Festival de Granada, Spain. The Festival Internacional de Música y Danza de Granada is one of the most prestigious musical events in Spain.
The city of Granada is home to rich cultural heritage and a great variety of scenic attractions: the historic Albaicín district and its narrow winding roads which still display Moorish flavor of the Nasrid dynasty, the Jewish quarter and its unique atmosphere, the Alhambra and the gardens and palaces of the Generalife, the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range and ski station, one of Europe’s most prestigious and historic universities, wonderful cooking traditions including tapas…
During the month of June, the city hosts one of Spain’s most prestigious annual musical events: the Festival Internacional de Música y Danza de Granada (FIMDG). This year it is scheduled to take place between June 20th and July 11th.
Symphony concerts have been held in the Palace of Carlos the 5th (located within the grounds of the Alhambra) since 1883, a tradition that may be considered the early roots of today’s FIMDG.
In 1922, the composer Manuel de Falla and the poet Federico García Lorca organized a Cante Jondo Flamenco singing competition in the open space in front of the Palace of Carlos the 5th. In its first year, the competition attracted the presence of celebrated figures from Spanish culture such as the guitar player András Segovia, the ideologist Fernando de los Ríos, the musician Joaquín Turina, the painters Ignacio Zuloaga, Manuel Ángeles Ortiz, and Santiago Rusiñol.
The event’s inspired musical performances backdropped by Granada’s stunning Alhambra fortress lead the city’s General Director of Fine Arts, Antonio Gallego Burín, to establish the first year of the FIMDG festival in 1952. In the words of Gallego Burín, the event aspired to “include the future participation of the world’s top musical organizations […] we also plan to include, as part of the event’s mission to promote the musical arts, research and special courses on Hispanic music; may this first festival represent the beginning of a Spanish institution with universal resonance".
Gallego Burín’s ambitious words proved to be quite accurate. The FIMDG has spread beyond the Alhambra’s walls to churches and public spaces around the city and in areas such as the Albaicín and the Sacromonte. During these three weeks, the entire city seems to revolve around this festival.
While the FIMDG features celebrated artists (Herbert von Karajan, Daniel Barenbiom, Rudof Nureyev), it has also served as a spring board for budding artists. The now-famous soprano Teresa Berganza and the pianist Joaquín Achúcarro both got their starts here.
As predicted by Gallego Burín, the FIMDG has celebrated each year the Manuel de Falla International Courses, in which students can receive musical instruction, throughout the duration of the festival, from some of music’s most prestigious maestros.
In 2003, the FEX emerged within the inspirational atmosphere of the FIMDG as a perhaps more free-spirited parallel festival for younger crowds. The FEX is free of charge and it is celebrated in practically the entire city; in small squares, on balconies, at intersections, etc.
For those of you who love facts and statistics, suffice it to say that last year’s festival received a total of 60,000 people (including the FEX). 111 activities were celebrated and 97% of the event’s maximum capacity was met –a resounding a success.
Festival concerts are broadcast each year by RNE’s Radio Clásica and by cable TV stations such as MEZZO.
For more information on tickets and other program information, just go to the festival’s excellent website.
We’ll see you in Granada between June and July!