May 14, 2021

Juanjo Mena vindicates music education and humanism in schools – La Provincia


The Basque orchestra conductor Juanjo Mena, National Music Award 2016 in the mode of interpretation, he has claimed Tuesday as “fundamental teachings of music education and humanistic subjects, practically missing in schools,” according to reports Efe. “Let’s not stop being human and don’t become little machines. I’m here because when I was seven years old a man passed a flute through my school, I got those notes right and he told me that if he wanted to sing in a choir,” Mena said in presenting his debut in the Canary Islands International Music Festival.

The director of the contest, Jorge Perdigón, has celebrated in a press conference that Mena premieres in its 36 edition next to the Danish National Orchestra with a double program in which they will perform works by Gade, Nielsen Y Schubert with the interventions of the British musician Mark Simpson and the French cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras.
Before participating in a meeting with students from Conservatory of Music of the Canary IslandsMena has advanced that he will try to transfer these students “tips or invitations.”

“I think the direction is very difficult to teach because it needs a very long process in life. I now begin to understand what this is about, but it is something that never ends up being learned,” he said.
The teacher has considered that meetings with young directors “allow them to exchange with them what has happened in the rehearsal, which is the interesting thing: why suddenly the rhythm has changed or why the orchestra was happier”, that is, knowing “what have been the vital elements with the orchestra” because “to direct is to exchange energy with the group in front of you”.

On the four concerts he will conduct in Gran Canaria and Tenerife between this Tuesday and next Friday, Mena has explained that his foray into this festival is produced by an orchestra with which he has an “intense relationship” because he does not conceive to do so with one that is addressed “for the first or second time.”

In addition, he stressed that both parties have previously worked part of the program they will present in the Canary Islands, specifically the Ninth of Schubert, who have recovered and improved for this occasion and that is part of a repertoire in which the orchestra is specialized, mainly in regard to the works of Nielsen that integrate it.

Mena has alluded to the second program, which the Danish Orchestra will close with the Symphony Number 4 from Carl Nielsen, one of the most recognized composers of that country, and has explained that this piece “is imposing and very special”.

“The language of Nielsen is always something that surprises because it is not usual or can be included very well in any particular place of the orchestral style. There are always ideas that may seem strange because they are very novel, rich and interesting at the same time,” he said .

The teacher stressed that the first program includes “the concert for clarinet and hardest orchestra” to perform, by the same Danish composer and by the soloist Mark Simpson. Mena has stressed that for clarinetists the performance of this concert “means being at the limit of the possibilities and control of an instrument,” hence this piece is “very attractive.”

The conductor has detailed that his participation in the International Music Festival of the Canary Islands will also include the interpretation of the Cello Concerto from Dvorak by the French cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras.

The Danish National Symphony Orchestra, founded almost a hundred years ago, was one of the world’s first radio symphony orchestras and today its sound transits from clacismism, romanticism and avant-garde to new creations of young composers and band tributes movie sound

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