The exhibition “Pau Casals Orchestra 100 Years. Musical Excellence and Social Commitment,” is on view.

24-Nov-2020 – Aleix Palau

From the 24th November 2020 until the 18th July, Barcelona and Vendrell are hosting the exhibition “Paul Casals Orchestra 100 Years. Musical Excellence and Social Commitment” within the framework of commemorative events for Pau Casals Orchestra 100 years, 1920-2020. The exhibition, which is a collaboration between Fundació Pau Casals and the Museu de la Música de Barcelona, has a two-part museology: at the Museu de la Música de Barcelona from the 24th November, the exhibition is dedicated to the history of the Orchestra, and from the 1st of December, the Museu Pau Casals del Vendrell, focuses on Casals as a conductor.

The objective of the exhibition is to reveal the history the Paul Casals Orchestra and recognize the Maestro as one of the best orchestral conductors of the 20th century. With this in mind, there are several personal objects on show, which belonged to Pau Casals, such as his conducting tailcoat and baton and original documentation which has been preserved in the Pau Casals Collection of the Fundació Pau Casals, held in the Catalan National Archive, as well as collections from the Biblioteca de Catalunya, the CEDOC, (Documentation Centre of the Orfeó Català), the historic archives of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, ThePhotographic Archive of Barcelona, amongst others, which reflect the intensity of activity which the orchestra has enjoyed during its years of existence.

Apart from concert programmes and posters, other original documents are on show, such as musical scores from the orchestra collection, payrolls of the musicians, receipts of donations that Pau Casals made to the orchestra, or the original of the proposal presented to the Board of the Música de Catalunya for the Pau Casals Orchestra to become the Orquestra Nacional de Catalunya, among others. In order to curate the exhibition, other documentation was consulted that is conserved in the Historic Archives of the Whole of Catalunya, the collection of the Museu de la Música and other private collections, such as that of the Vicenç Company family, violinist from the Pau Casals Orchestra. Furthermore, from January, the Llanterna de L’Auditori de Barcelona will host the open air show “Músics”, focused on members of the Pau Casals Orchestra.

The exhibition was commissioned by Núria Ballester, director of the Museu Pau Casals, along with an advisory committee of the director of the Museu de la Música, Jaume Ayats, the musicologist Bernard Meillat and the director of the Fundació Pau Casals, Jordi Pardo, and has had the support of the Department of Culture, of the Generalitat of Catalunya, the Provincial Council of Tarragona, the City Council of Vendrell and Acción Cultural Española.

The Pau Casals Orchestra, social commitment to music
On the 13th October 1920, the Pau Casals Orchestra premiered in public at the Palau de la Música Catalana. The orchestra was a success, which, thanks to the tenacity and personal sacrifice made by Casals, was able to perform more than 360 concerts, provide excellent symphonic training and a give a regular season of performances.

In this sense, the starting point of the exhibition is the Museu de la Música de Barcelona, where the history of the orchestra is explained from its creation in 1920, until its termination, at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, which destroyed the symphonic scene in Barcelona in the 1940s, passing through the Republican era, when the figure of Pau Casals and his orchestra received great recognition. The exhibition explains and shows how the orchestra functioned, the repertoire, composers, soloists, invited conductors, the careers of musicians who were trained in the orchestra and their strong social commitment, reflected in the creation of the project the l’Associació Obrera de Concerts. (The Workers Concert Association)

Pau Casals, International Conductor
Continuing the story, the Museu Pau Casals del Vendrell shows the concerts that the Pau Casals Orchestra performed all over the country: Reus, Girona, Granollers, Vilanova i la Geltrú, Terrassa, Sabadell and Lleida amongst others. The exhibition highlights the homage the orchestral musicians played to Pau Casals in 1927, organizing a concert in his home town.

The final part of the exhibition recognizes the figure of Pau Casals as an international orchestral conductor, especially after World War II, when from his exile, Casals regularly returned to conduct at the Prada Festival (1950-1966), the Festival of Puerto Rico (1957-1973), the Marlboro Festival (1960-1973) and from 1962, conducting his own oratorio El Pessebre all around the world, with a personal crusade for peace and fraternity between people.

Buy tickets
The exhibition opened the 24th November in the Museu de la Música and the 1st of December in the Museu Pau Casals del Vendrell, with one admission fee, for both museums. When admission for one of the museums is acquired, the same entry is also valid for entry to the exhibition in the other museum. Admissions can be acquired via the museums’ web pages or at the museums’ ticket offices.


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