Catalan music palace, Barcelona, Spain

The Palau de la Música Catalana is a music auditorium located in the Sant Pere district (Sant Pere, Santa Caterina and La Ribera) in Barcelona. It was designed by the Barcelona architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, one of the greatest representatives of Catalan modernism. The construction was carried out between the years 1905 and 1908, with very advanced solutions to the structure, with the use of new laminated profiles, a central metal structure stabilized by the system of buttresses and Gothic- inspired perimeter vaults.and with the application of large glass walls and the integration of all applied arts: sculpture, mosaic, stained glass and wrought iron. Domènech i Montaner had the usual artists in his work: the mosaicist Lluís Bru, the ceramists Josep Orriols and Modest Sunyol, the stained glass windows of the Rigalt i Granell house and the hydraulic pavement of the Escofet house. And among the sculptors, Miquel Blay, Eusebi Arnau, Dídac Masana and Pau Gargallo.

The building was commissioned by the Orfeó Català, founded in 1891 by Lluís Millet and Amadeu Vives, to be its headquarters. It was paid for by Catalan industrialists and financiers, illustrators and music lovers, an estate that sixty years earlier had already financed the Gran Teatre del Liceu opera and ballet theater. The auditorium was intended for concerts of choral, orchestral and instrumental music, as well as choral and singer performances. He currently continues to perform all these functions, both in the field of classical music and modern music. In 1997 the UNESCO included the building of their relationship Common World Heritage Site.

Among the buildings completed during the year 1908, one of them has surpassed, naturally and without hesitation, all the others. The refurbishment of the room and the accesses, the construction of a new annex building for the services have resulted in a coherent and creative work, perfectly up to date in terms of safety and specifications of comfort and acoustics, within of the radical and detail-loving innovative spirit that Domènech i Montaner would have wanted. The superb building of the Orfeó Català fully meets the first condition to be eligible for the prize of the Competition, because it can be said that, by itself, it beautifies not only its own location, but also radiates the atmosphere of art, animation and beauty in its entire neighborhood. From the point of view of conceptual audacity, formal brilliance, symbolism and decorative effect will ever be built in Barcelona.

The mission of the Fundació Orfeó Català-Palau de la Música Catalana is to promote music, particularly choir singing, knowledge and dissemination of cultural heritage, and to cooperate towards the consolidation of social cohesion. This gives rise to a symbiosis between the Palau de la Música Catalana and the Orfeó Català, which bestows a special note of singularity on the institution.

Catalan music palace is an open, dynamic and plural entity which, through its activity, concerts and choirs promotes musical practice and training, knowledge of heritage and the dissemination of culture among a diversified public that reflects Catalan society.

Therefore, the Palau de la Música Catalana and the Orfeó Català are at a historic moment in time characterised by the recovery of the foundational values of the Orfeó Català as the cornerstone of the Foundation’s strategic positioning. Said values are excellence, participation, social commitment, Catalan identity and innovation, the pillars on which the Orfeó Català was founded in 1891 and which led to the construction of the Palau in 1905 and are the entity’s driving force.

It began in October 1904 with the commission of a project by the Orfeó Català to the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner to build a building to house its headquarters. This project, commissioned by the then president of the entity Joaquim Cabot, and its corresponding budget, had been approved by the assembly on May 31, 1904. Before the end of the year, the cloister of the convent of Sant Francesc was purchased, with an area of 1,350.75 m² and a final price of 240,322.60 pesetas, with the intention of allocating this space to the construction of the ‘buildings.The following year, specifically on April 23, 1905, the laying of the first stone of the works was carried out, financed with a loan of 600,000 pesetas in amortizable bonds, to the bearer, in two series of 500 and 1000 pesetas, at the annual interest of 4%.

