The Pablo Casals Festival of Prades is unusual having been initiated thanks to the unexpected combination of a strong desire for an artistic event and a passionately committed humanist, who was at the same time an outstanding artist. Faithful to the spirit of its founder, it presents, side by side with the most famous masterpieces, an introduction to lesser know classical and contemporary works.
Undoubtedly one of the oldest festivals still in existence, it is among the most innovative in the quest for to extend its repertoire and introduce new talents. It also includes an Academy that welcomes students from all continents and a composers’ competition, open to all kinds of creative artists from any school. It also hosts ECMA Sessions (European Chamber Music Academy ), each year in November.
Each summer, 40 to 50 events, centred around a theme, create a distinct programme within the world repertoire of classical and contemporary chamber music:
• 35 concerts, the majority of which takes place at 9 p.m. in the Romanesque abbey church of Saint-Michel de Cuxà with its exceptional acoustic qualities. Two or three concerts are given at 9 p.m. in the Prades parish church. Ten concerts are given at 5.30 p.m. in various churches in the Têt valley and there are also 9 student concerts, for which entrance is free.
• 3 or 4 lectures : encounters with composers such as Krzysztof Penderecki or prominent figures such as Hubert Reeves (astrophysician ) and Harry Halbreich (musicologist).
In collaboration with the music school and the educational institutions of the Conflent, the Pablo Casals Festival of Prades also organises chamber music discovery sessions to introduce schools students to chamber music.
The Pablo Casals Festival in Paris and abroad
Following the example of Pablo Casals, one of the first great soloists to travel the world, the festival also embarks on tours and on artistic residency programs in major international theatres, performing concerts and giving master classes, thus becoming a musical ambassador for the French town of Prades.
In France: the Pablo Casals Festival of Prades has taken place every year since 1950 (except for two interruptions), from 26th July to 13th August. At the beginning of each year, the Festival also organises several concerts in Paris, as part of its collaboration with the Theatre des Champs-Elysées.
Abroad: For a few years now, the Pablo Casals Festival has been increasing its concerts abroad (Europe, Asia and South America). These events have given the opportunity to create bonds with different organisations and musicians of other countries, promote the reputation of the Festival abroad and increase the number of applications to its International Music Academy.
The Prades Festival was invited to Tokyo in 1990 for the third anniversary of the Casals Hall, to New York in 1993, where one can find part of the cloister of the abbey St. Michel de Cuxà, to Jerusalem in 1995, to San Paolo in 1995, to Puerto Rico in 1996, to Finland, England, Germany, Netherlands, Andorra, Monte Carlo and Barcelona in 2001, to St. Petersburg in 2002, etc. In 2005, the Prades Festival was invited to give a concert at the Conservatoire of Maastricht and soloists of the Prades Festival were invited to perform at the Jinju Festival in Korea. The Festival was also invited to Tahiti to give four concerts and master classes, and to the Shanghai International Festival (9 soloists from the Prades Festival)… The Pablo Casals Festival of Prades travels and continues to shine around the world.