Musical and educational programmes
In 2018, Fundación Banco Santander signed an agreement with Fundación Albéniz to renew the partnership that has united the two institutions for the last twenty-seven years.
Fundación Banco Santander Piano Chair
Since it was created in 1991, the Fundación Banco Santander Piano Chair at the Reina Sofía School of Music, directed by lecturers Dimitri Bashkirov and Galina Eguiarazova, has trained more than one hundred students from 35 different countries, who also receive master classes from guest lecturers. In the 2017/2018 academic year, these master classes were taught by pianists Jerome Rose and Menahem Pressler.
Fundación Banco Santander organises four concerts every year for group employees and their families featuring the orchestras of the Reina Sofía School of Music. In 2018, 3,980 people attended the concerts held at the El Solaruco Auditorium in Grupo Santander City.
Concerts for Schoolchildren
The two foundations co-organise Concerts for Schoolchildren, events held by the Reina Sofía School of Music at the National Music Auditorium in Madrid to make classical music more accessible to kids. In 2018, 101 schools and more than 4,400 pupils participated in these educational concerts.
The foundation supports the Santander Music and Academy Encounter, where young musicians receive master classes from leading names in the music world and perform with them in approximately fifty concerts throughout Cantabria. In 2018, Fundación Banco Santander sponsored the concerts held on 11 and 21 July at Argenta Hall in the Cantabria Palace of Festivals.
Paloma O’Shea Santander International Piano Competition
Fundación Banco Santander sponsors one of the final concerts of the Santander International Piano Competition, an award designed to help young pianists launch their professional careers. In 2018 it sponsored the second final concert of the competition’s 19th edition, held on 4 August, featuring performances by the three runners-up and the RTVE Orchestra under the baton of Miguel Ángel Gómez Martínez.
Finally, the foundation sponsors Magister Musicae, a website created in 2004 that contains a catalogue of musical learning, with over 3,000 hours of classes taught by renowned international musicians. The website has been implemented in seven Latin American countries to date: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela.
Francesco Ruggieri Cello
In 2004, Fundación Banco Santander offered musician Asier Polo the use of its 17th-century Ruggieri cello. Lending string instruments of great historical and musical value to prominent musicians is quite common in countries with a rich musical culture, but it had never been done before in Spain.
Thanks to these temporary loans, the value of the instruments increases and the institutions that own them become patrons of the arts, supporting performers who bring joy to thousands of music lovers round the world.
Asier Polo, considered one of the finest cellists of his generation, teaches at the Music School of the Basque Country and is the artistic director of the Music and Performing Arts Department at Alfonso X El Sabio University and of Forum Musikae.
The cello was made in 1689 by Francesco Ruggieri, one of the greatest luthiers of the prestigious Cremona school, which turned out fine instruments fashioned from the best woods and famed for the beauty of their sound.
Ruggieri imitated the construction model of his master Nicolò Amati, making the body slightly larger and the f-holes shorter and wider. In addition to its beauty and the quality of its materials, this instrument is valuable because it pre-dates the modern cello, whose proportions were established by Stradivari around the year 1700.
Teatro Real in Madrid
Fundación Banco Santander is one of the principal sponsors of the musical season of the Teatro Real in Madrid and of the special events organised in 2016–2018 to mark the theatre’s bicentenary.
The 2018 opera programme began with La Bohème by Puccini and Dead Man Walking by Jake Heggie. It continued with the world premiere at Teatros del Canal of El pintor, with music by Juan José Colomer and libretto by Albert Boadella, and a new production of Kurt Weill’s Street Scene. To celebrate its 200th anniversary, the theatre gave a performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s classic opera Aida, resurrecting part of the 1998 stage production.
The season also included bold productions of Die Soldaten, the only opera composed by Bernd Alois Zimmermann, and Only the Sound Remains by Kaija Saariaho, inspired by Japanese noh theatre. Other classic repertory works, such as Händel’s Ariodante, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and Puccini’s Turandot, rounded out the 2018 programme.
The dance season featured four choreographies by the Dresden Frankfurt Dance Company, the debut at the Teatro Real of the Ballet am Rhein Düsseldorf Duisberg with Ein deutsches Requiem, a performance inspired by the eponymous Brahms work, and new stagings of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, performed by The Royal Ballet and the Spanish National Dance Company, respectively.
Gran Teatre del Liceu
2018 Opera for All Performances
The foundation sponsors the "opera for all" season performances at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, special budget-priced sessions that give everyone a chance to see the splendid opera productions which have made the Liceu an international benchmark. The alternative cast also makes them an excellent learning experience and promotional opportunity for young talents.
