La Rioja Festival returns with ten concerts/experiences, activities and the Sin Fronteras social project

Above, the Orfeón Donostiarra. Below, the soprano Raquel Lojendio and Alberto Sáez-Puente. / LR

The initiative led by Pablo Sainz-Villegas will be held from May 5 to 14

Estíbaliz Espinosa

La Rioja Festival, a project that the renowned guitarist from La Rioja
Pablo Sainz-Villegas launched last year, returns next May with a new edition full of classical music and experiences. It will be a more international event and with a new motto, ‘Camino’, which invites the public “to be a pilgrim of our land, to walk La Rioja, to discover the ancient history of the Camino de Santiago, the origin of the Spanish language in San Millán, the spirit of its people…”, Sáinz-Villegas himself pointed out this Monday during the presentation of the event.

The festival will last from May 5 to 14 in different stages of our community and its musical line-up includes groups and artists of the stature of the Orfeón Donostiarra or the Quiroga Quartet; the flutist André Cebrián, the soprano Raquel Lojendio, the pianists Carlos Apellániz and Martín García García or Pablo Sáinz-Villegas himself, among others. All his concerts are linked to parallel experiences, which the spectator will be able to live and enjoy both in Logroño and in Arnedo, Alfaro, Briones, Casalarreina, Ezcaray, Nájera, San Millán and the Würth Museum in Agoncillo.

In addition to the ten concerts (and many other experiences) programmed, there are masterclasses and conferences that the invited artists will give at the Logroño and Calahorra conservatories, as well as talks at the University of La Rioja and at the Santos Ochoa bookstore. And it is that –as its artistic director insists– «La Rioja Festival is more than a classical music festival, it is a festival that combines tourism, heritage, gastronomy, wine, culture… it unites La Rioja, and all through our concerts, experiences, classes, conferences and our social educational project Without Borders».

This ambitious initiative has the support of the Government of La Rioja and a wide list of sponsors and collaborators, many of whom met in the Riojafórum lobby to see first-hand the content of this second edition.

From the lectern, Pablo Sáinz-Villegas and the Minister of Finance and Public Administration, Celso González, insisted on the purpose of promoting La Rioja as a national and international destination for quality cultural tourism through classical music.

Quiroga Quartet.

Pablo Sáinz-Villegas & Friends gives the title to the inaugural concert, on May 5 in Riojafórum, in which the guitarist from La Rioja will share the stage with other artists from the festival and local formations. Thus, together with André Cebrián (flute) he will interpret pieces by Piazzolla; Spanish songs by Falla with soprano Raquel Lojendio; the Boccherini String Quintet with Rioja Filarmonía, and a small plectrum ensemble with La Orden de la Terraza.

A day later, in Ezcaray, André Cebrián offers the program ‘Aires gitanos’, while in the Casalarreina monastery the soprano Raquel Lojendio proposes a journey through the Spanish voice repertoire.

Camino Real and by the Würth

On Sunday, May 7, the walk along the Camino Real that connects Badarán and San Millán is recovered, and which last year was carried out by some 300 people. The journey ends in Yuso, with a mass and concert by the organist Alberto Sáez Puente.

Miguel Borrego (violin) and Carlos Apellániz (piano) celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of Pablo Picasso at the Würth, with an experience concert that includes works by duo and solo, and which they will perform in the different rooms of the museum during the artistic visit. The appointment, May 10.

And on the 11th, the Quiroga Quartet (National Music Award 2018) will be at the Briones with pieces by Handel and Brams. Boleros is the program offered by the Trío Arbós, together with the singer Sandra Carrasco, on the 12th in Arnedo and whose parallel experience will take the public to the cave of the Hundred Pillars.

On Saturday May 13, after a tourist visit to Alfaro, the Bessel Brass quintet will perform works by Piazzolla, Bach and Falla in the town square. And in the afternoon, a family experience will take children and young people to discover Logroño from the Santos Ochoa bookstore to Riojafórum, where the Orfeón Donostiarra closes the day with Basque songs, zarzuelas and habaneras.

La Rioja Festival closes on the 14th with the recent winner of the International Chopin Piano Competition, the Asturian Martín García García. His repertoire, with themes by Franz Liszt and Schuman, will sound in the interior cloister of Santa María La Real de Nájera.

Pablo Sáinz-Villegas and Celso González presented the festival. / JOHN MARIN

Presentation at Fitur and twinning with the Sonoma wine region, in the United States

«To democratize and bring classical music closer to the people of La Rioja and visitors. Decentralize music by taking it throughout the Riojan geography. Promote La Rioja as a national and international destination for cultural tourism”. Such are the main objectives of La Rioja Festival, in the words of its artistic director. Pablo Sáinz-Villegas also insists on the commitment of this festival as a claim for international tourism. “This year we presented ourselves for the first time at Fitur, one more leap to the internationalization of the region.”

More news? «For the first time we will have specialized agencies, both in Spain and in the US and Mexico, which will organize group trips to La Rioja during the two weekends of the festival». These tours debut with a group of 15 influential people from the Sonoma (California) wine region, who will live an exclusive experience in our community, in contact with their Michelin chefs, with private visits to monuments and, of course, with classical music. . “It is a group of leaders in culture, wine and gastronomy that will open the door to Americans who want to get to know La Rioja”, explains Sáinz-Villegas.

The echoes of La Rioja Festival will also reach seven Latin American countries with the broadcast of its opening and closing concerts.

On the other hand, La Rioja Festival will allocate the profits from ticket sales to finance an ambitious social project of musical activities throughout the school year in La Rioja. This is Sin Fronteras, the legacy of the social project that Pablo Sáinz-Villegas has been developing internationally for decades and that has brought music closer to more than 45,000 children and young people.

This social project will materialize, throughout 2023, in concerts and educational activities in schools in La Rioja, visits by artists to educational centers and associations, musical surprises such as ‘Serenade to your values’ and the cycle of Conservatories in Nursing Homes.

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La Rioja Festival returns with ten concerts/experiences, activities and the Sin Fronteras social project