The Pollensa Festival’s artistic director, Joan Valent, is a musician, so it’s no surprise that this new edition of the Festival, much like the Festival has done from its beginning, focuses on Music. Music, with a capital M, music as a celebration, music as an excuse for lovers of culture, art and coexistence to gather together every year in the Cloister of Santo Domingo.
American music of the twentieth century, Gershwin and Bernstein, is the star of our first concerts. The Symphony Orchestra of the Balearic Islands, our local orchestra, is led by the great Spanish director, Ángel Gil-Ordóñez, who is a well-renowned conductor in the United States where he currently lives, accompanies one of the best-known international pianists, Michel Camilo. What a privilege to hear the Rhapsody in Blue from this combination of artists!
Also from the United States is the Kronos Quartet. It’s impossible to understand the current appreciate from contemporary musical creativity without the work of this quartet. A Kronos concert is always an experience of discovery of new composers and new music as well as an excellent opportunity to enjoy a masterful performance.
The twentieth century music is well represented too with three young performers, two of which are locals from Majorca, with their performance of Stockhausen's music. Mantra, a fusion of piano and electronics, is available to the public of Pollensa for them to judge the validity of this music and find where this music fits in the repertoire of each listener.
Mendelssohn and Romanticism are knocking on our door with two exceptional performances. The soloists of the Czech Philharmonic, with Central European tradition and feeling, accompany emerging Spanish performer, Judith Jáuregui, with a very unusual combination: piano and strings, harmonized and flowing in a unique way. Daniel Hope, a great friend of the Festival, also brings us his latest creative platform, the Chamber Orchestra of Zurich, perfection and strength, performing Mendelssohn as well, along with Bach, Grieg and Elgar, collaborating with one of Pollensa’s local talents, Sebastian Knauer.
If the essence of the Mediterranean were music, undoubtedly Naples and Baroque would be at the heart of it, and no one represents Naples like Antonio Florio. The voice of Valentina Varriale and interpretation of the Cappella Neapolitana led by Antonio Florio (formerly Cappella della Pietà de’ Turchini) make it clear that the Mediterranean unites, and does not divide, and that, throughout history, Majorca and Naples have been closer culturally than they are geographically.
The icing on the cake of this year’s program is something for the kids, our future audience. From the Teaching Office of the L’Auditori of Barcelona, comes Ma, me, mi ... Mozart!, a fun show for the whole family that will put a contemporary twist on Mozart’s music.
The musical banquet is served. We have put our heart and soul into preparing it, and we have already begun to plan next year’s festival, which we hope will be even better!
Joan Valent (Palma, 1964), is a Mallorcan composer. He studied cello, piano, musical analysis, composition and conducting, in Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona and Los Angeles.
In 1987, he performed his first work Mort a la paraula for piano, violin, clarinet and mezzo-soprano. In Barcelona, he continued his studies with composers Carles Guinovart, Joan and David Padrós Guinjoan. He attended classes in composition, musical analysis, orchestration and instrumentation, as well as studies in cello, piano and conducting. In this period, he premiered Proporcions Litogràfiques (String Quartet), Peça per (Orchestra), Wind Dancers (Orchestra), String Quartets 1 and 2 (String Quartet), Lacrimae (duet cellos), Kose (Solo Cello), among others.
Soon after, he moved to Los Angeles (California), where he taught classical composition courses, film scoring and conducting at the University of Los Angeles (UCLA), under the tutelage of composer Aurelio de la Vega, professor of composition at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). During his stay, he received various commissions from various orchestras and chamber groups.
In 1993, he started performing his works around the world. That same year, he was commissioned by Michael Douglas to create and perform Fugir del segle (TVE). During this period performed works such as Passio et Mors (orchestra), Quartets 3, 4, 5º (String Quartet), Metallum Ballenae (Six percussionist symphonic) Neptú i l’infant no nat (Solo Percussion + electronics), Fugir del segle (Soprano, narrator and orchestra), Deposits (Four Quartets + electronics), and Desideratum (String Orchestra).
He also began his collaboration as a symphonic composer and arranger with artists from other genres: Luis Eduardo Aute, Luz Casal, Pedro Guerra, Amancio Prada, José Antonio Ramos, Tam Tam Go, Stephan Micus, Bunbury, Malcolm Scarpa, Pablo Guerrero, The Panchos, Suso Saiz, Maria del Mar Bonet, Montserrat Caballé and Joan Manuel Serrat. During this period, he produced works such as Hastula Regia (vocals, percussion and strings), In Memoriam (Steel Drum + string), Europe (Solo violin), String Islands (String Orchestra), Sarrià (Voice + string), L’Evangeli Segons un de tants (orchestra + chorus + solo), Mort d’un poeta (Cello Concerto), Homes, Cavalls I Bous (Percussion Vocal + cord), Concerto for timple and orchestra (soloist Timple + Orchestra), and Suite Mararía (Orchestra).
