Casals Festival 2008 Line-Up

The annual Casals Festival is a very popular event on the music-lover’s calendar in Puerto Rico. The 52nd festival will take place from 21 February through to 15 March 2008 and, after 27 years, the event will be returning to the University of Puerto Rico – the place where Pablo Casals started the festival in 1957. The maestro Pablo Casals died in 1973, but his legacy of music lives on.

In keeping with past events, the 2008 Casals Festival program features many world-class musicians. Amongst the pianists who will be performing will be American pianist Simone Dinnerstein, whose recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations proved to be so popular that the CD earned the number one spot on the Billboard Classical Chart in the first week of its release. Other pianists who are set to enthrall audiences are Mihaela Ursuleasa, Vanessa Perez and Emmanuel Strosser.

The Mozart Piano Quartet, featuring Paul Rivinius (piano), Mark Gothoni (violin), Hartmut Rohde (viola) and Peter Horr (cello), have received rave reviews for their performances from Amsterdam to Australia and from America to Europe and now audiences at the Casals Festival will have the opportunity to enjoy their music. Violinist Renaud Capuçon was named by the French Victoires de la Musique as “Instrumentalist of the Year” for 2005 and he will be showcasing his considerable talent at the Casals Festival.

Visitors to the 2008 Casals Festival can look forward to performances by the multi-award winning Parisii Quartet, consisting of Arnaud Vallin (violin), Jean-Michel Berette (violin), Dominique Lobet (viola) and Jean-Philippe Martignoni (cello), who have performed in concerts throughout North and South America, as well as in Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo.

Orchestras that will entertain audiences at the Casals Festival include the Dresdner Philharmonie and the Orquesta Sinfonica De Puerto Rico. The orchestra that perhaps has the most unusual history attached to it is the acclaimed Simón Bolívar Venezuelan Youth Symphony Orchestra, which will be the highlight of the closing concert of the Casals Festival. This orchestra started off as an upliftment project for impoverished children in the gang dominated shanty towns of Caracas, Venezuela, and has turned into a success story of note. Audiences will be astounded at the level of talent that these determined young people display – a fitting finish to a festival honoring a man who had a deep understanding of the uniting and healing power of music.