Domènech i Montaner was then one of the leading figures in Catalonia, both in terms of his profession and in relation to his political and cultural activity. As an architect, he had already signed the Editorial Montaner i Simon (the current Fundació Tàpies), the popularly called Castell dels Tres Dragons, and several lesser-known works. However, he had also been a key man in the political awareness of Catalanism in the late nineteenth century when he collaborated in the founding of the League of Catalonia or, as president of the first assembly of the Catalan Union, signed the Bases of Manresa. He also presided over the Floral Games, the Ateneu Barcelonès and the Academy of Fine Arts.

Three years later, on February 9, 1908, its inauguration was celebrated. The work was awarded in the annual Competition of artistic buildings, promoted by the City council of Barcelona. The auditorium was intended for concerts of orchestral and instrumental music, as well as choral performances and recitals by singers. However, the Palau has also hosted cultural and political events, plays and, of course, the most varied musical performances. For the time being, it continues to fulfill all these functions, both in the field of cultured music and that of popular music.

The acoustics of the auditorium are remarkable, especially for choral and chamber music; in large symphonic ensembles, it presents some problems in the high areas. The best performers and conductors in the world of the last century (from Richard Strauss to Daniel Barenboim, through Igor Stravinski and Arthur Rubinstein and Catalans Pau Casals and Frederic Mompou) have marched past the palace, a true sanctuary of music of Catalonia and, at the same time, a concert hall of reference in the international artistic scene. The Palau de la Música Catalana was declared a National Monument in 1971. For this reason, extensive restoration works were carried out under the direction of the architects Joan Bassegoda and Jordi Vilardaga.

In the 1980s, the Orfeó Català decided to carry out a major architectural and legal reform, and in 1983 the Consortium of the Palau de la Música Catalana was set up, maintaining ownership of the Orfeó but with the intervention of Barcelona City Council., the Generalitat de Catalunya and the Spanish Ministry of Culture. Òscar Tusquets i Guillén was commissioned to carry out the work on the building. These works lasted seven years, carrying out the entire Tusquets project, which was recognized with the 1989 FAD Prize for Architecture, Reforms and Rehabilitations. Lluís Domènech i Girbau, architect and grandson of the first architect of the Palace. In 1990, the Fundació Orfeó Català-Palau de la Música Catalana was formed for the events of the centenary of the Orfeó and, in addition, to obtain private resources with activities organized at the Palau.

Throughout its history, the Palace has also hosted events not related to music. Catalan political life has found an obvious symbolic manifestation that reaches to this day and through the assemblies of Catalan Solidarity, for the closure of four months ordered by the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera between June 24 and October 13, 1925, and by the hard postwar period, moment in which its name is made spanish and by the gentilicio. Thus, on April 2, 1940, the Falange organized a festival with the intervention of the “Orfeón conducted by Maestro Millet” -according to the program and to avoid writing the real name- which had to begin with the ‘fascist anthemFace to the sun, which Millet directed with his arms motionless against his body. The life of the Palace was returning to normal although with acts in between that celebrated the new fascist Spain, like a concert of Russian military (the program clarified that they were of the old army of the tsar) and another one of the Heart of the Hitler Youth in 1943.

However, there was more music, and for example on November 9, 1940 the famous Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquín Rodrigo was premiered. On March 31, 1944, Eduard Toldrà gave his first concert with the Barcelona Municipal Orchestra, the current Barcelona Symphony Orchestra and the National Orchestra of Catalonia (OBC), which until the inauguration of the Auditorium (1999) she was the main tenant of the Palace. On May 19, 1944, the soprano Victoria dels Àngels made her debut. The Catalan choir did not reappear until 1946, directed by Lluís Maria Millet, son of the founder, who performed the Requiem of Mozart.

The Fets del Palau took place in 1960, coinciding with a visit by Francisco Franco to Catalonia. Authorization had been obtained to perform El cant de la Senyera at the Palau, on the occasion of the celebration of the centenary of Joan Maragall. The last-minute government ban by the authorities made part of the audience stand up to sing this anthem and throw leaves at the head of the Spanish state; for this fact there were arrests, among which that of the future president of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Jordi Pujol, and that, despite not being on the premises, he was subjected to a council of war. Until 1967, El cant de la Senyera could not be performed legally.

