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Orfeó Català (Choir)

Founded: 1891 - Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

The Orfeó Català is a symphonic choir. Its concert performance work alternates a vocal-orchestral repertoire with programmes of choral music, giving a major place to Catalan traditional and classical music. One of the country’s top amateur choirs, it was founded in 1891 by Lluís Millet and Amadeu Vives to disseminate a Catalan and world choral repertoire and hone the artistic excellence of its performances. These values have marked its career up to the present day. It has as its home at the Palau de la Música Catalana, built between 1905 and 1908 and listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The high level of vocal and musical training of its members - who, while not professionals, study singing - make the Orfeó Català an ideal instrument for the performance of the choral literature composed from the 18th century to the present day. The high artistic quality of the choir allows it to cooperate regularly with the top Catalan and Spanish orchestras, and also with a range of orchestral ensembles from Europe and other parts of the world, with whom it goes on concert tours.

Throughout its history the Orfeó has performed the most outstanding works in the choral repertoire and starred in premieres in this country of works like J.S. Bach's Mass in B minor (BWV 232) and The Seasons by Haydn. It has been conducted by leading figures on the international scene including R. Strauss, Camille Saint-Saëns, Pablo Casals, Zubin Mehta, Frans Brüggen, M. Rostropovich, C. Dutoit, Lorin Maazel, G. Dudamel and Daniel Barenboim, among others. Since 1998 Josep Vila i Casañas has been its director.

In June 2013 the Orfeó Català Performed Arnold Schoenberg's Gurrelieder at Vienna’s Konzerthaus, alongside the Wiener Singakademie and conducted by Kent Nagano, and on July 1, 2013, it performed Gabriel Fauré's Requiem with the Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Sir Simon Rattle at the Palau de la Música Catalana. In February 2014 the Orfeó gave a concert at the Gulbenkian in Lisbon on the occasion of its reopening, and in January 2015 it performed at the Palau de la Música Catalana alongside the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar de Venezuela, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel and debuted last July under the direction of Daniel Barenboim with the Staatskapelle Berlin to interpret Verdi's Quattro Pezzi Sacri at Palau 100.

The latest international presence of Orfeó Català was in April 2015 concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London performing with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Choir, directed by Tomáš Netopil to play the Glagolitic Mass by Leoš Janáňek. London also performed solo at a concert of choral music at Cadogan Hall, under the Choral Festival at Cadogan!

"A great choir. An exceptional model of voluntary artistic work. An expression of solidarity. A group of singers chosen for the quality of their voices. A declaration of love for choral music. One of the greatest symbols of Catalan culture. A tireless drive for progress. The builder of the Palau de la Música Catalana... The Orfeó Català is all this and more." Josep Vila, conductor of the Orfeó Català

Source: Orfeó Català Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (December 2015)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Jordi Casas Bayer


BWV 40, BWV 230

Links to other Sites

Orfeó Català (Official Website) [Catalan/Spanish/Englih]


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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 16:20