Letter from the director

General Director


What made possible the prodigious synthesis that became, between 1770 and 1815, the style that has come to be defined as "classical"? What hides behind the charm that, even centuries later, overwhelms us when we listen to the three great classical composers par excellence, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven?


Many are the particular and peculiar elements that define this style. Nevertheless, some of them play a more critical role in the formal structure of "a classical work": the clear delineation of a piece’s musical ‘personality’, balance in tonal structure, coherent management of alternation between tension and release, and a clear development of thematic dramaturgy. An extraordinary compendium of the genres that they frequented (the symphony, concerto, quartet, trio, sonatas, musical theater, and sacred works), brings the work of these three great masters closer together


The program of the Cartagena Festival’s XII edition presents its audience with an itinerary that passes through all of the musical genres mentioned above.  Audiences will be able to listen to well-known works from each genre (Mozart's Symphony N. 40, Mozart's Requiem, Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 "Emperor", or his Piano Sonata No. 14 "Moonlight Sonata"), as well as lesser known yet equally interesting and innovative compositions (Beethoven's Five sonatas for cello and piano, or Haydn's String Quartets, Op. 33).


All of the works featured in the Festival are considered important benchmarks in the history of western music. The goal of the festival, insofar as there it may be said to have one, is to offer the audience a global view of the overall work of the three classical composers, showcasing the main elements that have strongly characterized their style.


Following our tradition, the artists performing in the Festival are internationally renowned soloists and ensembles deeply familiar with the classical style and who have been recognized across the globe for their specialized or innovative performances of these works. This is true of Münchener Kammerorchester, founded in 1950 and conducted by Clemens Schuldt, which will be performing as resident orchestra. This orchestra has a track record of prestigious releases with the most important classical music labels (Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Sony).


Equally highly-regarded are the Schumann Quartett, Rudolf Buchbinder, Nelson Freire, Martin Stadtfeld, Aaron Pilsan, Mario Brunello, and Julia Hagen, who will be performing alongside many other musicians. The Festival will also enjoy significant participation from Colombian artists such as the Colombian Youth Philharmonic, Cuarteto Agile, pianists Blanca Uribe and Teresita Gómez, the Palos y Cuerdas ensemble, and several young singers from the Jovenes Talentos program.


This upcoming edition of the Festival will introduce a new conference-concert series and innovative educational initiatives that aim to help and guide anyone who wishes to "know more” about Classical music. For example, there will be sessions titled "The Classical Style", "Listening to Beethoven", "Mozart and the Opera", to name a few.  The purpose of this supplementary activity is to bring the audience closer to the musical language of the period.


The members of the Münchener Kammerorchester and some of the prominent soloists participating in the Festival will lead these educational activities designed for young musicians from all corners of Colombia (around 500 participants, including scholarship beneficiaries and observers). This educational proposal will also include specific seminars directed towards university and conservatory teachers and lecturers.


In a time of great change, we believe that making an effort to teach and improve the professional development of young musicians is paramount, given that the new generations are the most important resource to disseminate music and, in general, for culture to live on and prosper.  Starting with the Cartagena Festival, we have already set in motion a path that will take young musicians on a journey to become the focal point of performances and musical activities abroad. As in past editions of the Festival, all concerts and educational initiatives will be set in the magical and magnificent city of Cartagena de Indias.


I hope that you enjoy the Festival and that you have a memorable stay in Cartagena.