José Antonio Montaño, Carlos Mena & La Madrileña

Biographie José Antonio Montaño, Carlos Mena & La Madrileña

José Antonio Montaño, Carlos Mena & La MadrileñaJosé Antonio Montaño, Carlos Mena & La Madrileña
Carlos Mena
studied at Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel with Richard Levitt and René Jacobs. His many concerts have taken him to the most prestigious venues in the world, such as Konzerthaus in Vienne, Berlin Philharmonic, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Alice Tully Hall at New York’s MET, Kennedy Center in Whashintong, Berliner Philarmoniker, Suntory Hall and Opera City Hall in Tokyo, Osaka Symphony Hall, Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall in Melbourne.

He has performed the operas “Radamisto” by Händel (in the title role) at Felsenreitschule in Salzburg, at Dortmund Konzerthaus, at Musikverein in Vienne, at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Bellas Artes in Mexico City conducted by M. Haselböck and H. Grazer; “Orfeo” by Monteverdi (Speranza) at Festwoche in Innsbruck and at Berlin’s Staatsoper; “Il Trionfo” by Händel (in the role of Disinganno) at Grosses Festspielhaus in Salzburg and “Europera 5” by J. Cage at Flanders Festival.

He has an interest in the lied and contemporary repertoires and has premiered different works by composers like José María Sánchez-Verdú, Gabriel Erkoreka and Alberto Iglesias. He has also conducted the Portuguese Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Ciudad de Granada and Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias with works by Handel, Bach and Mozart

He is currently music and artistic director at Capilla Santa Maria promoted by Fundación Catedral Santa María de Vitoria and directs programmes spanning from the Middle Ages to Classicism at national and international festivals.

La Madrileña
is a Spanish period instrument orchestra, founded and directed by José Antonio Montaño, with a roster of renowned musicians, habitual collaborators in prestigious historicist European orchestras. Its musicians, all respected specialists in historical interpretation, play on period instruments or modern replicas.

La Madrileña takes its name from Vicente Martín y Soler´s first opera Il tutore burlato once it was transformed into a zarzuela. The group focuses on recovering and disseminating the musical heritage of the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries, with special attention to Spanish opera and zarzuela, as well as to the works of foreign composers related to Spain. Playing on instruments specific to the Baroque, Classical and Romantic repertoires, La Madrileña aims for authentic period performances by applying precise historical criteria of interpretation. Their trademark programming features works of Spanish masters alongside those of the great international composers, and in this way they highlight the indisputable stature of Spain’s own composers.

Performances by La Madrileña have been broadcast by the National Radio of Spain and have taken place in such outstanding theaters and auditoriums as the Royal Theater, the National Auditorium, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, the Royal Palace and the Cibeles Palace, all of Madrid. They have participated in and received commissions from such music festivals and cycles as the Symphonic Festival of the Polytechnic University of Madrid, the Patrimonio Nacional (National Heritage) concert series, the Sacred Art Festival of the Community of Madrid, the Festival of Sacred Music of Las Rozas, and the Royal Armory of the Knights of Ronda, Malaga, among others.

La Madrileña, under the musical direction of José Antonio Montaño, recently recorded the “Requiem” of José de Nebra (his Office and Mass for the Dead) under the German recording label Pan Classics. This being the first ever world-class recording of the most important piece of sacred piece of the Spanish Baroque of the 18th Century, La Madrileña has contributed in an extraordinary way to the Spanish music heritage. Critics have called this recording “historic”, “excellent”, “exquisite”, “ideal”, “elegant”, “attentive” and “teeming with subtleties.”

José Antonio Montaño
The Madrilenian José Antonio Montaño is considered among Spain´s most renowned orchestra conductors of the day. Trained by great masters such as Jesús López Cobos, Evelino Pidò and Pinchas Steinberg, he made a name for himself in theaters and auditoriums of international prestige, performing all genres (opera, ballet, symphony and chamber music), and covering an extensive repertoire ranging from the earliest baroque works to world premieres of contemporary works.

