When Alfredo Oyáguez (49) enters a room, the air is filled with his personality. Perhaps it even flickers a little because, albeit the pianist and organizer of the Deià International Music Festival may not be playing the piano, his sonorous voice ensures the audience’s attention.
Deià International Music Festival
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We meet the Madrilenian professor of music at the Conservatory in Palma, where he teaches piano and conducts the in-house symphony orchestra when he is not travelling for concerts (about 90 a year) around the world. A highlight this year is still to come: On October 15th, he will be heard at Carnegie Hall in New York together with cellist Andrew Smith, presenting their new album ‘Spanish Music for Cello & Piano’.
For now, however, Oyáguez is still busy with the International Music Festival in Deià. For the 39th edition he has managed – again – to sign up several well-known artists from the USA, New Zealand, Finland, Holland, and Italy. For the first time, the festival takes place without the founding-father Patrick Meadows, who died at the end of April in Palma. This year, some concerts are dedicated to the American and, in 2018, on the 40th anniversary of the festival, the figure of Patrick Meadows will be in the spotlight for a whole concert series. The 83-year-old had kicked off the event with music-enthusiastic amateurs in 1978 and professionalized the festival continuously. Fourteen years ago, Alfredo joined – who has now been organizing the festival by himself for seven years.
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“The music scene in Deià is still small and familiar and the venue Son Marroig has lost none of its magical charm,” Alfredo says. The minute the sun sinks into the sea during a concert, is still one of the most beautiful festival moments for the pianist. Several concerts are still pending until October, and six times the artists make a trip to the Palau March in Palma during the day, where the performance will be offered free of charge. Additionally, this year, concerts will be held at the country hotel Sa Bassa Rotja in Porreres, taking place after a dinner on the terrace of the hotel; non-hotel guests are also welcome.
The programme features traditional and modern works by famous and lesser-known composers. Oyáguez has never been thematic when selecting the music pieces; it even happens that two artists play the same sonata during the festival but each one interprets it in their own way. The concert highlights this year are the famous Spanish cellist Asier Polo, as well as the piano concert ‘Mysterium’ with Italian pianist Antonio Artese – accompanied by lighting installations and fragrances of a perfumer from Florence.
The tango ensemble La Cuarentena accompanies Alfredo Oyáguez on the piano; he has been friends with the three Argentinian artists (singer, guitarist, percussionist) for many years. “I often heard that the music festival is a mafia,” says Oyáguez, who allows such accusations to bounce off him. “I like working with friends, when things go smoothly, and the personality of the artist counts, besides the musical quality.”
Cosmopolitan Oyáguez is not only an excellent musician, but also an excellent networker, who studied in Madrid, Prague, and Yale, conducted numerous orchestras between Santa Barbara and Mannheim, and organized music festivals in Finland, Kosovo, and Italy. “The Mallorcan music scene is very active and has a great offer, but suffers a lack of co-operation among the organizers,” says Oyáguez, who is married to the Mallorcan violinist Rosa Cañellas. When an important artist comes to the island, he could theoretically play in six different locations, because every place like Capdepera or Cala Mayor has its own audience.
What is not yet working on the island is even more successful within the music festival. With the support of the Swiss Avina Foundation and a crowdfunding, the organizers have succeeded in purchasing a second-hand Steinway D concert piano, the flagship of the renowned piano builder. Grand masters such as Barenboim and Lang Lang have already played on this piano and, at the music festival in Deià, works by famous composers such as Schumann, Liszt, and Rachmaninov will be performed on it. “Music is more important than mathematics,” says Oyáguez, who began playing the piano at the age of five and now supports a music project for disadvantaged children in South America. Neurological studies have shown that music allows our brain to grow, says the pianist. “And when you listen to a concert in such a marvellous place as Son Marroig, you experience what music does to our hearts”.
The concerts will take place in Son Marroig until October.
Admission: 20 euros.
Tickets by phone – +34 678 989 536 – or by e-mail.