KUP Taldea was formed in 2003 by a group of young musicians and the conductor Gabriel Baltes, professor of Choral Conducting at MUSIKENE, the Basque Country College of Music (Spain). Is one of the best chamber choirs of Spain.
The members of the ensemble, classically trained musicians with wide-ranging choral experience in spite of their youth, are led by Gabriel Baltes as part of a vocation of quality and ultraprecision, allowing them to perform works of great significance, not only due to their technical complexities, but also because of their musical prestige.
In August 2006, KUP Taldea performed a great number of the sacred a capella works of Aita Donostia (a Basque composer) at a concert as part of a series dedicated to the same composer, organised by Donostia-San Sebastián’s Quincena Musical at the Chillida-Leku Museum (Spain). In November 2007, KUP Taldea released their first CD, “Priez pour paix”, which includes many of Aita Donostia’s sacred a capella works. In 2007, KUP Taldea took part in two festivals in Luxembourg: “De Kenge Maarniche Festival” and “Rencontres Musicales de la Vallée de l’Alzette”. Their performances were a resounding success, resulting in an invitation to participate again in 2010. In the same year, the ensemble gave several high-level performances at local series of concerts in Hondarribia, Irun and Pasai Donibane. In July 2009 KUP Taldea were invited to participate in the “Musique en Morvan ”festival (16th-25th July), in the French region of Bourgogne, together with the Phillipine Madrigal Singers.
KUP Taldea gave several different concerts in the region (at Autun, Ecuisses, Paray-le-Monial, Quarré-les-Tombes, and Saint-Léger-Sous-Beuvray) to great acclaim from both critics and audiences alike. To conclude this festival, KUP Taldea and the Phillipine Madrigal Singers gave two performances of Haydn’s “The Creation” with orchestral accompaniment at Autun Cathedral and Vézelay Basilica under the baton of Pierre Cao. In March 2010 KUP Taldea performed at the “Rencontres Musicales de la Vallée de l'Alzette” festival and “De Klenge Maarniche Festival” in Luxembourg, giving three concerts. 2010 was a year of note for KUP Taldea thanks to their success at the 39th edition of the Florilège Vocal de Tours International Choral Song Competition in Tours(France). The ensemble won Overall First Prize (“Grand Prix de la Ville de Tours”), as well as three first prizes in the categories of Mixed Choirs, Free Expression and Renaissance Programme. Thanks to this victory, KUP Taldea passed through to the final of the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing, which took place the following year on 5th November inTolosa (Basque Country, Spain), together with prize winners from the choral competitions of Arezzo (Italy), Maribor (Slovenia), Debrecen (Hungary), Varna (Bulgaria) and Tolosa.
No choir from the Basque Country had achieved this for twenty years. KUP Taldea began 2011 by participating in the “Classic” series of concerts in Donostia-San Sebastian (Basque Country, Spain), performing Rossini’s “Petite Messe Solemnelle” at the Victoria Eugenia Theatre. 2013 was a year of great note for Kup Taldea, as it saw the ensemble celebrate ten years since its founding. In March the group performed Brahms’ German Requiem, accompanied by piano, and in May they turned their attention to Mozart’s Requiem, together with the Kammerphilharmonia Chamber Orchestra at Donostia-San Sebastián’s Victoria Eugenia Theatre. In August, as part of Donostia-San Sebastian’s “Quincena Musical” (a fortnight of concerts celebrated annually), the choir gave another performance of the Mendelssohn sacred works programme in the nearby town of Orio. The concert was received with great critical acclaim.
The culmination of the tenth anniversary celebrations saw the presentation of the CD “KUP Taldea 10 urte” (10 years), a compilation of recordings from different live performances. 2014 consisted of two very important programmes. Firstly, the ensemble gave two performances of a wonderful, yet demanding a cappella programme in Anglet (French Basque Country) and Donostia-San Sebastian: Frank Martin’s Mass for Double Choir and Ildebrando Pizzetti’s Requiem. Secondly, together with Bayonne’s Orchestre Régional Bayonne-Côte Basque and the Bayonne Conservatoire Choir, KUP Taldea performed Ermend Bonnal’s “Poèmes Franciscains” for orchestra, choir and solo singers under the baton of Nicole Corti. A project of great importance for the choir has been undertaken this year, 2015: a programme of four cantatas written by the great J.S. Bach. The first two performances were given in Baigorri (French Basque Country) and the local town of Zumaia.
• Tolosa 2008. Having received an invitation to participate from the Centre of Initiatives of Tolosa, KUP Taldea won third prize in the folklore category at the 40th Tolosa Choral Contest (Basque Country, Spain).
• Maribor 2009. Joint first prize at the International Choral Competition Maribor (Slovenia), shared with Slovenia’s AVE Chamber Choir. The ensemble scored the highest number of points in the category of compulsory pieces, and conductor Gabriel Baltes was awarded with the conductor’s prize for the best performance of a composition by Iacobus Handl Gallus (“Elisabethae vero implentum”).
• Tours 2010. First prize in three categories (Mixed Choirs, Free Expression and Renaissance Programme) and the Grand Prix de la Ville de Tours at the Florilège Vocal de Tours International Choral Song Competition (France).
European Grand Prix, Tolosa 2011
GABRIEL BALTÉS, conductor
Since 1980, Gabriel Baltes has been a lecturer at the Teacher Training Institute of the University of Lorraine (France), a centre for training and retraining those who teach music at any level, from Primary to Upper-secondary. He is in charge of teaching music to future teachers with no musical specialization, responsible for children aged three to ten.
He is also part of the teaching staff at the Institut Européen de Chant Choral (European Institute for Choral Singing) in Metz (France). This organization, founded by Pierre Cao, offers a great number of training courses (“stages”) for music teachers, choirs and choral conductors.
From 1981 to 1994, and also in 2001, Gabriel Baltes was invited to lead choral conducting courses organised in Palma de Mallorca (Spain) by the University of the Balearic Islands. From 1983 to 1994 he was a lecturer in Music Education and Choral Conducting at the University of Metz (France). Since 1981 he has participated in several choral conducting courses organised by the choral music movement “À Coeur Joie”, working as Pierre Cao’s assistant on agreat number of projects and choral programmes.
He has also worked as a lecturer in Choral Conducting at “Musikene”, the Basque Country College of Music (Spain), since its opening. As part of his work as a choral conductor, since 1974, he has led performances of works by Malvezzi, Marenzio, Cavalieri, Praetorius, Tender, Henry Purcell, Campra, J.S.Bach, H. Biber, P. Vejvanovsky, and many of history’s foremost composers.