Founder and artistic and musical director of La Madrileña period instrument orchestra, Maestro Montaño is also regularly invited to conduct many other orchestras, such as the Orquesta Sinfónica of Madrid, l’Orchestra Sinfonica of Milan «La Verdi», l’Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, Orquesta Sinfónica of Castilla y Leon, Orquesta de la Comunidad in Madrid, Sinfónica of Galicia, l’Orchestra Accademia Teatro alla Scala in Milan, l’Orchestre de l’Opera Royal in Wallonie, l’Orchestre Symphonique of Saint-Etienne, Orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicali, Real Filharmonía of Galicia, Orquesta of Extremadura, Sinfónica of Navarra, Sinfónica of the Region of Murcia, Orquesta of Cordoba, l’Orchestra Filarmonia Veneta, Orquesta Clásica Santa Cecilia, la Orquesta Escuela de la Orquesta Sinfónica in Madrid (principal conductor 2003-2013), Orquesta de la Universidad Carlos III in Madrid (principal conductor 2007-2009), among others.

In Spain he has conducted in such renowned national theaters and auditoriums as Teatro Real, Teatro de la Zarzuela, Teatro Monumental, Teatros del Canal, Teatro Español, Teatro María Guerrero, Fundación Juan March and Auditorio Nacional de Música, all in Madrid; Teatro Arriaga in Bilbao; Palacio de Festivales in Santander; Auditorio Baluarte in Pamplona; Teatro Romano in Merida; Auditorio Ciudad in Leon; Teatro Principal in Mahon; Teatro Colón in La Coruña. In Italy he has conducted in Teatro alla Scala and Largo Mahler Auditorium in Milan, Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, Teatro Valli in Reggio Emilia, Teatro Comunale of Ferrara, Teatro Comunale in Treviso and Palazzo Reale in Naples. In France he has conducted in the Opéra Théâtre of St Etienne. In Russia he has conducted in the Alexandrinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, and in Belgium he has conducted in the Opéra Royal of Wallonie-Liege.

Since 1998, he has been highly active in opera conducting, with a special emphasis on 18th century works, performing in top-ranked theaters both nationally and abroad. Among many others, we mention these outstanding titles: La vera costanza and Il mondo della luna by F. J. Haydn, W. A. Mozart’s Don Giovanni, D. Cimarosa’s Il matrimonio segreto, V. Martín y Soler’s Il tutore burlato, C. Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, H. Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas, J. A. Hasse’s La contadina, G. B. Pergolesi’s La serva padrona, C. de Rossi’s Il sacrificio di Abramo, A. Rodríguez de Hita’s Las labradoras de Murcia, Il barbiere di Siviglia and Il viaggio a Reims by G. Rossini, Don Pasquale and Rita by G. Donizetti, R. Carnicer’s Don Giovanni Tenorio, Bellini’s I Puritani, Puccini´s La Bohème, X. Montsalvatge’s El gato con botas (Puss in Boots), C. del Campo’s Fantochines and The Little Sweep by B. Britten.

Between 2003 and 2013 he worked as principal conductor of the Orquesta Escuela de la Orquesta Sinfónica of Madrid in the Teatro Real, where in addition to training and conducting the orchestra he was the musical director of numerous opera and ballet productions and symphony concerts as well.

He has made several recordings, including Fantochines by Conrado del Campo for Televisión Española and Radio Clásica of Radio Nacional of Spain, the Suite Sevilla for Ballet Nacional of Spain. For the Centro Cultural de la Villa he conducted the soundtrack for the theatrical work Barroco under the stage direction of Tomaz Pandur, which was recorded with the Orquesta Escuela de la Orquesta Sinfónica of Madrid and soloists of the Orquesta Sinfónica of Madrid, gaining him the nomination for a MAX award as best musical director.

With the Ballet Nacional of Spain, Maestro Montaño conducted the following productions: Clásicos de la danza española at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid with the Orquesta de la Comunidad of Madrid in 2012, Medea at the Teatro Romano of Merida with the Orquesta of Extremadura inaugurating the Festival Internacional de Teatro Clásico of Merida in 2013, Suite Sevilla at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa (Italy) with his resident Orchestra in 2014, Zaguán & Alento again at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid with the Orquesta de la Comunidad of Madrid in 2015, and with the Orquesta Sinfónica of the Region of Murcia at the Teatro Víctor Villegas in 2016.

As a composer, Montaño won second prize in the European composition competition Opera J for his children’s opera Hamelin City. The Centro Dramático Nacional commissioned him to write the music for the drama Flor de Otoño by J. M. Rodríguez Méndez, with stage direction by Ignacio García and its performance in Madrid at the Teatro María Guerrero. The Coro de Cámara de Madrid commissioned him with the composition of Arrión on the occassion of the XVI Canto Coral Great National Prize.