With reality always present, such as when the Phalange decided to hold a commemorative event of its foundation, in the 60s the Palace began to see the light of a certain normality with various initiatives such as the representation of works of theater in Catalan, with new organizations organizing concerts, from classical music to jazz, to the Nova Cançó. There are beginning to be timid attempts at freedom. Thus, El Cant de la senyera could be heard again at the Palau in the concert of the centenary of the birth of Lluís Millet, on April 18, 1967. Great Catalan performers often start performing there, as Frederic Mompou did in 1969 on his 75th birthday.

The building
The architecture of Domènech i Montaner is of great quality and originality, highlighted on the one hand in the iron structure that allows the free floor closed by glass, and on the other the integration into the architecture of the applied arts. Two architectural decisions demonstrate the typology and technological innovation of the project: the first, the solution of the courtyard in the middle of the site with the church, so that the concert hall was with the same symmetry of distribution and light input. The second was the resolution to place the auditorium on the first floor with access from the ground floor through the different sections of the stairs with such an effective treatment that it compensates for the ascent; with this the use of the ground floor by offices of the

On the outside, sculptural elements are mixed, alluding to the world of music, with Baroque modernist architectural elements. Inside, the architect masterfully combined the various building materials with ceramics and glass. The room and the stage form a harmonious whole, in which one is integrated into the other. The stage is dominated at the top by the pipes of the organ, which in turn become a decorative element. The mouth of the stage is framed by spectacular sculptural illustrations, both allegories of cultured music and popular music: on the right, the cavalcade of the Valkyries (a clear reference to the Wagnerianism then prevalent among the Catalan public); on the left, some girls near a fountain and at the foot of a willow tree, between the branches of which appears the bust of Josep Anselm Clavé, constitute an allegory to the text of the song Les flors de maig by this author.

Between 1982 and 1989 a great restoration and extension was carried out under the direction of the architects Òscar Tusquets and Carles Díaz, beginning the second part in the year 2000, equipping the palace with a six-storey terraced building where the dressing rooms, the archive, the library and a meeting room, and opening onto a square thanks to the demolition of the church of San Francisco de Paula, which had suffered a fire during the Spanish Civil War and had been rebuilt without architectural value. In the second phase, interior renovations and a new extension were carried out with a audition and rehearsal room as well as a restaurant.

The Palau is located in the corner of a cramped street, Carrer Palau de la Música, and Carrer de Sant Pere Mes Alt, in the section of old Barcelona known as Casc Antic. Most of the other prominent modernista buildings, those designed by Antoni Gaudí, for example, are located in the chic 19th-century extension of the city known as the Eixample.

The design of the Palau is typical of Catalan modernism in that curves predominate over straight lines, dynamic shapes are preferred over static forms, and rich decoration that emphasizes floral and other organic motifs is used extensively. In contrast to many other buildings built in the modernisme style, however, it must also be said that the design of the Palau is eminently rational. It pays strict attention to function and makes full use of the most up-to-date materials and technologies available at the beginning of the 20th century (e.g., steel framing). As Benton (1986, 58) has pointed out, “To eyes unaccustomed to the architecture of Barcelona, the impression of a riot of ornament lacking any logic or control seems overwhelming. And yet the building follows exactly the exhortations of the [architectural] rationalists. The structure, in brick and iron, is clearly expressed.” Actually, its walls are the first example of curtain wall structures.

The wealthy citizens of Barcelona, who were becoming ever more sympathetic to the Renaixença at the time the Palau was built, asked its architect for building materials and techniques that symbolized the Catalan character. In response, he commissioned and gave great creative freedom to a variety of local artisans and craftsmen to produce the fabulous ornamentation, sculpture, and decorative structural elements for which the Palau is famous.

