Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra
The Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra (Catalan: Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya, OBC; IPA: [urˈkestɾə simˈfɔnikə ðə βərsəˈɫonə j nəsiuˈnaɫ də kətəˈɫuɲə]) is a symphony orchestra based in Barcelona, Spain.
In addition to the Orquestra Simfònica del Gran Teatre del Liceu, founded in 1847 and devoted to opera and ballet, Barcelona has had several symphonic orchestras since 1888. From 1910 to 1924, a private-based Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona gave its concerts in the Teatre Eldorado, led by Joan Lamote de Grignon. After it, the city's principal orchestra was the Orquestra Pau Casals (1920-1936), conducted by Pablo Casals, and linked to the Associació Obrera de Concerts (Workers' Society for Concerts). After the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), both the orchestra and society were banned and Casals was exiled to France.
In 1944, a new Barcelona civic orchestra - the current Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona - was founded with the name of Barcelona Municipal Orchestra, created by the City Hall and promoted by the Catalan conductor and composer Eduard Toldrà. Eduard Toldrà, through his leadership, helped to consolidate the orchestra's presence very early in the cultural life of the city. Barcelona has since had a regular cycle of symphonic concerts with the collaboration of the main national and foreign performers and with the aim to make classical music reach the greater public and especially to spread the work of Catalan composers.
After Toldrà's death in 1962, Rafael Ferrer became the head of the orchestra until 1967, when Antoni Ros-Marbà succeeded him. From this moment, it received the name of Orquestra Ciutat de Barcelona (City of Barcelona Orchestra, or OCB) until the constitution of the Consortium made up of the Government of Catalonia and Barcelona City Hall, in the 1994/95 season, which gave it the current name of Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya (Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra), known as OBC.
In 1994/1995 season a Consortium made up of the Government of Catalonia and Barcelona City Hall was constituted. Since 2006, the music director and artistic director is Eiji Oue. Oue is scheduled to conclude his tenure in 2010. In April 2009, the orchestra announced the appointment of Pablo González as its next music director, effective with the 2010-2011 season. The current principal guest conductors of the orchestra are Franz-Paul Decker and Ernest Martínez Izquierdo.
- Eduard Toldrà (1944-1962)
- Rafael Ferrer (1962-1967)
- Antoni Ros-Marbà (1967-1978)
- Salvador Mas (1978-1981)
- Antoni Ros-Marbà (1981-1986)
- Franz-Paul Decker (1986-1991)
- Antonio García Navarro (1991-1993)
- Lawrence Foster (1994-2002)
- Ernest Martínez Izquierdo (2002-2005)
- Eiji Oue (2006-2010)
- Pablo González Bernardo (since 2010)
The orchestra gives an average of ninety concerts a year (usually, three a week (Friday 21 pm, Saturday 19 pm and Sunday 11 am), during the season) with tours in several cities in Catalonia and Spain, and contributes to the repertoire of Catalan music with many premières and recordings. Its stable season brings together more than 10,000 subscriptions and 145,000 spectators.
In its more than 50 years, the OBC has programmed numerous first performances and has made several recordings including recordings with Decca, EMI, Auvidis, Koch, Claves and Naxos Records. Works by Xavier Montsalvatge, Frederic Mompou, Robert Gerhard, Manuel de Falla, Joaquim Homs, Mestres Quadreny, Xavier Benguerel, Salvador Brotons, etc., were performed.
As the city's main orchestra, the OBC has performed many world premières of musical compositions, including the following:
- 1948 Xavier Montsalvatge's Simfonia mediterrània (Mediterranean Symphony).
- 1952 Jaume Pahissa's El camí (The way).
- 1960 Xavier Montsalvatge's Càntic espiritual.
- 1961 Frederic Mompou's Variacions sobre un tema de Chopin for orchestra.
- 1963 Xavier Montsalvatge's Desintegració morfològica de la xacona de J. S. Bach (Morphological disintegration of J.S. Bach's chaconne), and other of the composer's works.
- 1964 Joaquim Homs' Invention for orchestra; other Homs works have had their premieres by OBC: Presències (1967), Brief symphony (1972), Nonet (1979)...
- 1974 Josep Soler's opera-oratorio Oedipus et Iocasta (many Soler works have been first performed by the OBC).
- 1997 Salvador Brotons' oratorio Stabat Mater
The OBC has maintained continuous artistic activity abroad, with tours in Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Korea, Japan, Romania and Puerto Rico. In 2002, it toured the United States, culminating in the Carnegie Hall in New York City, and in the summer of the same year, another tour to Germany, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the BBC Proms in London.
Since April 1999, the Orchestra has had its new headquarters for its musical activity in the new auditorium in Barcelona, L'Auditori, designed by Rafael Moneo. From its foundation to 1998, the orchestra was resident at the Palau de la Música Catalana, Barcelona.
- "González es elegido director titular de la Sinfónica de Barcelona". La Voz de Asturias. 17 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-07.