The Barcelona pianist Alba Ventura inaugurates this Friday, May 5, the Toca’m festival, in Tortosa, with a tribute to Alicia de Larrocha on her centenary that will take place in the renovated Plaza del Àbsis of the cathedral, one of the places with views of the river that the great rehabilitation of the old town has recovered for the city.
Thus, emblematic pieces from the repertoire of the iconic pianist will be played, as well as from contemporary Catalan composers who wrote for her virtuoso hands. Ventura will interpret them following the original annotations that remain in De Larrocha’s scores. And Alícia Torra, daughter of the prestigious artist, will talk about her most personal side and will be in charge of inaugurating the exhibition on her life that can be seen at the Marcel·lí Domingo Library.
Until Sunday the 7th, Tortosa will take advantage of everything that the piano can give of itself, occupying a wide variety of corners of the two-thousand-year-old city. And although the name of the festival coincides with that of the initiative of the Maria Canals Contest, which every year brings grand pianos to the streets of Barcelona so that any fan can cheer up, Toca’m ranges from purely artistic and professional events to activities to bring the piano closer to hospitals, nursing homes and schools. Or to also put him in contact with dance or the plastic arts… or put him on a tricycle to take him around the terraces of bars and restaurants.
In this second edition -despite the fact that the initiative began in 2019 as a single day of activities-, the festival will fill the capital of Baix Ebre with music for three days, with performances at the river pier, the Pont Roig, the Jardines del Príncipe, the redesigned Calle Cervantes, which has become a new boulevard, the Sant Jaume i de Sant Maties school or the Sant Jordi i de Sant Domènec school. Also the Plaza de Espanya or the Museuy de Tortosa, the market or the Teodor González park… The pianos will invade the city with classical, jazz, flamenco, pop or contemporary music.
Among the invited artists is Carlos Marigó, with the Breaking Bach that was so successful at the Bachcelona festival, a couple of summers ago. The pianist and composer from Blanes approaches Bach as a performance, seeing him as a living being, permeable to electronic music, hip-hop, jazz or flamenco.
People from abroad are also invited, such as Amine Mesnoaui, a Moroccan from Berlin, who combines Andalusian tradition from the 14th and 15th centuries in a minimalist way with songs from the early 20th century and more modern Moroccan composers. Or the pianist and singer-songwriter from Costa Rica Sofi Paez who, also based in Berlin, investigates her sound inspired by nature.
Musicians trained in Barcelona’s higher music schools participate, such as Jaume Vilaseca, who presents his 9th album, Jazz & Parsons Project (over music by Eric Woolfson and Alan Parsons). Also Marta Puig, who will show tender laments, a journey from the baroque of Rameau to the romanticism of Beethoven and even the most modern Janácek, which ends with goyescas of Granados. Or Carolina Santiago, pianist of the Barcelona Modern Ensemble, pianist, performer and researcher, resident in Strasbourg and specialized in contemporary music.
We want to value the city of Tortosa, create an important artistic and cultural environment and enhance its heritage”
There are about twenty concerts devised and organized by Maria Lombarte and Manel Miró, from the Cor LaBinota Association, together with the Tortosa City Council and a large group of volunteers, “without whom the Festival could not take place,” they say. And also: “We want to value the city of Tortosa, create an important artistic and cultural environment and enhance its heritage and its important musical and artistic history, led by the musician, composer and teacher of the great masters Felip Pedrell, from whom the city still has its piano”.
Catalan version here.