The rich decoration of the façade of the Palau, which incorporates elements from many sources, including traditional Spanish and Arabic architecture, is successfully married with the building’s structure. The exposed red brick and iron, the mosaics, the stained glass, and the glazed tiles were chosen and situated to give a feeling of openness and transparency. Even Miguel Blay’s massive sculptural group symbolizing Catalan music on the corner of the building does not impede the view into or out from the interior (see photograph). As Carandell and co-authors (2006, 20) have pointed out, in the Palau “the house as a defense and protected inner space has ceased to exist.”

Two colonnades enjoy a commanding position on the second-level balcony of the main façade. Each column is covered uniquely with multicolored glazed tile pieces in mostly floral designs and is capped with a candelabrum that at night blazes with light (see photograph). Above the columns are large busts of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Ludwig van Beethoven on the main façade and Richard Wagner on the side. The top of the main façade is graced by a large allegoric mosaic by Lluís Bru that represents the members of the Orfeó Català, but it is impossible to see it clearly from the narrow street below.

Side facade
It is located in Carrer Sant Pere més Alt, the only access until 1989, it is on the corner with Carrer Amadeu Vives, which is resolved with the inclusion of the sculptural group La cançó popular catalana, by the artist Miquel Blay and reproduced in larger than the natural size by Frederic Bechini, where a Saint George is represented, under a female figure in the center like a large bow mask, which is an allegory of music, surrounded by a group of characters representing the sailor, the peasants, the old man and the children. It is considered the masterpiece of the sculptor Blay, with a social sensibility and a set of great harmony. According to an inscription at the foot of the sculpture, it was paid for by the Marquis of Castellbell (Joaquim de Càrcer i d’Amat), and was inaugurated on September 8, 1909. The complexity of the angular façade on two narrow streets makes it difficult to see the whole as a whole.

Other elements of this façade are the arches with large columns of red brick and ceramic. Inside two of these columns were the original lockers. On the first floor there is a balcony that runs along the façade with fourteen columns in groups of two, covered with mosaic, all with different designs; on the second floor the busts of the musicians on columns, made by Eusebi Arnau: from left to right are Palestrina, Bach and Beethoven; past the sculptural group on the corner is the bust of Wagner already in Carrer Amadeu Vives. At the top of this facade a large mosaic pediment ofLluís Bru symbolizes the flag of the Orfeó by Antoni Maria Gallissà and in the center a queen presiding over a party with a sharp, in reference to La Balanguera, a poem by Joan Alcover i Maspons, with music by the composer Amadeu Vives, a piece that the Orfeó performed the most and that has been the official anthem of Mallorca since 1996.

Current main facade
In this facade is the habitual entrance from the year 1989, by means of a new esplanade to which it is acceded from a street that from year 2006 denominates with the name of Palace of Music.

The façade made by Domènech i Montaner is surprising for its construction, which was made as if it were in sight, although it was completely blinded by the position on its entire front of the church of Sant Francesc de Paula. To get the light in through the windows of this facade, the architect built a courtyard about three meters wide that bordered the church and although it was not seen, he made it with great wealth of materials and design, the work of red brick seen, wrought iron railings, cornices and carved capitals and with stained glass windowsof the same colors as in the rest of the building. According to data provided by Pere Artís, the initial budget for the works of the Palace was 450,000 pesetas, which was doubled, there is some friction between the client and the architect due to its stubbornness to finish this facade as well as the one that was in sight and therefore the price of the work.

On the left side of the façade is the service building, designed by the architects Òscar Tusquets, Lluís Clotet and Carles Díaz in the last twenties of the twentieth century, with a tower with a sculpted base as if it were a large palm tree; it is also where the artists’ entrance is. On the right is on some stairs the sculpture dedicated to Lluís Millet, by the sculptor Josep Salvadó Jassans, made in 1991, and the entrance to the restaurant of the Palau, called Mirador and made as a glass box. At this end of the façade, the corner with Carrer de Sant Pere més Alt is also resolved in the form of a bow as in the old façade, representing in red brick and in bas-relief a large “Tree of Life” made by the ´sculptor Naxo Farreras. [ citation needed ]

The entire recovered central façade has been covered by a new one with a glass screen with the name of the Palau de la Música Catalana building engraved on the entrance doors.

