Gustav Mahler and Elicura Chihuailaf: the perfect combination to close the Portillo Academy of Music International Festival

This Monday the Municipal Theater of Santiago received the young musicians of the Portillo International Music Academy Festival. In the first concert they performed in Santiago they played the song of the earth by the Austrian composer Gustav Mahler under the direction of Alejandra Urrutia.

“I want to thank the center of the whole festival who are all the students. They are all extraordinarily special and talented, this festival exists to ensure that they have the best opportunities and that they go beyond their limits to reach levels that even they would not imagine and meet others who share the same talent and also their teachers who help them spread their wings to the world,” said director Alejandra Urrutia.

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The Song of the Earth (Das Lied Von Right Erde) by Mahler, which is inspired by ancient Chinese poems, speaks of contemplation, beauty, chaos, death, nature and the cycle of life. One of the aspects that made the experience unique is that the music was accompanied by a poem that he wrote for the concert of the Elicura Chihuailaf National Prize for Literature.

The poet’s verses completed the message of the Austrian’s work. The text speaks of the importance of nature for human beings and invites them to recover “the memory of being native”.

“It seemed incredible to add a poet, it is something that is not usually done in music, we have always focused a lot on the theme of playing, playing and playing so this innovation seems very nice to me. Also the poem had to do completely with Mahler’s music speaking of the earth and nature,” said Chilean cellist David Bradenburg.

The Argentinian flautist, Diego Wright, added that “the poem has gone very well with what we have been working on these days. The Earth is here and in Europe or Asia or Australia so it is good to get out of the vision that only the “Europe is music and I think that’s a bit of a globalization of Mahler’s ideas that transcended all borders. He was looking for answers to the big questions that no one can get and through music he gives us something.”

Portillo Academy of Music International Festival

In an hour and a half concert, the musicians, the tenor Javier Wibel, the baritone Patricio Sabaté and Urrutia managed to captivate the audience with the orchestra they prepared in record time at the Hotel Ski Portillo. In addition, the 52 young musicians performed together with Peter Winograd, Laurie Carney and Daniel Avshalomov, three of the members of the American String Quartet.

The Portillo International Music Academy Festival has been granting scholarships since 2019 to musicians aged between 18 and 30 from different parts of the world and allows them to share and focus for one week completely on musical development.

The program has been directed since its inception by Alejandra Urrutia and in its various editions it has configured itself as a unique training instance in Chile that focuses not only on the musical creation of young people but also on complete training.

During the week, young people have yoga classes, educateemotional accompaniment and rehearsals with leading musicians and specialists.

The teacher of the wind quintets during the festival was the flautist and teacher Beatrice Ovalle Ortega, who, regarding the final concert, claimed to have had an “excellent result” that reflects the talent and work of the students.

“The concert looked great to me, it was really exciting to see the whole process started with the students from the first day of work to each rehearsal, them with a motivation, an openness to learning and being able to go forward and learn in the flexibility that it is to be had with the music, the sounds and the different balances. I am very proud of each of them because they were solid lines that gave their all to make more music and to stand up for lyricism, it was a very good result,” said the flautist.

One of her pupils was Ivana Alvarenga, the young Argentine who plays the oboe and French horn, who said “the work that was done this time was magnificent.”

“It’s a very big thing and very difficult to put together, but Alejandra and the whole Portillo team knew how to put it together very well, it was a challenge for everyone,” he added.

This Tuesday at 19:30 the last concert of the Portillo Festival Academy Orchestra will take place. Tickets can be purchased on the Santiago Municipal Theater website.

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