Classical music in Cartagena
Every January the old walled city of Cartagena plays host to the ‘Cartagena International Music Festival’, which takes full advantage of the rich cultural history of the city and the stunning variety of performance venues to bring classical music to South America. The festival is now in its thirteenth year and is attracting orchestras, performers and audiences from around the world. The combination of historic churches and plazas, good weather, high quality performances and other attractions of Cartagena combined with excellent hotels and a vibrant gastronomic scene make this one of the most alluring classical music events in the world.
It is perhaps the venues which make this festival so unique. Top of the list is the Teatro Adolfo Mejía with its glorious painted ceiling by Enrique Grau, one of Colombia’s most renowned artists and dating from 1911, constructed behind a classical façade. At the other end of the scale is the open-air concert in the Plaza de San Pedro Claver, in front of the church of the same name dating from 1654. Some of the late evening concerts here are free. By way of a modern twist, concerts are also held in the massive loading dock in the modern Port of Cartagena.
The organisers of the concerts often seek out innovative orchestras such as ‘Les Siécles’ from France and the ‘Orpheus Chamber Orchestra’ from New York. Closer to home, stand out artists from Latin America have included the Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire, Venezuelan violinist Alexis Cárdenas and the Mexican ensemble ‘Cuarteto Latinoamericano’.
Each year the music is selected according to a theme; in the past these have been ‘The Classic Style’ and ‘Symbol and Sound’. In 2019, the theme will be around a connection between music and the scientific world. The program has yet to be put together but expect to hear Dowland’s What poor astronomers they are! Over the course of the nine days there will be around 40 concerts featuring 250 musicians and broadcast on 9 TV channels. There will also be workshops, master classes, art exhibitions and a specialist workshop open to everyone on the making of traditional Caribbean instruments.
The Cartagena International Music Festival is designed for international visitor and specialist packages ban be arranged to combine hotel accommodation, tickets and also historical tours and museum visits unconnected with the festival itself.
Please contact us for further details, including the musical program when it becomes available.