His interest and love for research and historical interpretation saw the light with the creation of La Madrileña, an orchestra of period instruments, with which he has recovered some excellent examples of the repertoire of 18th Century Spain; special attention being paid to sacred music, as well as baroque opera and zarzuela by composers born in or with close relationships to Spain. After his debut concert in the Real Academia de Bellas Artes of San Fernando, broadcasted on Spain´s National Radio, he conducted La Madrileña in eminent venues such as the Teatro Real of Madrid, National Music Auditorium of Madrid and the Palacio de Cibeles.

In 2018, in honor of the 250th anniversary of the death of José de Nebra, he was commissioned by the Festival de Arte Sacro of the Community of Madrid to conduct José de Nebra’s Requiem Mass, which he performed combining the talents of La Madrileña, the Coro Victoria and the Schola Antiqua. He also conducted a program based on de Nebra’s zarzuelas with La Madrileña and soprano Susana Cordón as a featured performance in the XIX Semana de la música de la Real Maestranza de Caballería in Ronda. Montaño and his orchestra performed as part of the 2018-19 season of the Ciclo Sinfónico de la Universidad Politécnica of Madrid with a program of works by Mozart, Haydn and Martín y Soler in the symphony hall of the Auditorio Nacional de Música of Madrid. In 2020 he and La Madrileña debuted their first recording with the world premiere recording of the Oficio y Misa de difuntos by José de Nebra (Requiem). Published on the German record label Pan Classics, it received excellent reviews in the media.

In 2021, the BBVA Foundation bestowed upon Montaño its prestigious Leonardo Grant aimed at researchers and creators of culture in the Musical Direction category and Opera. Thanks to this award, Montaño has been able to produce the first ever recording of Francesco Corselli‘s sacred works in Latin for alto, overseeing a collaboration of La Madrileña and countertenor Carlos Mena. The recording will also include instrumental works of Giovanni Battista Sammartini and Mauro D´Alay.

As a specialist in music of the 18th Century, José Antonio Montaño has been collaborating since January 2021 with the research team of the Didone Project of the Instituto Complutense of Musical Sciences of the University Complutense of Madrid. The Didone Project, headed by musicologist Álvaro Torrente and supported finanancially by the Europe Council of Research, has as its principle objective the creation of a corpus of 4,000 digitalized arias that come from 200 opera scores based on the eight most popular plays of Metastasio.

His great commitment to Spanish music has characterized José Antonio Montaño´s entire career. He has conducted music from his homeland not only in Spain but also in Italy (in the Teatro La Scala with its Academy Orchestra and Auditorium Largo Mahler with the Symphonic Orchestra of Milan; in the Teatro Carlo Fenice de Genoa with the National Ballet of Spain) and in the Alexandrinski Theatrer in St. Petersburg, Russia. With La Madrileña he has done modern day premieres of the music of Martín y Soler. He has performed the musicological task of recovering and editing scores such as Fantochines by Conrado del Campo (1878-1953) as well as conducting utter world premieres of the ballet El Laboratorio del Dr. Fausto by Fernando Palacios in Teatro Real of Madrid, and La Chute de la Maison Usher by José María Sánchez-Verdú with the Symphonic Orchestra of Milan in 2019.

It is essential to highlight Montaño´s outstanding work as an educator. From 2003 to 2013, Montaño served as the musical director of the Youth Orchestra of the Teatro Real of Madrid, where he worked with the Madrid Symphony Orchestra and its Student Orchestra. Acting in this capacity, he was in charge of various opera studio projects and concerts, and he helped develop the entire educational project, including the curriculum. He continues to be invited to conduct youth orchestras such as l’Orchestra Accademia del Teatro La Scala of Milan, the Forum Musikae High School of Music or the High Performance Advanced School Of Music (ESMAR), not to mention as well by top conservatories where he gives courses in conducting and for opera professionals, singers, conductors and pianists. He has been the titular head of the Orchestra of the University of Carlos III in Madrid where he was in charge of the musical training and development of the Orchestra. Starting in 2021 he is working as a professor in the Forum Musikae High School of Music where he directs the symphony orchestra.

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