19 events this week
Quote of the Week
“A festival is a unique occasion for meeting different people and different cultures. Together with artists who are real masters of communication through art, a festival is a strong builder of bridges between different cultures - and even between civilizations."
Ján Figel’, former European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture, and Youth
60th edition of Santander International Festival draws to a close
Santander, Friday, 26-08-2011
The programme of the 60th Santander International Festival was composed of an intense schedule of summer events that try to elicit the historical weight of the European tradition with future cross-cultural appeal looming in the new Europe. From 1 to 26 August, audiences could enjoy over sixty artistic proposals at the Festival Palace of Cantabria and in other historic settings. The Santander Festival confirms its important position in Spain’s and Europe’s cultural life: with its diverse programme including grand concert versions of operas; ballet; theatre productions; recitals and chamber music concerts; as well as exhibitions and discussion rounds, the festival – as in previous years – strikes a balance between the most traditional shows and the most avant-garde and innovative styles.
On 6 August, a debate entitled “ENCOUNTER” took place at the Palacio de Festivales. Participants included José Luis Ocejo, Director Festival Internacional de Santander and Vice President European Festivals Association; Kathrin Deventer, Secretary General European Festivals Association; Tomás Marco, composer and music critic; José Antonio Echenique, former Director Quincena Musical de San Sebastián; and Enrique Gámez, Director Festival Internacional de Música y Danza de Granada. The encounter was moderated by musician and writer Luciano González Sarmiento.
Participants discussed the social and cultural importance of festivals in Europe. “Europe – and European identity: what is this Europe? If Europe means something, Michael Zeeman once said, it has a cultural significance: artists, arts crafts, our common heritage, our linguistic diversity, our values, norms and understanding of society are the basis of European continental cooperation,” Kathrin Deventer underlined.
In her speech, Kathrin Deventer introduced EFA, its history and the role of the Santander Festival within the Association: “The Santander Festival has been living this belief for 60 years, building Europe – a citizens’ Europe – every day that it invites its artists to perform and its audiences to perceive the artistic diversity in Europe!”
The Santander Festival has been a member of the European Festivals Association since 1956. The 1950ies represented years of a destroyed Europe; they were characterised by a great need of reconciliation, re-connectivity, re-invention of an internal and international cultural landscape. At that time festivals were born all over Europe, independently from each other but out of the same urgency, such as the Avignon Festival (founded 1947); Edinburgh International Festival (1947); Berliner Festspiele (1951); Santander Festival, Granada Festival, and Festival Ljubljana (all 1952) and Bergen International Festival (1953), to name but a few.
Since its foundation in 1952, EFA has grown into a dynamic network of the most outstanding music, dance and theatre festivals in Europe and beyond – thanks also to the important contribution by festivals such as the Santander Festival. Since years, José Luis Ocejo has been member of the Board of the European Festivals Association; in 2011, he was elected Vice President of EFA. Furthermore, the Santander Festival is one of the co-founders of FestClassica, the first network of music festivals in Spain, and is now investing in building bridges in particular with South America.
Congratulating the jubilee Deventer said: “The Santander International Festival and the Granada Festival are two of the oldest festivals in Spain. Every year, the Santander Festival offers an original programme inviting international artists and productions that allow a deep insight into our diversity of cultures and backgrounds.”
Today, 26 August 2011, the closing concert of the Santander International Festival is expected to be a “very interesting finale” to this 60th edition, the festival’s Director José Luis Ocejo said. It offers an “immensely strong and expressive” version of pieces by Russian composers such as Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev, performed by the Symphony Orchestra of New Russia and Maestro Yuri Bashmet.