The Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, has presided over the signing of the agreement between the Obra Pía de los Santos Lugares (Pious Work of the Holy Places) and the Community of Madrid to organise joint activities with the organ of the Royal Basilica of Saint Francis the Great, through the Royal Conservatory of Music of Madrid.
The collaboration between the Obra Pía and the Royal Conservatory will allow Saint Francis the Great to play a greater role in the cultural life of Madrid, opening the Basilica’s doors to its citizens and visitors. Organ classes or seminars can now also be held in the temple to showcase the reality of the work and music of the organist’s profession.
The signing of the agreement, which has no financial cost for the institutions involved, was attended by the President of the Obra Pía and Under-Secretary of the Ministry, Luis Manuel Cuesta Civis, and the Regional Minister of Education, Science and Universities of the Community of Madrid, Emilio Viciana Duro.
The agreement provides for the assignment of the Basilica's organ to the organ chair of the Royal Conservatory of Music of Madrid, which implies the organisation of educational recitals with its students, the organisation of annual cycles of organ concerts, as well as other promotional musical activities related to the temple.
The agreement also designates the organ professor of the Royal Conservatory of Music of Madrid as the tenured organist of the Royal Basilica. The position, honorary in nature and without remuneration, involves advising the Obra Pía on all matters related to organ maintenance.
The organ of the Royal Basilica of Saint Francis the Great, built in the late 19th century by the manufacturer Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, is an instrument of exceptional quality that the Obra Pía seeks to highlight as a leading asset in the temple/museum.
Its perfect state of preservation has allowed it to be used in the two Christmas concerts of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation held in 2022 and 2023, and in the First Cycle of Organ Concerts in October last year, which featured prestigious performers from several European conservatories.
Following the signing of the agreement, Miguel Bernal Ripoll, professor of organ at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid, performed a piece by the Spanish composer and musician Jesús Guridi for attendees.