Welcome to Madrid & Barcelona
Visiting Spain opens a window into a country of rich culture, character and festivity. Undeniably unique in so many ways, Spain has been one of the major cultural centers of Europe for thousands of years. Its extraordinary artistic heritage extends from grand achievements in painting, architecture and music. Renowned painters such as El Greco, Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso transformed trends in art. It was in Andalusia that the first guitar was invented in the 1790s. Later, Andres Segovia of Spain took this invention to new heights by establishing the classical guitar as a genre. Paco de Lucia eventually became the best-known flamenco guitarist in the world.
Music is at the heart of Spanish culture and the country has had an important impact on the western musical tradition. Though best known for traditions like flamenco and the Spanish guitar, Spanish music varies greatly from region to region. When traveling to such areas as Madrid and Barcelona, these distinctive sounds and characteristics can be heard on the streets and in the concert halls. Reflected in that music is the culture of people who find this expression integral to their lives and wellbeing. Enjoy a concert tour of Spain, and let yourself by immersed in all that Spain has to offer as you share your music with local people.
Depart North America for Madrid, Spain.
Welcome to Madrid! Enjoy an introduction to Spain’s vibrant capital city with a guided tour including iconic sights such as Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, home of Real Madrid CF; Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas, Madrid’s famous bullring; and the gorgeous Palacio Real, official residence of the Spanish royal family. Conclude your tour in Plaza Mayor, Madrid’s colorful main square in the heart of its historic center.
Check in to your hotel and take time to relax and refresh. Rehearsal can be arranged.
Tonight, a welcome dinner of local specialties is served as your tour manager previews the days ahead.
Begin your first full day in Madrid at one of the city’s renowned museums in its Golden Triangle of Art. Choose between Museo del Prado, Madrid’s best-known museum with an immense collection of classical art; or Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, where Picasso’s impassioned denunciation of war and fascism, Guernica, resides; or Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, offering an eclectic display of art from one of the most important private collections in the world.
Midday, discover the city’s barrios, which range from hipster to posh and literary. Pop in and out of corner shops and visit landmarks of personal interest such as the opera house, royal palace and rooftop vantage points.
At night, perform a concert in a fabulous venue such as La Almudena, Madrid’s Cathedral, the spectacular temple of Real Oratorio or any number of musical theaters where public performances are welcomed and well attended.
Today, embark on a guided excursion to Toledo, a beautiful medieval “city of three cultures” where Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities peacefully co-existed for centuries.
Sitting atop a gorge surrounded by synagogues, the massive cathedral, military fortifications, churches and monastery, Toledo is resplendent with historic sites and photo opportunities.
After a thrilling day in Toledo, return to Madrid, where tickets for a zarzuela (Spanish operetta) or Flamenco show can be arranged.
Leave Madrid and travel by fast train to Barcelona, capital of the autonomous region of Catalonia.
Upon arrival, enjoy a guided tour of some of the city’s major highlights. See renowned masterpieces of architect Antoni Gaudi, including the fanciful Sagrada Família Cathedral and gorgeous mosaic sculptures of Park Guell.
Later, perform a concert in a special venue such as Santa Maria Monastery, the University of Barcelona, or Basilica del Pi, known for fine acoustics. Dinner can be arranged upon request.
This morning, enjoy an excursion to Montserrat, a religious complex set in some of the most spectacular mountainous scenery in the country and home to Escolania, one of the oldest boy choirs in Europe. While there, your ensemble may be asked for a choral offering in the splendid Basilica of the Black Madonna.
In the afternoon, return to Barcelona to further explore the lively market street of Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter where Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia sits amidst cafes, galleries and charming shops.
Tonight, participate in a friendship concert with a local ensemble followed by time to mingle and exchange with the Catalan singers.
Start the day with a tour of Palau de Música Catalana Barcelona, one of the world’s most stunning houses of music and a beloved cultural landmark of the city.
Afterwards, shop for souvenirs and culinary delights in the local marketplaces and crafts studios. Weather permitting, you might even enjoy time on the beach!
This evening, a festive farewell dinner is served to your ensemble with opportunity to recount the many highlights of your time in Spain!
Return home with wonderful memories of your concert tour.
FRIENDSHIP CONCERTS IN SPAIN
Our friendship concerts are a featured experience on our tours and are at the heart of our mission to foster cultural connections through music. We benefit from a vast international network in the choral world built over our thirty years' experience of helping choirs share their music both in the United States and abroad. Your choir will share a venue and a concert program with a host choir from the region. Your singers will have the chance to hear their host choir's repertoire (often showcasing local musical styles) and to share your own repertoire in turn. Fellowship time usually follows the friendship concert, giving both choirs the chance to mingle and enjoy the camaraderie of creating cross-cultural connections through a shared love of music.
In the center of the Iberian Peninsula sits Madrid, the “city of great monuments,” and Spain’s glorious capital. Madrid is a lively metropolis, a cosmopolitan city that serves as the headquarters for the Spanish Parliament and home of the Spanish Royal Family. Many visitors come to Madrid to witness firsthand the renowned art palaces and museums, namely the Prado, the Thyssen and the Reina Sofia, but are pleased to find a multitude of other attractions housed here. With an exceptional music scene, fine restaurants, astonishing art galleries and amazing 17th and 18th century Baroque and neoclassical structures such as Plaza Mayor and Palacio Real, there is something in Madrid for every avid seeker.
When visiting Madrid, an excursion to historic Toledo is a special experience. Sitting upon a large hill draped over a dramatic gorge, Roman baths, mosques, sword factories and art museums mix with Gothic spires and Moorish-inspired gates in this fascinating city. Historically home of the Spanish Catholic Church, Toledo has been where Muslims, Christians and Jews have lived together harmoniously in its labyrinth of streets. Today, walking through Toledo is like taking a step back in time in a living museum.
On the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, along the northeastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula lies Barcelona, the second largest city in Spain and the capital of Catalonia. Barcelona is unequivocally a Mediterranean city, not only because of its geographic location, but because of its history, traditions and cultural influences. Barcelona is more than just a single city, but rather a collection of multifaceted and diverse cities that all function together to create its unique appeal and cultural atmosphere. Its fabulous architecture, brilliant Spanish cuisine, flamboyant culture and wonderful weather all combine to make Barcelona a truly magnificent place to visit.