The maestro, who was the conductor of the island group between 1968 and 1985, will go before the orchestra next week


The Island Council wishes to pay tribute to  Armando Alfonso in the  year that he will turn 90 with an extraordinary concert by the Tenerife Symphony on Friday [29th] at 7:30 p.m. in Auditorio de Tenerife. The maestro, who was the conductor of the island group between 1968 and 1985, will go before the orchestra next week.

The details of this concert were announced today [21st] by the president of the Island Council, Pedro Martín; the vice-president and councillor for Culture Enrique Arriaga and by Armando Alfonso himself, who has designed a programme for the occasion that includes Suite No. 3 in D major (Aria), by Johann Sebastian Bach; Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky; and Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73, by Johannes Brahms.

Mr. Martín explained, "we have made a great effort to keep this concert because it is a way to recognise one of the most distinguished people who has ever passed through the Tenerife Symphony". "To think that a person who has retired from the world of culture cannot contribute anything would be a very grave mistake," added the president of the Island Council, considering that this concert is "a beautiful way to combat the permanent sadness that we face daily in this pandemic" and hoping that tickets are sold out.

Likewise, Enrique Arriaga reminded us that "not everything is bad news and today a concert will be presented that will feature the invaluable direction of Mr. Armando Alfonso as conductor at the unbeatable price of five euros". Arriaga noted that "the Auditorium's protocols allow for safe cultural programming at any alert level." He also made reference to the honouree: “Armando Alfonso was the main conductor of the Canary Islands Chamber Orchestra –called the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra from 1970 onwards– for seventeen years, a period in which the island group would expand its repertoire extraordinarily and, in fact, during this time more than a hundred pieces were performed for the first time by the orchestra”.

Alfonso noted that “it is always a pleasure to be in front of the orchestra because I consider it a part of me, and it is one of the most prestigious orchestras in Spain”. He added, “this concert is very special for me because there are circumstances surrounding it that don't typically coincide: my ninetieth year of life, which not everyone can say they live to; the fact that the orchestra is paying tribute to me by having me direct a concert; the fact that the symphony is celebrating 50 years with its current name; and the fact that two months ago my wife passed away and this concert is a ceremony that I want to give to her, in her memory". Alfonso explained that "one piece of the programme, the first, is specially designed for her, being an Aria by Bach, and the rest of the programme is also of utmost musical quality – even for those who are not used to classical music”.

In 1970, Alfonso was appointed professor of Harmony, Counterpoint and Fugue, and Composition at the Santa Cruz de Tenerife Higher Conservatory of Music. In 2002, he was elected academic of the San Miguel Arcángel Royal Canarian Academy of Fine Arts.

Alfonso studied piano and composition at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid, expanding his studies at the Higher National Conservatory of Paris, where he received instruction in conducting.

He got his start in conducting with the Spanish ballets of Pilar López and María Rosa, with whom he travelled through Spain, Europe, and Asia. He has also led some of the most important Spanish musical groups, among which are the National Orchestra and the Spanish Radio Television Symphony Orchestra, in addition to carrying out his work in France, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Ireland, Czechoslovakia, the United States, Mexico, and Japan.

As a composer, Alfonso has tackled different genres and instrumental combinations. His pieces have been performed in Spain, France, and Italy, and some of his pieces have been recorded as part of the La creación musical en Canarias("Music Creation in the Canary Islands") collection.

The programme

In 1730, Johann Sebastian Bach composed Suite No. 3 in D major (Aria), BWV 1068, for orchestra and it is one of the best known orchestral pieces by the Teutonic composer. The piece is an Italian-style adagio that contrasts with the French style of the suite's first movement, highlighting in its development the melodic lines of the violin and viola, a conversation that is interwoven with the main melody.

Based on the play of the same name by William Shakespeare, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky composed Romeo and Juliet in 1869 – an instrumental drama in which he depicts the tragedy of the lovers from Verona. The version subtitled as an Overture-Fantasy is a revision of the original score which the Russian author rewrote in 1879 after the piece's poor reception at different European venues. One of the most curious harmonic devices employed by Tchaikovsky is the alternate use of two dissonant chords that symbolise the impossible love of the protagonists.

During the summer of 1877, and while visiting the Austrian Alps, Johannes Brahms composed Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73. Branded by the author himself as "melancholic music, although at the same time cheerful”, the piece takes place in an apparently bucolic atmosphere, preserving the usual form of a classical symphony in four movements.

Tickets can be purchased at a single price of 5 euros on the website and by phone dialling 5 317 327 from Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. They can also be obtained by going to the box office at the same time by appointment.  Appointments can be requested on and by dialling 922 568 625 from Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The audience is requested to arrive at the venue well in advance to enter the auditorium in staggered "waves and enjoy of this cultural experience. By purchasing tickets, you accept of the measures implemented by the cultural centre of the Island Council to combat COVID-19, such as the correct only masks and attendance to the event only with people you are living with. All of the measures, as well as the contingency plan certified by AENOR, can be consulted on our website.