Originally, guests entered the Palau from the street through two arches supported by thick pillars that opened into the vestibule. The former ticket windows, which are located in the center pillar, are beautiful concentric arches adorned with floral mosaics of various materials created by Lluís Bru.

The tile of Valencia, the molded ceramic pieces and the mosaic, cover all the building, a great intervention of different ceramic products, as well as of diverse craftsmen and manufacturers were those that supplied to Domènech and Montaner during the construction of the Palace. Most of the mosaics on the walls and covering the shafts of the columns, both exterior and interior were made by Lluís Bru.

Until the reform of the Tusquets team in 1989, several outbuildings of the Orfeó were distributed on the ground floor of the Palau, which had their entrance on Carrer Amadeu Vives.

Related Post

By the old entrance of the Sant Pere més Alt street the first thing that is seen is a great double stairs towards the first floor, with illumination of great lanterns; the railing is richly worked in stone and with glass balusters, the railings are glazed ceramic and with flower reliefs, as is the ornamentation of the ceilings.

Vestibule, staircases, and foyer
The ceiling of the vestibule is decorated with glazed ceramic moldings that are arranged in the shape of stars. From the vestibule, on the left and right, grand marble staircases ascend from between crowned lamps on columns to bring visitors to the second floor. The balustrades of the staircases, also marble, are supported by unusual transparent yellow glass balusters. The underside of the staircases is covered with tiles that form gleaming canopies on either side of the vestibule.

Today, guests generally enter the Palau through the foyer, which was created in the renovations of Tusquets and Díaz from what originally were the headquarters of the Orfeó Català. The large space of the foyer is more soberly decorated than the rest of the Palau, but the wide exposed brick arches with their marvelous glazed green, pink, and yellow ceramic flowers recapitulate the ornamentation of the rest of building. The foyer features a large counter where tapas and beverages can be served to concert-goers or visitors who are touring the building. The bar is situated between massive pillars of brick and is illuminated from behind by expansive stained-glass panes that are suspended above it. A glass case in the foyer displays the Orfeó Català’s banner, which bears its crest embroidered on fabric in the modernisme style.

Lluís Millet Room
Located on the first floor, in front of the concert hall, and dedicated to Maestro Millet, musician and founder of the Orfeó Català, it is what is called a waiting or rest room with an imposing modernist iron lamp; also in this sense Domènech i Montaner demonstrated a great mastery in his theoretical aspect giving real lessons to the craftsmen and being involved in all the forging works during works of the Palace. As decoration of the room, several bronze busts of personalities linked to the institution have been placed in 2015: the founders Lluís Millet and Amadeu Vives (both by Joan Matamala), the president Joaquim Cabot (by Eusebi Arnau) and the musicians Pau Casals(by Brenda Putnam), Eduard Toldrà, Joan Massià (by Eva Moshack), Frederic Mompou (by Joan Rebull), Xavier Montsalvatge (by Manolo Hugué), Alícia de Larrocha (by Ramon Cuello), Rosa Sabater (by Josep Maria Subirachs) and Victòria dels Àngels) and modernist paintings by Joan Brull i Vinyoles (1863 – 1912), starring female figures with a symbolist character.

In modernist times, the art of stained glass was considered by architects as a decorative activity for their constructions. Domènech i Montaner promoted it in all its buildings, but in the Palau de la Música, in addition to this decorativeness, it has an architectural material function. It is in this work that the great reality of Catalan stained glass is expressed, achieving a perfect union between the architect and the stained glass artist Antoni Rigalt i Blanch.

