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The Focus-Abengoa Foundation begins its 2009 music program with the Master Concert series

February 3, 2009

The Focus-Abengoa Foundation presents its music program for 2009 today, which as in previous years, is based on the extraordinary organ of the Chapel of the Hospital de los Venerables. The musical activities will begin this evening with the first master concert, by Martín Haselböck, and will end on Saturday 30 May, with a concert/mass coinciding with the festival of San Fernando.

Over the next four months, the Focus-Abengoa Foundation will host a wide variety of musical activities aimed at instilling youngsters with the importance of a good musical education as a key element in the dissemination of cultural values. Other activities will also be celebrated aimed at the general public, in order to promote and publicise an interest and love of music, an essential part of our culture, by means of master classes and concerts.

The free monthly classes given by qualified organ teachers, which are designed for students in obligatory secondary education in schools and institutes from the city and province of Seville, aim to enlighten students about the organ and the way it works.

This year, the organ master course will focus on contemporary music and its future at the start of the 21st century. The course will be given by Thierry Escaich, who trained in the purest traditions of the French organ in the 20th century, but who is also a composer and an acknowledged expert on contemporary music.

As in other editions, the traditional organ concert with orchestra will take place in May, at which José Enrique Ayarra, titular organist of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation and Seville cathedral, will play with the Chamber Orchestra of the Royal Symphony Orchestra of Seville (ROSS). The musical program for this new series will conclude in May with a mass/concert given by Father Ayarra, coinciding with the celebration of San Fernando, the patron saint of Seville.

Series of Master Concerts

This year's series of Master Concerts is entitled "The organ: a melting pot of schools and eras, composers and performers". It seeks to delve into the diversity of the music that characterises the different schools and eras; a diversity that is explained by the organ's versatility as a musical instrument, which, compared to other instruments, allows the likes and dislikes of each era and geographical region to be expressed. More than 50 outstanding organists have graced the Hospital de los Venerables over the 18 years of this initiative, to offer the best of their art under perfect technical and artistic conditions.

This year the Focus-Abengoa Foundation has three exceptional organists for this great event: Michel Bouvard, organist at the church of Saint Serin in Toulouse, France, and organ teacher at the Paris Conservatoire; Thierry Escaich, organist at the church of Saint Etienne-du-Mont in Paris and improvisation teacher at the Paris Conservatoire, and Martín Haselböck, orchestra director and titular organist at the Chapel of the Imperial Palace in Vienna.

The setting

The organ of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation, made by the German Gerhard Grenzing in 1991, is one of the best organs built in the Europe in the 20th century. It is located in a church which, in addition to being one of the most emblematic churches of Baroque Seville, boasts perfect acoustics for music providing a sharp and quality listening experience.

Thanks to a giant screen installed in the Chapel of the Hospital de los Venerables, the public can see the organist at work and follow the concert in detail, holding their interest for the whole of the work.

The performers

Martín Haselblöck

Orchestra director, solo organist and titular organist of the Chapel of the Imperial Palace of Vienna. He studied in Vienna and Paris and has received numerous awards. In 1985 he became the musical director of the Wiener Akademie, where he directed the majority of Mozart's operas. His specialisation led him into the world of classical music and operatic literature. He has also conducted the classics such as Bach, Haydn and Schubert, for which he has received many awards, and he has made numerous recordings throughout his career.

Thierry Escaich

Organist at the church of Saint Etienne-du-Mont in Paris and improvisation teacher at the Paris Conservatoire, France. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire during which time he received eight first prizes. As a composer he has an important reputation for contemporary musical creation. His orchestral works feature in the repertoires of orchestras throughout Europe. His international career as a performer has led to him to become an ambassador of the great French organ school of improvisation, demonstrated by his numerous recordings and the prizes that he has received for them.

Michel Bouvard

Organist at the church of Saint Serin in Toulouse, France, and organ teacher at the Paris Conservatoire. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire after his organist and composer grandfather, Jean Bouvard, passed his passion for music and a love of this instrument onto him. His career started with first prize at the International Competition of Toulouse. He is currently known around the world as one of the most outstanding French organists. He travels throughout Europe as a concert performer and teacher and gives weekly classes that attract students from around the world to Paris.

Useful information on the Master Concert series.

Location: Church of the Hospital de los Venerables. C/ Jamerdana s/n.

Time: 8.30 pm.

Price: General, 12 Euros.

Reduced, 2.40 Euros

(over 65s, pensioners and students with accreditation).

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