Crisis and music in Spain: comments on an interview and a concert on Europe’s Music Day

In an interview with Radio Nacional de España (RNE) Radio Clásica a few minutes ago, Ana Guijarro, Director of the Royal Conservatory of Music of Madrid, has deplored the impact of the crisis on the institutions that she manages, which she has qualified of “very serious”.

In addition to describing the critical situation of the Conservatory’s assistant professors, who are not going to be paid for the summer months, she also criticised the fact that the education provided by her institution does not have the adequate recognition and validation.

Mrs Guijarro has criticised the imbalance between the amount of academic demand and pressure placed in her institution, that is required to carry out an important amount of research, and the reduced means at its disposal.

The pianist has made an “appeal to the authorities” for them to bear in mind the consequences of the cuts not only in her institution but also in the Spanish cultural sphere as a whole.

A few moments later, the same radio channel broadcasts live from the opening of the 63rd edition of Granada’s International Festival of Music. During a conversation with the main organiser of the event, we learn that the budget for the festival has been reduced by 30% this year … .

Listening to Wagner’s overture of Tannhäuser in this longest day of a sad year for Spain and many European countries, I am moved at the thought that the melancholy of the music might be bringing new meaning to many Spaniards traumatised by the economic crisis and budgetary cuts. A romantic German resounding in the setting of the Nazari palaces of Granada – long live Europe, long live peace and brotherhood among peoples, made tangible through the universality of music.

NB: Apparently, according to another interview in the same radio channel this morning, at the moment Wagner music recordings are those most sought after in Spain, after those of Beethoven … .