Fri, Mar 01, 2002 - Page 7 News List

Bringing Catalonia to Taipei

By Ian Bartholomew  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chamber Orchestra of the Emporda.


The brainchild of Carles Coll, the Chamber Orchestra of the Emporda was founded in 1989 with the idea of bringing classical music to areas outside the main cultural centers of Barcelona and Madrid, especially the region of Catalonia. "It was also a way of providing jobs for musicians in this region," said Coll. Now Emporda consists of 12 musicians from nine countries and tours extensively both in Spain and internationally.

In addition to their program of classical favorites and various divertimenti by Mozart, they will also be playing the works of a number of Spanish composers. In the case of Edward Toldra, a Catalan composer, this is probably the first time his work has been performed in Taiwan.

Coll said the idea for Emporada started with his own efforts to carry classical music into the countryside. A pianist himself, he spent two years organizing concerts in locations where concerts are not often held, and due to the strong response, decided to create a chamber orchestra to carry out this mission. "This was at the very beginning of the group," he said. Now, the group has toured 45 countries. They are currently in their second week of an Asian tour which will include four concerts in China and a number of lecture/recitals in which the work of Spanish composers will be introduced.

"Our program is about half Spanish," said Chris Nicolls, violin soloist with the group. He said the group tries to present composers such as Toldra who are virtually unknown outside a very small group. "His career was virtually destroyed during the Franco era," Nicolls said. Even as a professional musician of many years, he said he knew nothing of Toldra until he joined Emporda three years ago. "The music we play during the Taiwan program has not even been published yet," he said, "it's just a manuscript."

Performance Notes:

What: Chamber Orchestra of the Emporda When & Where: Today 7pm at Chiteh Hall, Kaohsiung; Sunday 7pm at the National Concert Hall, Taipei Tickets: NT$300 to NT$1,200 from venues or ERA ticketing outlets

In another first for Taipei classical music aficionados, the Trillo del Diavolo by Tartini will not be played with the usual Kreisler cadenza, but one composed by Vasa Prihoda in 1934, which was transcribed by the orchestra's one Taiwanese member, Chiang Huei, who is currently also pursuing her studies at the University Mozarteum in Salzburg.

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