Mena claims music education so that "we don't stop being human" - La Provincia

The director Juanjo Mena (Vitoria, 1965), National Music Prize 2016 in the mode of interpretation and "one of the most relevant teachers in Spain", in the words of the director of the Canary Islands Music Festival, Jorge Perdigón, sued yesterday in the capital of Gran Canaria that music training in educational centers is not neglected. In his opinion, we must reinvigorate as "fundamental teachings music education and humanistic subjects, practically missing in schools." According to him, "let's not stop being human and become little machines."

Juanjo Mena recalled that "I am here because when I was seven years old, a man passed with a flute at school, I got those notes right, and he told me if he wanted to sing in a choir."

The principal director of the Cincinnati May Festival and associate director of the National Orchestra of Spain, and who has been in charge of different European and American formations, made these statements yesterday after presenting the two programs, in four concerts at the two capital auditoriums, with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, with which he debuted at the Canary Islands Music Festival. Double debut, his and that of the Danish formation, which for these concerts - yesterday and today in the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium, and Thursday and Friday at Santa Cruz de Tenerife - they have prepared a repertoire of their native country with works by Nielsen, including the Symphony No. 4, or the Concerto for Clarinet Op. 57, with the contest of the British soloist Mark Simpson; and Gade, the overture ' In the Highlands' Op 7 ; in addition to monumental pieces of Schubert, case of the Symphony No. 9 in C major ; and the Cello Concerto in Si minor op 104, of the Czech Dvorák, with the French cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras.

Two programs, marked by the exceptional nature and difficulty of undertaking scores of this nature, issues that were stopped yesterday by the Vice Minister of Culture, Juan Márquez, and the director of the Festival, Jorge Perdigón, and that in Márquez's opinion, are "Two concerts for the history of the Canary Islands Music Festival".

"Share experiences"

The teacher Juanjo Mena completed yesterday the essay with the Danish formation, to maintain a later encounter with the students of the Superior Conservatory of Music in the capital of Gran Canaria. "Share experiences," he said when asked what he was going to convey to the musicians in training. In this sense, Mena said that he speaks regularly with the young directors after rehearsals to learn about the state of the orchestra, and why they work in one way or another. "Directing is exchanging energy with the group in front of you", while acting as a director you have to interact with the musicians.

The orchestra director's job is being built over the years. "Now I begin to understand what this is about, but it is something that never ends up being learned," Mena said.

As for the concerts of the Basque conductor with the Danish National Orchestra at the 36th Music Festival, "a great orchestra and a great conductor, and a spectacular, difficult and complex repertoire," according to Juan Márquez, who do not usually work all the orchestras Symphonic, Juanjo Mena noticed the pieces of Nielsen, author who knows this formation well.

On the one hand, the Quarter, by Nielsen, "an imposing symphony" of a composer who "always surprises us, is not usual, with a language that cannot be included very well somewhere in the orchestral style, and there are always ideas that seem strange because they are very novel but very rich and interesting, "said Juanjo Mena. Similarly, the director noticed the Concerto for clarinet, de Nielsen, which in his opinion, "has its parallelism with Mozart's concert, is very difficult because of its structure, manner and style because you are sold, naked and clean in front of the public, and for clarinetists it means being at the limit of possibilities ".

Other popular pieces by Nielsen and Niels Gade complete a proposal that is crowned with the Cello Concerto, from Dvorák, together with Jean-Guihen Queyras, and which, in the director's opinion, is "one of the most beautiful, of great difficulty, with different emotions in each movement, and is a perfect complement".


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