Gustav Mahler and Elicura Chihuailaf: the perfect combination to close the International Academy of Music Festival of Portillo

This Monday the Municipal Theater of Santiago received the young musicians from the Portillo International Music Academy Festival. In the first concert they performed in Santiago they played the song of the earth by the Austrian composer Gustav Mahler under the direction of Alejandra Urrutia.

“I want to thank the center of the whole festival that is all the students. They are all tremendously special and talented, this festival exists to ensure that they have the best opportunities and that they go beyond their limits to reach levels that even they would not imagine and to meet others who share the same talent and also their teachers who help them spread their wings to the world”, said the conductor Alejandra Urrutia.

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The Song of the Earth (Das Lied Von right Erde) by Mahler, which is inspired by ancient Chinese poems, talks about contemplation, beauty, chaos, death, nature and the cycle of life. One of the aspects that he made of the experience unique is that the music was accompanied by a poem that he wrote for the Elicura Chihuailaf National Literature Award concert.

The poet’s verses complemented the message of the Austrian’s work. The text talks about the importance of nature for human beings and invites them to recover “the memory of being native.”

“It seemed incredible to me to add a poet, it is something that is not usually done in music, we always focused a lot on the theme of playing, playing and playing so this innovation seems very good to me. In addition, the poem had to do completely with Mahler’s music that is about the earth and nature,” said Chilean cellist David Bradenburg.

The Argentine flutist, Diego Wright, added that “the poem went very well with what we have been working on these days. The Earth is here and in Europe or in Asia or Australia so it is good to get out of the vision that only Europe is music and I think that this is a bit globalizing Mahler’s ideas that transcended all borders. He was looking for answers to the big questions that nobody can get and through music he gives us something”.

Portillo International Academy of Music Festival

In an hour and a half of concert, the musicians, the tenor Javier Wibel, the baritone Patricio Sabaté and Urrutia managed to captivate the public with the orchestra that they prepared in record time at the Hotel Ski Portillo. In addition, the 52 young musicians performed alongside Peter Winograd, Laurie Carney, and Daniel Avshalomov, three of the members of the American String Quartet.

The Portillo International Music Academy Festival grants scholarships since 2019 to musicians between the ages of 18 and 30 from different parts of the world and allows them to share and focus for a week fully on musical development.

The program has been directed since its inception by Alejandra Urrutia and in its different editions it has been configured as a unique training instance in Chile that focuses not only on the musical creation of young people but also on comprehensive training.

During the week, the youth have yoga classes, coachingemotional accompaniment and rehearsals with prominent musicians and specialists.

The flutist and teacher Beatrice Ovalle Ortega was a teacher of the wind quintets during the festival. Regarding the final concert, she maintained that she had an “excellent result” that reflected the talent and work of the students.

“The concert seemed magnificent to me, it was really exciting to see the whole process that began with the students from the first day of work to each rehearsal, they with a motivation, an openness to learning and to be able to move forward and learn in the flexibility that must be have with the music, the sounds and the different balances. I am very proud of each one of them because they were solid lines that gave their all to make more music and to defend lyricism, it was an excellent result,” said the flutist.

One of her students was Ivana Alvarenga, the young Argentinian who plays the oboe and the French horn. She said that “the work that was done this time was magnificent.”

“It is a very large thing and very difficult to put together, but Alejandra and the entire Portillo team knew how to put it together very well, it was a challenge for everyone,” he added.

This Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. the last concert of the Portillo Festival Academy Orchestra will be held. Tickets can be purchased on the website of the Municipal Theater of Santiago.

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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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