MSE Portugal and Spain tour 2010
Tour Summary and Dates:
On Thursday, 24th of June 2010 the MSE left Melbourne airport, bound for Singapore. From Singapore began the long trek to Amsterdam, where after boarding a short flight the group arrived in Barcelona. After being coached to Manresa, we flew to Granada. Seville and Lisbon were next in line as the exciting and culturally dissimilar tour drew to a close, arriving in Melbourne at 5 am on Tuesday, 13th of July.
During the course of the trip the ensemble played with orchestras in Manresa and Lisbon, with Seville and Granada reserved for sightseeing. Players attended valuable masterclasses with reputable teachers and had lots of fun besides.
In July 2010, 16 players from the MSE flew to Spain and Portugal for 19 days of music, fun and hard work. They attended masterclasses with leading teachers and were lucky enough to visit sights like the Alhambra, Spain and Sintra, Portugal.
Our first destination was Manresa, a small town 2 hours away from Barcelona. We visited the Basilica de Santa Maria, the Pont Vel and Montserrat. Our wonderful host families were very hospitable. We played with the orchestra at the Conservatori Muncipal de Musica and many friendships were made. Our first concert was played with the Manresans and the MSE benefited from masterclasses with Jordi Coll.
Next stop-Barcelona. We visited La Sagrada Familia, the markets and shops on Las Ramblas, Parc Guell and the Palau de la Musica. This palace is an amazing tribute to music. We played our second concert for Mercedes Benz in their showroom and explored the vibrant hub of everything that is Barcelona.
We then moved on to Granada, where our prime goal was to visit the Alhambra. An oasis in the city, the Alhambra sports the Nasrid Palaces, Generalife Gardens and the Alcazaba, or Red Fort. We were in awe of the intricately carved buildings and the lush greenery surrounding us on every side. A short trip to the beautiful but dissused Cartujan Monastery and a taste of the fiery flamenco saw the end of our stay in Granada.
Laid back, yet fast paced and moving, Seville was alive and blew us away. The Alcazar Gardens were beautiful, with flowering gardens and calm ponds. Those who wished to, attended Mass at the Seville Cathedral, resting place of Columbus and the third largest cathedral in the world! The Seville bullring is the oldest in the world and is still the centre for live bullfights. We visited the museum and got a real taste of the nature of bullfighting. Our hotel was in uproar when we arrived back because Spain was playing Paraguay in the World Cup!
After an 8 hour bus trip, the MSE left Seville and arrived in Lisbon, Portugal. The temperature slowly rose and hot, exhausted players were greeted at the School of Music with drinks and welcome band! Players stayed with host families and attended masterclasses as well as playing three exciting and memorable concerts. Highlights of our stay in Portugal were the Medieval Market (which was a step back in time) and Sintra. At Sintra we visited the Red Fort, the 9th Century Moorish Castle and the Sintra National Palace. St Jorge Castle was another ancient building that the MSE visited and the city itself was great for shopping.
The MSE’s Spain and Portugal Tour 2010 was a memorable experience for all involved. We experienced the local culture and cuisine firsthand, performed wonderful concerts at great venues and forged many friendships.