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Each year during the month of July, the Santander Encounter of Music and Academy brings great international masters from the world of music together with tomorrow’s up-and-coming talents and, in turn, joins all of them with the public. It is the Encounter’s artistic director, orchestra director Péter Csaba, who chooses every participant by means of auditions held at the most prestigious schools in Europe. In Santander, about sixty of these young people work in the morning with teachers in masterclasses and rehearsals, and then share the stage with them in the afternoon in a series of very special concerts, where the experience of one and the energy of the other combine to produce music of extraordinary intensity. The Encounter pays travel and accommodation expenses for the participants, who also receive artistic help for their concert performances.

The Encounter is a project promoted jointly by the Government of Cantabria and the Fundación Albéniz, under the organization of the Reina Sofía School of Music and the collaboration of Santander City Council. Its origin dates back to 2001, the year in which the Foundation proposed it as a way to fill the gap found in the month of July in the musical life of Cantabria, right before the Santander International Festival taking place in August, with musical excellence.

Since its inception, and thanks to an innovative and imaginative programme, the event has received a warm welcome not only from the public in Santander but also from all of Cantabria. In some editions, the Encounter has a resident composer who presents their compositions personally to both the participants and the public. Big names in international composition, such as John Corigliano, Sofia Gubaidulina, Luis de Pablo, Krzysztof Penderecki and Péter Eötvös, have been resident composers at the Encounter. Additionally, the last two have taken on a dual role, adding direction of the opening concert to their work as composers/directors.

The Academy

The academic program at the Encounter takes place in the classrooms at the Conservatorio Jesús de Monasterio in Santander, where more than two dozen invited masters, all of them internationally renowned figures, work closely with students in master classes and rehearsals. The Encounter places great emphasis on the educational value of music as collaborative work, whether in chamber groups or in orchestras. Thus, apart from giving instrument classes, the teachers coordinate the chamber work of the participating groups, where they get involved as if they were one more musician.

The concerts

The result of the work in the classroom later shifts to a series of concerts where teachers and students share the stage. The concert programme takes place throughout the month of July in the city of Santander in the Argenta and Pereda Halls of the Palacio de Festivales and in the Palacio de la Magdalena, as well as in various spaces distributed across some twenty locations throughout Cantabria: from churches and auditoriums to theatres and cultural centres.

In addition to hosting concerts featuring soloists, the region’s different scenarios provide a space for the chamber and orchestral formations that have come about at the Academy. As such, the public can enjoy a varied and extensive musical repertoire that the Encounter’s artistic direction take responsibility for choosing themselves. Traditionally, the Encounter opens with a symphony orchestra project and later includes various programmes for chamber orchestra.


The Board of Trustees of the Centre for Musical Studies

The Board of Trustees of the Isaac Albéniz Centre for Musical Studies in Santander is the highest governing body for the two activities of the Albéniz Foundation in the Cantabrian capital: the Encounter of Music and Academy and the International Piano Competition. It is made up of representatives from leading Cantabrian institutions and entities who, with your support, make this project possible.


President of Honour

H.R.H. Infanta Doña Margarita de Borbón, Duquesa de Soria


Paloma O'Shea


Representing Public Institutions


María José Sáenz de Buruaga, President of the Government of Cantabria

Eva Guillermina Fernández, Counselor of Culture, Tourism and Sports of the Government of  Cantabria

Sergio Silva, Counsellor of Education, Professional Training and Universities of the Government of Cantabria

Gema Igual, Mayor of Santander

Carlos Andradas Heranz, Dean of the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo

Ángel Pazos, Dean of the Universidad de Cantabria


Representing Private Institutions

Vanda Martins, General Director of Fundación EDP

Charo Baqué, CEO of Grupo Dromedario

Santiago Díaz, President of Grupo Empresarial SADISA, S.L.

Manuel Iturbe, Territorial Director of Banco Santander in Cantabria and Asturias

Javier González Portilla, President of Grupo Tirso

Roberto González Portilla, CEO of Grupo Tirso

Mariano Linares, Honorary President of Editorial Cantabria

Alfredo Pérez, Co-president of Grupo PITMA

Tomás Dasgoas, President of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Navigation of Cantabria

Julia Sánchez Abeal, CEO of the Fundación Albéniz


On an Individual Basis

Elena García Botín

Annelies Kaufmann

Manuel Huerta

Rafael Segura



Álvaro Guibert