The Pablo Casals Festival
The Pablo Casals Festival in Prades is one of the few that was born from an unexpected mix of very strong artistic need and a passionately committed exceptional humanist and artist. Faithful to its creator's spirit, the Festival presents great chamber music masterpieces and promotes the discovery of repertoires less known, classical or contemporary.
Each year it welcomes internationally recognized soloists. Undoubtedly one of the oldest existing festivals, it is one of the most innovative, always in search of repertoires and new talents. It also hosts an academy that welcomes students from all continents, a composition competition that is open to all school creators of any origin and welcomes in Prades ECMA sessions (European chamber Music Academy), each year in November.
Each edition consists of 40 to 45 events articulated around a theme that constitutes an original itinerary in the classical and contemporary repertoire of chamber music: 35 concerts, most of them starting at 9.00 pm in the Romanesque Abbey of Saint-Michel de Cuxa that has exceptional acoustics, 2 to 3 concerts at 9pm in Prades' Church that houses France's largest baroque altarpiece, 10 concerts at 5.30 p.m. in Conflent Churches, and 9 Student concerts (free admission). 3 to 4 lectures: meetings with composers such as Krzysztof Penderecky and personalities such as Hubert Reeves (astrophysicist), Harry Halbreich (musicologist), etc.
The Pablo Casals Festival is also a cultural and social animator in Conflent. In partnership with the Conflent School of Music and Conflent Schools, the Festival Pablo Casals organizes meetings with schools to promote chamber music.
The Pablo Casals Festival in France and abroad
Following Pablo Casal's example, one of the first major concert artists to travel the world, the festival also goes on tour and is in residence in large international halls, concerts and master classes, becoming its town and country's musical ambassador as well as all those who follow this wonderful adventure.
The Pablo Casals Festival has been held in Prades every year since 1950 (except two interruptions) from the 26th of July to the 13th of August.
The Festival also organizes concerts in Paris, within the framework of a collaboration between the Champs-Elysées Theatre’s Management and the Festival. The latter is indeed entrusted with a series of concerts to be given in January, in the prestigious Parisian hall.
The multiplication of Pablo Casals Festival's performances abroad and intervention of musicians of all nationalities have allowed the Festival to extend its network and fame. The festival thus radiates throughout the world as in 2005 when it was invited to perform a concert at the Maastricht Conservatory, master-classes at the conservatories of Peking and Shanghai or during the 50th festival Pablo Casals in Puerto Rico.
Pablo Casals a conscience
After World War II, Pablo Casals went silent, he stopped playing which marked Catalan history and culture
Music drives hatred away among those who are without love. It gives peace to those who are without rest, it consoles those who mourn.
With an admirable political and humanistic sense, Pablo Casals took major decisions without encountering any opposition, at Franco’s advent: he decided to stop playing his cello as long as Europe was in the hands of fascists and would no longer return to Spain, in his Catalonia, as long as Franco exercised his dictatorship. Only Bach could bring Pablo Casals out of the untreatable silence in which he had muted the world by not playing after the Second World War.