniversary points out the value of what the association has achieved, and all that it means, and it dies so after two very difficult years of the pandemic, which did not stop the Orfeó or its music”, she insisted and addressing the audience she said: “It is a privilege and an honour to greet you today and tell you how important you are for our university, a dean, historical formation that make us feel proud and that makes us happy when it performs”.

At the end of her speech the rector, Pedro Díez and Francesc Valldecabres presented the 75 anniversary poster, with a new image, which they gave to the University, and which was collected by Maria Vicenta Mestre after receiving the scholarship from the group.

The Orfeó then presented the 75 anniversary pin to the former rector Francisco Tomás, who was present in the act, which was also attended by the councillor of Cultural Action of the Valencian Local Government, Maite Ibáñez; Marta Alonso, member of the Consell Valencià de Cultura; and the manager of the General Foundation of the Universitat de València, Cristobal Suria; as well as teaching staff, students, friends of the Orfeó, and members of the university community.

A bit of history

The University Orfeó of València is the oldest university choir of Spain and one of the main driving forces of the Valencian Culture. This year it celebrates 75 years of history revitalising the Valencian musical world with quality and commitment. Since its creation in 1947 has been made up of students, teachers and graduates associated with the Universitat de València, which gives the project a marked educational character. More than 3,000 people have past through its ranks, forming a large choral family that extends throughout the Valencian territory, but also at a national and international level. It is in the university environment where the Orfeó stands out as an entity of reference, which is why the university community is fundamental in this 75 anniversary.

Lately, the Orfeó has created a whole network of educational and social projects withe the collaboration of different institutions, which complete the educational aspect. This will link this training with other artistic modalities through initiatives such as the Residències Project which brings sound and graphic creators into contact with each other to build new interdisciplinary spaces. On 2022, the choir will feature the designer Marta Negre and the sound artist Montserrat Palacios.

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