The doors are made of glass with floral-themed stained glass here as the long window separating this room from the clear glass terrace at the top and lead-colored floral element glass like a cupboard at the bottom, above the glass transparent runs a stained glass frieze imitating the trencadís. On the terrace we find the columns decorated with mosaics that face Carrer Sant Pere més Alt; all columns are different in color and decoration. This room is also intended for social events or press conferences.

Concert hall
Upon accessing the room from the first floor, it has the effect of a dark entrance, and is then found to have a great theatrical effect, with the explosion of light and color that the great room has; the stained glass windows, on both sides, run from the floor to the ceiling with the first and second floor of armchairs as if they were trays, columns decorated with colorful mosaics like the ceiling with red and white roses of glazed ceramic. At the intersection of the upper arches, semicircular mosaics can be seen representing tails of royal peacocks in all their splendor and color.

Stained glass windows are used to differentiate various areas and to complement construction elements. In the audition room, where the large glass curtain sifts the light, are the most important stained glass windows in terms of size and visibility, they are placed in ten windows in the side walls of the concert hall. They are separated by four columns and five stained glass windows on each side, formed by large pieces of pink “cathedral glass”, with garlands of leaves and flowers, tied with lead and passing from one window to another linking motifs heraldry that are repeated, that of Catalonia and that of Sant Jordi. At the top, following the line of Tudor-style arches, is a strip of hexagonal glass in pale ocher and gray tones, as if it weretrencadís. On the first floor the garlands are repeated with blue glass bows and in the stands is the pink glass with a floral frieze on top.

In the center of the ceiling there is a large glass skylight, with an exit to the outside, which allows the entry of natural light and, when there is none, artificial lighting, as if it were a lamp. It was made by Antoni Rigalt i Blanch, as if it were a large sun in the shape of an inverted sphere, of golden glass in the center and surrounded by others, with softer shades of blue and white representing female busts with faces drawn in gray, and hair with small garlands of roses and a ribbon with a ciba blue in the middle.

The space was conceived as an immense glass box crowned with a large central skylight of colors. The multicolored stained glass windows are composed of two circumcentric rows of angels or maidens arranged in two concentric rows. Although these have their mouths closed, they seem to evoke a choral grouping. The translucency of the exterior defines a concept that is further reinforced in the concert hall, with the stained glass windows and the large central skylight, the fusion of the golden light of the skylight with the dew of the side windows gives a unique ambient light that has attracted the attention of everyone who has studied this unique building. At the same time, the play of transparency between some spaces and others, separated by large glass doors, ensures the consecutive visualization of the spaces.

Above the bleachers are two clowns, winged horses sculpted by Eusebi Arnau.

In each of the vaults between the pillars and the glass walls, covered with pink tile in trencadís, there is a medallion of white tile, trimmed with green laurel leaves, with the name of a great musician. To the left of the stage, starting from him: Palestrina, JS Bach, Carissimi, Beethoven and Chopin; right: Victoria, Handel, Mozart, Gluck and Wagner. On the wall that forms the gap between the ceilings of the main room and the back of the second floor of the same room, there are four more ceramic medallions, which synthesize the history of Catalan music: Brudieu, Fletxa, Viola, Terradellas and Clavé.

At the mouth of the stage, eleven meters wide, is the sculptural group of Diego Massana Majò and continued by the young Pau Gargallo, representing on the right the bust of Beethoven flanked by two Doric columns under the cavalcade of the Valkyries with a clear symbolism of Wagner’s Central European classical music (in whose honor the Wagnerian Association of Barcelona was founded in 1901) and the representation of popular music Catalan on the left, with the bust of Josep Anselm Clavé under a large tree at the foot of which is a group of girls, personifying the songMay flowers. The magnitude of this sculptural work means that both sides approach at the top, almost until they touch, only separated, or united, by the relief with the seal of the Orfeó Català.