In 1996, he settled in Madrid. Orders come from different orchestras in the world, and founded the group Ars Ensemble, with whom he recorded the live album Ars (Iberautor). He started writing music for cinema productions such as Super agents in Mallorca, Delusions of Love, The Conductor, Mararía, Arian’s Journey, Maribel Marry Me, Too Love, and Killer housewives.
After the Ars Album release (December 2000), he was regularly nominated for The Music Awards (in the category of new music), and participating in various National and International Festivals: Week Author (Madrid), New Music at the City Museum (Madrid), Midem (Cannes, France), New Music Festival (Burgos), La Mar de Músicas (Cartagena), International Festival of Rimini (Italy), Festival of Castles (Teruel), II International Jazz Festival (Galapagar-Madrid) Mercat de Música Viva de Vic (Barcelona), Valencia, León, Murcia...
In June 2001, musician David Byrne included in his tour of Spain and Portugal his string sextet Ars Ensemble.
As arranger and composer, he recorded Ars Ensemble’s latest album Maria del Mar Bonet: Raixa (World Muxxic), in addition to recording five concerts (from 25 to 30 July 2001 in the Plaza del Rei de Barcelona). This project won him the award for Best Folk Album and Best Album in Catalan, as well as a nomination for Best Arranger in the Sixth Edition of the Music Awards (May 2002). On 30 April 2002 he went on to record Ensems his new album (World Muxxic). He also published in Belgium, where he participated in the 27th edition of the prestigious Festival Sfinks and the Netherlands.
Since 2002, has made several releases of symphonic music, choral and instrumental, including four CD productions with Montserrat Caballé (two of these albums, won a Grammy Award).
At the same time, he continued creating different soundtracks for movies like: Pablo G. del Amo, El viatge vertical, La bicicleta, La Caixa, Serrallonga, El cònsol de Sodoma... He also published a DVD of his violin concerto Les Quatre estacions a Mallorca, a CD with works for violin, piano and electronics, Insula Poètica, a musical creation for the ballet Voleu for the company Fullaraca Dansa, Carmen, ballet for the company of Sara Baras, and many other recording and production for different arrangements of pop, classical and flamenco.
His projects during 2010 included the following: How much does your building weigh, Mr. Foster? (Documentary), La Riera (Serie TV3), Cántame (RTVE Musical), and Un Baccio a Roma (Documentary).
He was appointed Artistic Director of Pollensa Festival in 2012. He started a comprehensive project of changing its goals and content and expanding traditional activities, and mixing musical concerts with other disciplines such as literature, cinema or visual arts. In this new context, leading figures in contemporary artistic creation such as Michael Nyman, Donna Leon, The World Orchestra, among others, are invited to the Festival. As part of the opening of the Festival, his Foster Symphony world premier will be held.
His work as a composer of symphonic music and a film industry composer has taken Joan Valent to international premiers throughout the world. He has received the Platino Award, the Fénix Award and the Gaudí Award, and was nominated for a Goya Award.
He has lived in Mexico City since 2013 and works in Los Angeles, California composing music for films by directors such as González Iñárritu and Sean Penn.Referring to Valent’s work as director of the Pollensa Festival, Daniel Hope said: “Many great artists have left an indelible mark on the Pollensa Festival, which makes it one of the most attractive and dynamic in the whole world.”
The Festival of Pollença was founded in 1962 at the initiative of the distinguished English violinist Philip Newman.
Over the past 53 years in a row and under the direction of major figures including violinists Philip Newman and Eugen Prokop, baritone Joan Pons and now composer Joan Valent, it has cemented its international renown and become a classic date on the summer calendar both for residents and people who visit us and wish to enjoy music in all its aspects and expressions.
It has traditionally been held on July and August evenings in the cloister of Santo Domingo convent and boasts an immaculate and exacting programme enhanced by the exceptional and much-praised acoustics.
Since 2012, under the direction of renowned Majorcan composer Joan Valent, the Festival, staying true to its tradition, has allowed audiences to enjoy the widest range of musical expressions (well-loved classical pieces, contemporary music and traditional examples from little-known places) together with other artistic expressions such as literature and film.
Nearly 800 leading artists have performed at the Festival over the years, with nationalities and styles as diverse as the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra (today the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra), the French National Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich, Lorin Maazel, Mischa Maisky, Ara Malikian, Maria João Pires, Montserrat Caballé, Ainhoa Arteta, José Mercé, Ravi Shankar, Goran Bregović, Miguel Poveda, Roger Hodgson, Sven Helbig, Michael Nyman (who composed a work on commission which premiered at the Festival), Fazil Say, Ute Lemper, Daniel Hope, Estrella Morente … and many other figures of exceptional importance.