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January 19, 2018 | Arts & Culture
Palau de la Música Catalana is a must-see sight for music and architectural buffs. Over a century old, this concert hall boasts modernist design work and impeccable acoustics that stand the test of time.
Palau de la Música Catalana was built by architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner between 1906 and 1908 for Orfeó Català, a trailblazing choral society of the Catalan cultural movement. Its modernista style was funded by the society, industrialists, and contributing bourgeoisie. Remodeling has taken place over the course of a century, but Palau de la Música Catalana still remains one of Barcelona’s most-famous music halls, accommodating more than half a million people per year with symphonic and jazz performances. In 1997, the Palau de la Música Catalana was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Modernist curves and ornate floral motifs define the music hall’s impeccable craftsmanship. Its infrastructure is equally as impressive, constructed with durable and more modern materials such as brick, steel, and iron. Upon the request of wealthy citizens, Lluís Domènech i Montaner commissioned local artisans to design the hall’s ornamentation, sculpture, and decorative elements.
The facade draws its inspiration from traditional Spanish and Arabic design work and uses exposed bricks, stained glass, and painted tiles to convey a sense of openness and transparency. The facade is also known for its beautifully sculpted columns with large busts of historic musicians including Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Richard Wagner.
Upon entering the foyer, guests can marvel at the vestibule’s ceilings which are lined with glazed ceramic moldings in the shape of stars. Marble staircases lead to the second floor, emblazoned with tiles on the underside.
The second floor houses Lluís Millet Hall, which was named after one of the founders of the Orfeó Català. This hall is used to for visitor tours and teaching. Several bronze busts of musicians can be spotted, such as Lluís Millet and Amadeu Vives (Orfeó Català founders), Pablo Casals, and Eduard Toldrà (the founder and first conductor of the Orquestra Municipal de Barcelona).
Beautifully designed with arched ceilings and stained glass panels, the Concert Hall is the only venue in all of Europe illuminated by natural light sources. Various busts, inverted domes, and gilded detailing also contribute to its magnificent decor. In addition to its impressive interiors, the hall is smartly designed for acoustics and musical clarity, with a pipe organ above and behind the stage to radiate quality sound amongst the stacked balconies and central seating.
Many renowned soloists, composers, and orchestras have performed at Palau de la Música Catalana, including Andrés Segovia, Clara Haskil, Fritz Kreisler, Lela Tsurtsumia, Arthur Rubinstein, Claudio Arrau, Richard Strauss, Herbert von Karajan, Claudio Abbado, Maurice Ravel, Sergei Prokofiev, and Igor Stravinsky. Jazz performers, both classic and modern, have also made appearances, such as Cassandra Wilson, Vicente Amigo, Anoushka Shankar, Norah Jones, and Duke Ellington.
Palau de la Música Catalana is located on C/ Palau de la Música, 4-6, just north of the Gothic District. Take a peek at the schedule and purchase tickets for special performances ahead of time. Short on time? You can also take a guided tour for €20.00.
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