The 2018 “opera for all” performances featured the following works: L’elisir d’amore by Gaetano Donizetti, Roméo et Juliette by Charles Gounod, Andrea Chénier by Umberto Giordano, Ariodante by Georg Friedrich Händel, Manon Lescaut by Giacomo Puccini, and La Favorita by Gaetano Donizetti.
Fundación Banco Santander supports the Orfeó Català Choir School, an educational, artistic and social project that provides musical training for over 200 children and youth between the ages of 6 and 24.
In 2018 the Cor Jove premiered A. Guinovart’s Requiem with the Orquestra Simfònica de les Illes Balears in Palma, Girona and Barcelona and performed in Bryn Terfel’s recital with the Orquesta Gulbenkian Lisboa. The choir also gave two concerts with the Orfeó Català and the Palau’s Cor de Cambra: a choral repertoire conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, and Harmonium by John Adams with the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya.
The Cor de Noies presented Ressons de l’antiga Europa with Vespres d’Arnadí in the Orfeó Català Choral Concerts and two concerts at the 8th Early Music Festival of the Pyrenees.
The Cor Infantil sang the cantata El concert desconcertant by A. Ros Marbà with the Orfeoi Txiki of Orfeón Donostiarra and the Orquestra del Conservatori del Liceu. With the same orchestra, the Cor Mitjans performed the cantata El cavaller i el drac by J. J. Llongueres, accompanied by the Mozart, Corelli and Petits Cantors Amics de la Unió children’s choirs.
The choir school’s five ensembles made their first appearance at the Grec Festival in Barcelona, along with the Orfeó Català, the Juvenil and Novaura choirs of Clavé XXI and the Jove Orquestra Nacional de Catalunya, performing the premier in Spain of Jonathan Dove’s participatory opera The Monster in the Maze. Additionally, they participated in the Saint Stephen’s Day concert, with the Orfeó Català and the Palau’s Cor de Cambra, on 26 December at the Palau de la Música Catalana.
The foundation supports the Orfeón Donostiarra, considered one of the most important amateur choral ensembles in Europe.
In 2018 the Orfeón gave eight concerts in different European cities: in Rotterdam and Brussels, it began a tour with the Rotterdam Philharmonic (Mahler’s Symphony no. 8); in Toulouse it gave two concerts with the Orchestre national du Capitole (Verdi’s Requiem); it participated in the Carcassonne Festival with the same orchestra (Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana); in Innsbruck it performed at the Music in the Alps Festival (again Carmina Burana); and in Munich it sang with the city’s Philharmonic (Mahler’s Symphony no. 8).
The choir also participated in the Great Spring Concerts series at the Zaragoza Auditorium and gave four concerts at the National Auditorium in Madrid. Additionally, the Orfeón took part in the most important local music events, including the San Sebastián Musical Fortnight, where it performed two pieces; Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes de Confessore with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, conducted by Ivan Fischer; and Berlioz’s Requiem with the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Jukka- Pekka Saraste.
Santander International Festival
Fundación Banco Santander supports the Santander International Festival by sponsoring the Great Concerts series. This festival, one of the oldest in Spain, is a highlight of the annual cultural calendar in Cantabria.
At the 67th festival, the foundation sponsored the concert held on 14 August in Argenta Hall at the Santander Palace of Festivals, where Sir Simon Rattle conducted the London Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony no. 9.
The presence of Maestro Rattle was particularly significant, as his decision to take the helm of the London Symphony Orchestra at the beginning of the season, after sixteen years conducting the Berlin Philharmonic, constituted one of the most important events in the international music community.
Aranjuez Early Music Festival
In 2018, Fundación Banco Santander signed an agreement to sponsor the 25th Aranjuez Early Music Festival, organised since 1994 by the Regional Government of Madrid in collaboration with Madrid City Council and the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.
The festival’s primary goal is to recover our musical heritage by finding lost scores and librettos in European archives and reintroducing audiences to pieces commissioned by royal patrons from the most important composers of the past.
This year’s edition was dedicated to Farinelli, the stage name of the Italian castrato Carlo Broschi (Andria, 1705–Bologna, 1782), who moved to Madrid in 1737 at the request of Queen Elisabeth Farnese to treat King Philip V’s melancholia with music therapy. At Aranjuez, Farinelli put on lavish musical performances that were admired by every European court. His influence even extended to the layout, architecture and design of the grounds at the Royal Site of Aranjuez.