Valencia is a city of music lovers…and many skilled musicians. Marching bands parade along the streets in every festival, small orchestras can be seen playing in public spaces, and beautiful choir performances in intimate churches may even move you to tears. The city is alive to the sound of music!
Valencians take music very seriously. Music schools can be found everywhere and children often attend from a tender age to learn to play an instrument – anything from drums and trumpets to the traditional dolçaina flute. For many, this is the extracurricular activity of choice, and they will proudly perform in public at every opportunity.
It is estimated that, in the whole of the Valencia Region, there are nearly 2000 musical ensembles, be it orchestras, choirs, or marching bands. Valencian bandas de música are renowned at both national and international level. Every July, the city plays host to the Certamen Internacional de Bandas de Musica Ciudad de Valencia, an international band contest that has been running for over a century, and attracts orchestras and wind bands from all over the world.
There are many other opportunities throughout the year to enjoy music from local brass bands in Valencia. Until December this year, the Federation of Music Societies of Valencia runs the Bandes al Palau programme of pasacalles, or marching band parades through the streets of the historic city centre, from the Serranos Towers to the Plaza de la Reina. You can catch their next performances on 26 November, and 3,10 and 17 December, from noon.
You can also enjoy music by the sea, with concerts by the various music societies of Valencia’s maritime districts at the classic Pérgola (bandstand) at the Marina of Valencia. The last one this year will take place on Sunday 26 November, celebrating the festivity of Saint Cecilia, patron saint of musicians.
The Palau de la Música, on the Turia Gardens, is the home of the Orchestra of Valencia and often hosts free concerts by the Valencia Municipal Brass Band. The striking art deco building – Valencia’s own crystal palace – is widely considered to be the symbol of Valencia’s love for music, and its auditorium offers exceptional acoustics.
And it is not just Valencian music schools you will find in the city. The prestigious Berklee College of Music also has a campus in the Valencia. Its students can be seen performing in the popular Lake of Concerts programme at the City of Arts and Sciences during the summer months, as well as in many other free concerts throughout the year. Berklee also offers symphonic band workshops in the summer, as well as masters, for those keen to develop their musical talent.
Of course, there is plenty more music to be enjoyed in the city. The lush environment of the Botanical Gardens is the setting for the Jazz Llunatic programme of concerts themed around the phases of the moon, running until 23 December 2017. The new opera season at the Palau de les Arts is now in full swing. And many other venues offer live music throughout the year.
In Valencia, music is always in the air…