The 63rd Santander International Festival immerses Cantabria in music

In August, Santander is synonymous with culture. Since 1948 the region has hosted the Santander International Festival, attended by world-renowned artists who over the years have left a lasting impression.

Once again, this is the 63rd edition, music will once again fill churches, parks, palaces and even caves. During the whole month of August the residents of Santander and the tourists visiting the city can enjoy dance, theatre, music, ballet, opera and solo recitals. Music from all over the world performed in the historic settings of the region, as well as in the Palacio de Festivales of Cantabria.

Bilbao Symphony Orchestra, participating in the 63rd International Festival of Santander. / Photo: Facebook Santander International Festival.*Bilbao Symphony Orchestra,competitor in the 63rd Santander International Festival. / Photo: Facebook Santander International Festival.

The 63rd edition of the Santander International Festival includes seven symphonic concerts, two ballets, five solo recitals, four concerts of chamber and early music, 24 concerts in historic settings and two shows for the family.

It’s a programme that includes concerts from traditional artists such as pianist Emanuel Ax or the world premiere of ‘Twelve Piano Studies’, by Miguel Farías Vázquez. But it also welcomes the avant-garde and groundbreaking works, with the presence of Ara Malikian and his Orchestra on the Roof. The Lebanese violinist of Armenian origin plays on 11 August in the Palacio de Festivales, where he’ll show off his unique style and the energy that makes him one of a kind. It’s another side of music, a detour from the everyday on the route towards huge success, combining classical music with physical expression. The artist himself says: “the image of this orchestra and its energy can’t be compared to that of the orchestras we know, always so serious, solemn and stuffy”.

Ara Malikian

* Ara Malikian. / Photo:

In terms of ballet, the festival will see performances from the Spanish National Ballet, performing the Suite Sevilla, by Antonio Najarro, together with Grito, by Antonio Canales, as well as the Víctor Ullate Ballet, performing, among others, the dancer’s latest work: ‘Bolero’.

National Ballet of Spain, 63 participants of the International Festival of Santander. / Photo: Santander International Festival.

*”Grito & Suite Sevilla”, National Ballet of Spain, competitor in the 63rd International Festival of Santander. / Photo: Santander International Festival.

The programme concludes on 31 August with a stellar performance of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Vladimir Jurowski.

The festival has a long history; it started in 1948 with the aim of enriching the cultural offering to the foreign students at the Menéndez Pelayo International University, beginning with musical performances in the cloisters of the Corbán seminary, before expanding to diverse locations such as the atrium of the San Rafael Hospital, the Magdalena Peninsula or the Plaza de la Porticada, considered for forty years “the best location for music” in Spain, with numerous famous artists of the 20th century performing there. The square was relieved of its duties by the Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria, which since 1991 has hosted this great event, that greatly broadens the cultural offering in the region.

*Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria, Santander. / Foto:eldiariomontañ

¿Are you looking for a hotel in Santander?

The hotel Vincci Puertochico 4* is the perfect option to stay if you’re going to the festival. It’s just 400 metres from the Palacio de Festivales, about a five-minute walk.

It’s a charming hotel in the centre of Santander, which looks out over the bay, specifically the ‘Puerto Chico’ marina. A boutique hotel, renovated in 2003, it is ideal if you want to be able to head into the city centre on foot to enjoy the concerts, go shopping or sample Cantabria’s wide gastronomic offering.

Views from the hotel Vincci Puertochico 4* Santander.* Views from the hotel Vincci Puertochico 4* Santander.

Santander is a place to be discovered, one of the most beautiful cities in the north of Spain. So take advantage of your holidays and relax on the Sardinero beach, visit its museums or explore the marvellous world of the region’s pre-historic caves.

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