In the back semicircle of the stage, there are eighteen modernist muses in mosaic and relief from the waist that seem to be dancing coming out of the walls, made by Eusebi Arnau (the upper sculptural part) and by Mario Maragliano and Lluís Bru (the trencadís of the skirts); all are carriers of different musical instruments, under a background of irregular tiles of reddish color and on him the organ is installed. In the center of the stage, between the muses, Domènech i Montaner ordered to place, in homage to his great friend Antoni Maria Gallissàdied shortly before, the image of the flag that Gallissà had designed for the Orfeó Català, surrounded by medievalist symbols on a blue background, which was made in mosaic by Lluís Bru and visible from all points of view of the room.

At the top of this chamber on the muses, there is a continuation of the side stained glass windows of the room, consisting of six stained glass windows with the same motif of floral garlands.

Pipe organ
The organ was acquired at the German Walcker House in Ludwigsburg in 1908. The first concert performed with him, Alfred Sittard (organist of the Cathedral of Dresden), led first heard an organ concert in Barcelona in an enclosure different from a church. In 2003 it was restored thanks to the contributions made by individuals (in a sponsorship campaign consisting of the “adoption” of organ pipes) and private companies.

Remodeling and extension
Between 1982 and 1989 parts of the building were restored to their original state, technically upgraded and expanded to allow additional uses. The new work did not compromise the decorative or structural integrity of the original building. Stone, brick, iron, glass, and ceramics were used in the same way that Domènech i Montaner used them. One of the most important expansions is the adjoining building of six stories that houses dressing rooms, a library, and an archive.

From 2006 to 2008 some further restoration was carried out: the lantern on the top of the tower on the corner of the building was reinstalled, as were some ornamental features of the façade.

Petit Palau
Designed by the architect Oscar Tusquets, the new building following the street entrance on High St. Peter, is eleven meters deep and was inaugurated on April 22 of the year 2004. It has a theatrical capacity for 538 people and perfect acoustics, excellent for chamber music, and also performs in its space all kinds of social and cultural events, for which it is equipped with great technological advances.

In 2007 it was one of five projects awarded the European Uli Awards For Excellence in recognition of design and architectural value.

Catalan Choral Documentation Center
Started the collection by the Orfeó in 1891, consists of several legacies with manuscripts of the sixth century, and a large number of volumes, most of them musical themes; there are scores and the repertoire that the choir has sung since its foundation.

The library also preserves many of the original programs, and a series of curious documents, first handwritten and then typed for decades with monastic patience by a Palace worker, Carles Pascual, who until the year of his death (1974) was writing down every day all the concerts and the rest of the activities of the Palace.

The Orfeó Català Documentation Center was set up in September 2012, to bring together the holdings of the Orfeó Català Library and Archive. Since then, several exhibitions have been held in the Foyer of the Palau, which have allowed to see photographic, musical, administrative or artistic documents, linked to the institution.

Art History
The Palau is the headquarters of the Orfeó Català: since its inauguration, it has offered its concerts. In addition, in 1990 the Chamber Choir of the Palau de la Música Catalana was also created as a resident formation and later, in 1999, the Choral School of the Orfeó Català where the musical formation of the components of the choir.

Many of the best soloists and singers of the twentieth century have performed at the Palau de la Música Catalana, including: Pau Casals, Jacques Thibaud, Alfred Cortot, Eugène Ysaye, Albert Schweitzer, Enric Granados, Blanche Selva, José Iturbi, Wilhelm Backhaus, Emil von Sauer, Wanda Landowska, Clara Haskil, Fritz Kreisler, Andrés Segovia, Arthur Rubinstein, Claudio Arrau, Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich, Alicia de Larrocha, Victoria de los Angeles, Montserrat Caballé, José Carreras, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Henryk Szeryng, Barbara Hendricks, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Alfred Brendel, Wilhelm Kempff, Sviatoslav Richter, Nikita Magalov, Vladimir Aixkenazi, Maurizio Pollini, Maria João Pires, Jean-Pierre Rampal,Martha Argerich, Jessye Norman, Daniel Barenboim, etc.

