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London 04/07
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Escolania de Montserrat

Escolania de Montserrat

The College of Music, "Escolania de Montserrat" with its boys' choir, was first mentioned in the 13th century, but certainly existed long before that. It ranks as the most significant factor in the heritage of the monastery's cultural institution.

Escolania de Montserrat at the Palau de la Música Catalana

The musical daring so beautifully exemplified by Gesualdo's bold chord sequences has always been dominant feature in the cultural life of Montserrat.

In the archives of the Benedictine Monastery on the Serrated Mountain, the oldest manuscritpt of all is the 
Llibre Vermell of Montserrat, which contains 3 part songs dating from the 13th and 14th centuries; these pieces reveal an open-minded attitude towards innovations which even in retrospect seems startling.
This important document on early European polyphony contains amongst other things, five religious dances with detailed choreographic instructions and quite unmistakably encourages the pilgrims not just to pray and sing during vigil, but dance.

Monastery of Montserrat

It would be easy to offer any number of further illustrations of the enterprising and progressive attitudes towards music, which has always prevailed on the mighty rock near Barcelona. It should be enough to point out that all the truly great innovators have cherished their close connections with the monastery - for instance: Picasso, Miro, and Pau Casals, who in this context speaks of one of the most durable bonds in his whole life and makes the plea that -every musician should be familiar with the name of Montserrat, because Montserrat is a vital part of our heritage from the past without which our modern culture would be inconceivable-.



The choir has achieved an exceptionally high standard of singing, largely thanks to the method of training the voices, The Voice of the Singer Child, developed by P.Ireneu Segarra, it has been widely adopted in Spain, Italy and France, and is used by the Vienna Boys Choir and the Regensburger Domspatzen.
The College bears the title of the oldest conservatoire in Europe; in addition to voice training and singing technique its pupils are given a thorough training in at least two instruments, and take courses in theory music, sometimes including composition.
The boys, who are carefully handpicked, enter the Escolania at the age of nine/ten.
In addition to music their training includes the last four years of elementary school work, and closes with recognised high qualifications.
The most gifted musicians in Catalonia have passed through Montserrat, and throughout the whole course of the College's history the finest composers have acted as teachers.
Escolania de Montserrat

Abadia de Montserrat / Escolania de Montserrat
08699 Monestir de Montserrat / Barcelona (SPAIN)