1st United Orchestras Festival

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    The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – The University of Costa Rica Symphony Orchestra is one of the nine groups that will participate in the 1st United Orchestras festival.

    Ten orchestras will bring together more than 800 musicians, who will give evidence of the growth and diversity of symphonic orchestra music in Costa Rica during the Festival of United Orchestras organized by the National Music Centre (NMC). This series of events will start on July 16th and will finish on July 23rd.

    Young and adult musicians from various institutions will participate in the event. Some of them are the Children’s Orchestra and Intermediate Orchestra from the Music National Institute, the Manuel Maria Gutierrez´s Orchestra and Isidro Fernandez Mora´s of the National Music Education (SINEM), as well as the Castella Conservatory Orchestra. Some others are Heredia´s Municipal Symphony Orchestra, Cartago Municipal Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Americas.

    Interestingly, Mr. Guillermo Madriz -CNM director- emphasized that “it is necessary to have a special concert hall for orchestral concerts” in Costa Rica. For instance, the Manuel Maria Gutierrez Orchestra has 150 members, and the National Theatre needs improvements to meet the acoustic requirements of groups of that size.

    Madriz said that in the future they plan to bring prestigious orchestras such as the Simón Bolívar´s Orchestra of Venezuela, the Berlin´s or Cleveland´s Orchestras.

    The festival will be a great opportunity for Costa Ricans ” to understand the great value of orchestras in the social, human and professional development.”


    It is noteworthy that two or three decades ago people only knew about the Juvenile Symphony Orchestra (JSO) or the National Symphony Orchestra. But this Festival involves nine, each of which has its own profile and seeks different objectives. SINEM, for example, develops projects that are focused on the social and educational impact of music on various communities instead of fostering the professional development of musicians.

    On the other hand, Miguel Peña, director of SINEM, said that Manuel Maria Gutierrez´s Symphony Orchestra is proud of the fact that most of its members are between 14 and 20 years of age and were selected during an audition process.

    This particular Orchestra plays music of the universal repertory of classical works. In this opportunity it will interpret the V Symphony of Dimitri Shostakovich. In regards to the background of its members, some of them are from rural areas and most of them support their families economically in spite of being high school students. However, they “practice music as not only a recreational but also educational activity.”

    The Heredia Municipal Symphony presents another facet of orchestral development, as it has several decades of work focused on the execution of Costa Rican and Latin American works and composers. Actually, it is about to publish its third album, which will be called “Breaking Molds “.

    Its director, Eddie Mora, said that “there is a growing musical development in Costa Rica”, since in the 80s it was hard to imagine that the country would have the amount of musicians that Costa Rica has nowadays, who allow the emergence of great Symphony Orchestras like the ones we have today.

    He pointed out that the symphonic development has two objectives: the first one is to familiarize young people and communities with classical music and instruments such as violins, basses and bassoons. The second objective is of professional nature. In other words, to enhance the musical abilities of musicians.

    Mora added that “we need a second professional orchestra”-in addition to the National Symphony Orchestra- which “ truthfully reflects the needs of the country´s population.”

    He also stressed the importance of SINEM projects and of working with “young professional musicians” of the Heredia Symphony Orchestra, which seeks to “break the vicious circle of offering people only what they already know.”

    Similarly, the director of the School of Music (EAM) at the University of Costa Rica (UCR), Manuel Matarrita, described the UCR Symphony Orchestra as a semi-professional project, in the sense that it is made up of students, teachers and professional musicians. However, he explained that it is necessary “to understand well the concept of professionalization” because beyond financial remuneration, it has to do with the technical quality of the interpretations.
    In the case of the NSO, “we aim at a quality level, thus, we are in a continuous process of improvement, were advanced students and teachers work together. The idea is to have a high level orchestra”.

    Eight Symphonic Days

    Below there is a summary of the program for the 1st United Orchestras Festival. Most tickets will cost ¢ 3000. The NSO concerts range from ¢ 4,000 to ¢ 15,000. For more information, check the ticket booth of the theaters or the NSO Facebook page.

    July 16th – National Theatre
    12 pm
    Manuel María Gutiérrez´s Orchestra: works by Pablo Moncayo and Dmitri Shostakovich.
    8 pm
    Part I: Children’s Symphony Orchestra: works by Franz Schubert, Georg Friedrich Handel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Bedrich Smetana, Johann Sebastian Bach, Edvard Grieg, Modest Mussorgsdky and Merle J. Isaac.
    Part II: Intermediate Symphony Orchestra: works by Ludwig van Beethoven, Antonio Vivaldi and Franz Schubert.

    July 17th – National Theatre
    12 pm
    Castella Conservatory Symphony Orchestra: Works by Edvard Grieg, Joaquin Rodrigo, Ludwig Van Beethoven and George Bizet.
    8 pm
    Heredia´s Municipal Symphony Orchestra: Blas works Atehortúa, Eddie Mora, José Mora Jiménez and Alberto Ginastera.

    July 18th – National Theater
    8 pm
    Orchestra of the Americas: works by Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov, Sergei Rachmaninov and Dmitry Shostakovich.

    July 19th – National Theater
    8 pm
    NSO: VI Official Season Concert with Gabriela Montero, works of Benjamin Britten, Felix Mendelssohn, Silvestre Revueltas and Pablo Moncayo.

    July 20th – National Theater
    12 pm
    Cartago´s Municipal Symphony Orchestra: works by Beethoven and Schumann.
    8 pm
    Symphony Orchestra of the University of Costa Rica: works of Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi.

    July 21th – National Theater
    NSO: Official Season Concert VI.

    July 22th – Melico Salazar Theater
    8 pm
    Orchestra of the Americas: Celebration Concert by selected guest orchestras.

    July 23th – Immaculate Conception Church in Liberia
    7:30 PM
    Orchestra of the Americas by Isidro Fernández Mora.

    Tracy Vargas

    The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
    San José Costa Rica

    Resonance Costa Rica
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