David Afkham renews as artistic director of the National Orchestra and Choir | Culture

David Afkham, in a concert last year in front of the National Orchestra of Spain.
David Afkham, in a concert last year in front of the National Orchestra of Spain.Rafael Martin

David Afkham (Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, 38 years old) will continue as titular and artistic director of the National Orchestra and Choir of Spain (OCNE) for at least the next two seasons. The general director of the National Institute of Performing Arts and Music (Inaem), Amaya de Miguel, confirmed this Monday his renewal in a position he has held since September 2019, after five years linked to training as main director. De Miguel has also advanced the incorporation of Jaime Martín as the main guest director in the 2022-2023 season.

The announcement has been made in the course of the presentation of the next artistic season of the OCNE, which has also become a kind of celebration for which it is about to end. “In June of last year we resumed our activity after confinement in very difficult conditions. It has been difficult, with some important limitations due to the pandemic, but the balance we can make today is better than we anticipated: 90 performances this season and 67,000 spectators ”, underlined the general director of Inaem.

David Afkham, director of the National Orchestra of Spain.

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The technical director of the OCNE, Félix Palomero, has advanced that the limitations that have conditioned the development of this season will remain at least until December: shorter concerts to avoid crowds during breaks, masks and safety distance between musicians and singers, which forces to carry out an orchestral reduction in some scores. Palomero has hoped that from January the complete squads can return to the stage.

OCNE’s new season will also be marked by the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the creation of the National Choir. For this, as explained by its director, Miguel Ángel García Cañamero, major works of the choral symphonic repertoire have been programmed, such as the German Requiem of Brahms, the Christmas Oratorio and the Mass in B minor of Bach or the Te Deum of Bruckner, although the climax of the anniversary will be in October with the interpretation of the symphony Resurrection, by Mahler, with which the group debuted in October 1971, with an orchestral reduction expressly performed by the composer José Luis Turina so that the musicians and singers could maintain a safe distance.

From left to right, Félix Palomero, Amaya de Miguel, David Afkham and Miguel Ángel García Cañamero, during the presentation of the new OCNE season.
From left to right, Félix Palomero, Amaya de Miguel, David Afkham and Miguel Ángel García Cañamero, during the presentation of the new OCNE season.RAFA MARTIN

The symphonic program for the season has been designed around three main thematic lines: Schumann in perspective, which proposes a review of the work of the German composer through various concerts; The great violinism, with a selection of great violin concertos performed by leading international figures, and the cycle Rite and ritual, series started this season that emphasizes compositions that express social rituals and customs in a special way. The cycle will also be developed Discover … Let’s know the names, conceived to publicize emerging figures of Spanish music, such as the directors Lucas Macías, Lina González-Granados, Teresa Riveiro-Böhm or Pablo Rus Broseta and the pianists Noelia Rodiles and Josu de Solaun, as well as the festival Focus, which will focus on interwar Spanish music.

There will also be a place for the absolute premiere of new creations. Works by Elena Mendoza, Nuria Núñez Hierro, Josep Planells and José María Sánchez-Verdú will be presented. In total, the OCNE will offer more than a hundred concerts next season, conducted by prominent national and international batons, such as Afkham himself, Juanjo Mena, Jaime Martín, Pablo González or Josep Pons, Anja Bihlmaier, Shiyeon Sung, Xian Zhang and Emmanuelle Haïm, Marc Minkowski, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Nikolaj Znaider, Jukka-Pekka Saraste or Cornelius Meister. The soloists include the violinist Miguel Colom and the oboist Robert Silla, members of the orchestra, as well as the violinists James Ehnes, Christian Tetzlaff, Ana María Valderrama, Lisa Batiashvili or Fumiaki Miura, the cellist Nicolas Altstaedt, the pianists Nikolai Luganski and Kristian Bezuidenhout or the guitar player Rafael Aguirre.

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