Meet...Early Music Aledo!
Revoice! interviewed Amber Kay, Productions Manager of Early Music Aledo, about this brand new Spanish festival...
What was the inspiration behind starting the festival?
Early Music Aledo International Course and Fesitval is a musical encounter, born from the desire to share and live early music in such welcoming surroundings as the mountains of Sierra Espuña. The festival offers concerts, chamber music evenings, infant events and cultural activities in Aledo and the surrounding villages. The course also offers participants the possibility to deepen their knowledge or begin historical interpretation of early music, creating meeting points to get together and enjoy the most important part of music: listening and being listened to. It hopes to offer a platform of support and help launch young groups and ensembles that form during the festival and course and encourage them to find their place in the early music scene.
What do you think is the role of music festivals in today’s musical culture?
Festivals are a fundamental platform for musicians of all levels. They provide fantastic learning opportunities, at the same time as they serve as promotion for artists and ensembles, as well as acting as a vital meeting point where musicians with an interest in early music can be in contact and network with others of the same interests. Apart from bringing musicians together, especially in the Region of Murcia, it's a way to bring this music closer to the audience providing an opportunity to experience early music that is otherwise not as readily available.
Can you give us some details of the festival’s events and activities?
The first edition of Early Music Aledo International Festival and Course was celebrated this past July thanks to the collaboration of the Aledo Council, the University of Murcia and the Institute of Cultural Industries and Arts of the Region of Murcia. Concerts, activities for children, masterclasses and specialist early music workshops were held by the course teachers Silvia Márquez, Olalla Alemán, Jan van Outryve and Jorge Losana, which brought together musicians from Belgium, Hungary, England and diverse parts of Spain. The festival in then held three types of concerts: infant concerts, in which the Festival's resident ensemble offered an educational performance aimed at a younger audience, early music soirees, in which the course participants have a chance to perform pieces they have been working on during the day, and finally the festival concerts, offered by professional groups from Spain and the rest of Europe.
Please tell us some more about the ‘early music’ scene in Spain, and about #EarlyMusicProject.
#EarlyMusicProject is a new cultural initiative that came about after the Early Music Aledo festival, with the hope of incentivising the knowledge and diffusion of early music in the Region of Murcia and all of the South of Spain, relating it to culture, history, art, tourism, nature and patrimony. We also seek to offer a new impulse to regional culture and emerging groups that focus on historically accurate vocal and instrumental chamber music. #EarlyMusicKids is another of the initiatives, revolving around the knowledge and introduction to early music instruments, relating them to contemporary versions of the same, collaborating with schools in order to provide kids with first hand contact with early music from a young age.
As far as the early music scene in Spain is concerned, the Renaissance and Baroque period is considered a golden age for Spain as far as art and culture is concerned, and therefore the interest is ever growing, so much so that we recently celebrated "FEIMA", the International Early Music Fair and Encounter, organised by GEMA, the Association of Spanish Professional Early Music Groups.
Do you consider that the label ‘early music’ is still useful today, and do you consider it to refer to music from a particular historical period, or to a set of performance practices and ideologies?
"Early Music" refers in fact to all the aforementioned qualities. We use it to determine a historical period of music, but also of course it's use carries with it the responsibility of giving a genuine performance, for which, we have to know and study the set practices of each era, with the hope of giving the most historically informed performance possible, allowing us to connect with the music even more and develop an even deeper understanding.