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Centro de Divulgación Musical del Mediterráneo

“Our daily struggle is to break the tendency to say I don’t understand classical music“. María Testa, founder of the Centro de Divulgación Musical del Mediterráneo is working to spread her love of classical music along the Costa del Sol by organizing concerts and festivals. under the title Música con encanto from her base-camp in Marbella.

By:  Laura Gris
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EventsFind out what’s on! Check out our events guide for Andalusia.
Centre for the dissemination of classical music
Founded: 2004
Founded by: María Testa
Location: Marbella (Malaga)
Stands out for: creating a home for classical music
Did you know? we give away tickets for their concerts in our competitions

Immersing oneself in the sounds of classical music isn’t so easy these days. There are few venues and cultural centers dedicated to the genre or whose walls resonate with the sounds of Bach, Shostakovich, Schubert or Mozart, especially on the Costa del Sol. In 2004 an Argentinian pianist created a musical project in Marbella that brought together her love of live music with her desire to educate the public. It was called the Centro de Divulgación del Mediterráneo.

Música con encanto is a series of events that bring national and international pianists and musicians to perform in some of the most enchanting nooks and crannies of Marbella, such as the charming chapel located in one of its original urbanizations called La Virginia. Thanks to Testa, Alma Mater of the project, these events are amongst the best in the province.

Q: What motivated you to cross the Atlantic and continue your musical career in Spain?

A: I was studying Musical Arts and Sciences in the University of Buenos Aires and I applied to a scholarship with Ramón Coll in the Conservatorio Superior de Sevilla. I didn’t quite have the skill he required from his pupils and so I set to work as I had never done before. Three months later he accepted me. That was one one of the most musically happy periods in my life.

musica con encanto

Q: The Centro de Divulgación Musical del Mediterráneo was founded in 2004. What was it’s objective back then and what is it now?

A: I’d been mulling over the idea in my mind for quite a while. In 2004 I had a very clear notion of what I wanted to do. As time goes by we are accomplishing these objectives, though a little slower than I might have hoped. Don’t forget that the Costa del Sol, and Marbella in particular, isn’t a location bursting with classical music aficionados. That’s why, besides the concerts, we had to create all sorts of parallel activities to educate our public. Luckily we’ve always had the support of local institutions such as the Delegación Municipal de Cultura and private sponsors who have allowed us to grow and consolidate.

Q: Concerts, musical documentary film screenings, the Festival Verano Clásico… Your events program is continually evolving. Why do you think you’ve managed to find a niche in a city like Marbella?

A: I’ve lived in Marbella since 1983. My heart, my family, my friends, my work and my desire to share knowledge is wrapped up in this city. It isn’t an easy location for this kind of project, but important work never comes easy.

Q: How would you define your audience?

A: In the beginning we were about thirty or forty friends and friends of friends. They supported the project and they continue to do so. Bit by bit the audience grew and we started to see new faces. That was an indication that we were doing something right. These days we have an eclectic audience made up of all sorts of nationalities and ages. We continue to see more young people, which shows that we are achieving our objectives. They attend our concerts from all over the Costa del Sol: as far afield as Nerja and Gibraltar. People come to share in the music. This is a fabulous, intense and unforgettable way to experience music.

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Q: How may stigmas does classical music need to battle to increase its loyal followers?

A: Our daily struggle is to break the tendency to say “I don’t understand classical music. And we’re winning the battle. It’s extremely satisfactory.

Q: Is there a new generation ready and waiting to replace the old at your concerts?

A: Rather than replace I’d call it interact. The different generations enrich each other. In the last couple of seasons we’ve seen more young people and families with children attending our concerts. That’s why we’ve modified our prices to create discounts for under 18’s, 12’s and other groups.

Q: Since 2008 the Centro de Divulgación Musical del Mediterráneo runs the Pequeña Orquesta del Mediterráneo. What do you gain from working with little ones?

A: The formation of the Pequeña Orquesta del Mediterráneo has been a turning point for our organization. It has added a new diminution to the project and allowed us to see things from a new perspective. We are constantly learning from them. It isn’t a luxury, it is a communal cultural heritage for society at large.

Q: Carmen Yepes, Soo Jung-Ann, Nozomi Nakagiri, Filipe Pinto-Ribeiro, Natalia Kuchaeva, Christian Poltéra… Some of the most well-known national and international names have performed at Música con Encanto. Is the Centro de Divulgación Musical del Mediterráneo a point of reference?

A: Música con Encanto is a series of events that highlights the role of the piano in music, while it is obviously not the only instrument we feature. As a pianist my heart lies with the piano, but we shouldn’t forget that the piano is also an orchestral instrument that can be used for solo work and chamber music alongside other instruments. Don’t forget that Marbella doesn’t have it’s own orchestra so the piano is, musically speaking, a fundamental instrument for the local events guide.

Thanks to the musicians who we are lucky enough to include on our programme we can now say that Música con Encanto is a point of reference on the Costa del Sol due to its high standards, as recognized by Daniel Barenboim when he accepted the Honorary Presidency of the project in 2010.

Q: What changes inside you when you’re sitting in front of the piano as a part of your Dío del Sol?

A: When I sit at a piano a window opens in my soul allowing joy inside. Over time one wants to share the joy and the Dúo del Sol has given me the chance to do so. It is amazing to make music with other people. It creates an indestructible union between us. Music makes me a better person.

Q: Who would you like to bring to the stage over the coming seasons?

A: Talented musicians of the kind we’ve become accustomed. It is obviously exciting to include international musicians such as Fazil Say, Lang Lang and Martha Argerich. There are innumerable names I’d love to include on our programme, but I need to make sure our audience is prepared first. They’ll come when the time is right, that i’m sure of. In the mean time we will continue to invite excellent musicians to perform in Marbella.

Q: What added value does Música con Encanto have to offer the events calendar on the Costa del Sol?

A: We’ve created an ambitious cultural space. We don’t just organize concerts. We help the public develop and expand their musical appreciation. In a society in which leisure time is paramount, music serves to enrich, particularly during an economic crisis.

Q: Do you plan to expand outside of Malaga province?

A: We have organized some events outside of Malaga, in places such as Seville, Cordoba and Almeria, but we are currently expanding the project in Marbella itself and I think it would be a mistake to expand to more locations right now. We are a small team and we need to grow according to our energy and budget.

Q: What does music mean to you?

A: Music is my life. If I were to be reborn, I would be a musician.


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