Jordi Savall, Hespèrion XXI & Carlos Núñez in San Francisco
Early music performer Jordi Savall is joined by Galician Bagpiper Carlos Núñez and an ensemble of wind players, harp and bodhran, to trace the route of Celtic migration, from Ireland to Iberia, through music.
Early music titan and visionary performer Jordi Savall makes his SF Performances debut at Herbst Theatre with his Celtic Universe program, collaborating with Carlos Núñez and an ensemble of wind players, harp and bodhran. Together they trace the route of Celtic migration, from Ireland to Iberia, through music.
For more than 50 years, Jordi Savall, one of the most versatile musical personalities of his generation, has rescued musical gems from the obscurity of neglect and oblivion and given them back for all to enjoy. A tireless researcher into early music, he interprets and performs the repertory both as a gambist and a conductor. His activities as a concert performer, teacher, researcher and creator of new musical and cultural projects have made him a leading figure in the reappraisal of historical music. Together with Montserrat Figueras, he founded the ensembles Hespèrion XXI (1974), La Capella Reial de Catalunya (1987) and Le Concert des Nations (1989), with whom he explores and creates a world of emotion and beauty shared with millions of early music enthusiasts around the world.
Savall has recorded and released more than 230 albums covering the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical music repertories, with a special focus on the Hispanic and Mediterranean musical heritage, receiving many awards and distinctions such as the Midem Classical Award, the International Classical Music Award and the Grammy Award. His concert programs have made music an instrument of mediation to achieve understanding and peace between different and sometimes warring peoples and cultures. Accordingly, guest artists appearing with his ensembles include Arab, Israeli, Turkish, Greek, Armenian, Afghan, Mexican and North American musicians. In 2008 Jordi Savall was appointed European Union Ambassador for intercultural dialogue and, together with Montserrat Figueras, was named Artist for Peace under the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors program.
Hespèrion XXI is the leading early music organization of the Iberian peninsula. It is a small mixed ensemble of about 12 players and singers and varies somewhat depending on the repertory chosen. The founders of the group were bowed string instrument player Jordi Savall, vocalist Montserrat Figueras, plucked string instrument player Hopkinson Smith, and flutist/percussionist Lorenzo Alpert. Savall has been the musical director of Hespèrion since the beginning.
From the beginning, in 1974, the group has performed in dozens of countries in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia, and in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. It is a frequent guest artist at major music festivals of the world. In 1987, the members of Hespèrion XX became the core of a larger formation, La Capella Reial de Catalunya (Royal Chapel Choir of Catalonia) and, in 1989, the Baroque orchestra Le Concert des Nations. Both groups enjoyed a growth of success and accomplishment similar to that of the original Hespèrion. Meanwhile, Hespèrion XXI continues to give about 100 concerts annually, often mixing the music of different cultures or including a narrative based on literature or a historical event.
Carlos Nuñez is the world’s most famous player of the gaita, the bagpipes of Galicia, Spain’s northwest, Atlantic Ocean-abutting region rich in vibrant, uniquely expressive Celtic traditional music. Born in 1971 and raised in the Galician port of Vigo, where he initially picked up the gaita at age eight, Nuñez both embodies and reflects the irrepressible spirit of his native music. But he also understands the pitfalls of traditional music becoming incrementally complacent in approach and insulated from innovation. Under those conditions, even the heartiest music can eventually slip into predictability. Nuñez respects and seeks to safeguard Galicia’s musical legacy while also skillfully exploring fresh, fascinating realms of possibility for it. All of that can be heard on his new CD, Inter-Celtic, released by Sony Music on February 10, 2018.