Great orchestras and conductors have visited the auditorium since its first year of operation: Berliner Philharmoniker with Richard Strauss, Herbert von Karajan, Claudio Abbado and Mariss Jansons; Wiener Philharmoniker, with Carl Schuricht, Karl Böhm, Zubin Mehta and Leonard Bernstein; Amsterdam Concertgebouw with Eugen Jochum, Antal Dorati and Mariss Jansons; Berliner Kammerorchester with Hans von Benda; Israel Philharmonic iZubin Mehta; Staatskapelle Berlin and Chicago Symphony with Daniel Barenboim, New York Philharmonic with Kurt Masur, Münchner Philharmoniker with Sergiu Celibidache, Cleveland Orchestra with Lorin Maazel, Philharmonia Orchestra with Carlo Maria Giulini, Concentus Musicus Wien with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, NDR Sinfonieorchester with Christ von; Václav Neumann, Mario Rossi,Jordi Savall, Philippe Herreweghe, etc., and choirs such as: Escolania de Montserrat, Capella Sistina di Roma, Orfeón Donostiarra, Wiener Sängerknaben, Wiener Singverein, etc.

From 1920 to 1936 the Palace was the headquarters of the Pau Casals Orchestra, where it was conducted by Pau Casals, Richard Strauss, Vincent d’Indy, Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schönberg, Anton Webern, Arthur Honegger, Manuel de Falla, Ottorino Respighi, Eugène Ysaye, etc. For years, from 1947 to 1999, the Palau’s resident orchestra was the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra and the National Orchestra of Catalonia. Since 2000the Vallès Symphony Orchestra resides there with a stable season.

Important composers and musicians have performed or conducted their own works: Enric Granados, Richard Strauss, Maurice Ravel, Vincent d’Indy, Sergei Prokofiev, Igor Stravinsky, Manuel de Falla, Arnold Schönberg, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Anton Webern, Robert Gerhard, Silvestre Revueltas (1937), George Enescu, Ildebrando Pizzetti, Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc, Jacques Ibert,Karel Ančerl, Arthur Honegger, Frederic Mompou, Joaquín Rodrigo, Krzysztof Penderecki, Witold Lutoslawski, Pierre Boulez, etc.

Other artists, actors, dancers, jazz musicians, singers and popular music groups, rock, etc., have also performed at the Palace: Vittorio Gassman, Maurice Béjart, Ángel Corella, Charles Aznavour, Duke Ellington, Tete Montoliu, Oscar Peterson, Woody Allen, Keith Jarrett, Ella Fitzgerald, Michel Camilo, Tamara Rojo, Paco de Lucía, Bebo Valdés, Luis Eduardo Aute, Jorge Drexler, Cassandra Wilson,Vicente Amigo, Anoushka Shankar, Norah Jones, Sinéad O’Connor, Ute Lemper, etc.

The Palace became the emblematic stage for the songwriters of the New Song: singing in the Palace (“making a Palace”) was a kind of consecration for a singer. Raimon, Joan Manuel Serrat, Maria del Mar Bonet, Lluís Llach, Ovidi Montllor, Francesc Pi de la Serra, etc., sang there. In 1913, the Christmas Concert of Sant Esteve was created, held at the Palau de la Música Catalana.

For some years, plays were also performed with a certain frequency -especially experimental theater or by authors who could not be performed in other venues-: companies such as the Teatre Experimental Català, the Companyia Adrià Gual or the Agrupació Dramàtica de Barcelona (1955 – 1963) made the Palau the venue for its premieres, including shows such as the premiere of Esther d’ Espriu’s First Story, El Ben Cofat and the other of Josep Carner, that of the Pigmalió of Joan Oliver or those of works of Joan Brossa, etc.

Appearances in film
On 7 September 2018, the Palau de la Música appeared in BBC TV’s Release Date trailer for Season 11 of Doctor Who. The trailer shows Jodie Whittaker, as the first female Doctor, literally ‘shattering the glass ceiling’ of the Palau’s striking skylight.

Tags: Spain