International Festival of American Renaissance and Baroque Music "Missions of Chiquitos"
The ancient Jesuit mission of Chiquitos in the province of Santa Cruz and those of Moxos in Beni are one of the principal riches of Bolivia’s regional and national cultural heritage. While the churches in these towns were being restored with financial assistance from the Catholic Church in the late 1990s, a trove of sacred music was found—5,500 pages in Chiquitos and 7,000 pages in Moxos—written as much by the European missionaries as by the people native to the region. Composed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, local musicians interpreted this music daily until the middle of the nineteenth century.
Because of the unusually harmonious coexistence of the missionaries with the local people, the missionary period resulted in immense collaboration. Apart from the era’s musical legacy the towns also boast architectural and other cultural riches, prompting UNESCO to declare six of the towns—San Xavier, Concepción, Santa Ana, San Rafael, San Miguel, and San José de Chiquitos—World Heritage Sites. Unlike other former Jesuit mission towns in Bolivia that no longer exist, these six towns have survived and flourished over time, retaining their customs, celebrations, ceremonies, style of dress, and tradition of instrument-making.
APAC established the International Festival of American Renaissance and Baroque Music in these towns in 1996 to preserve and diffuse this cultural heritage. The festival does not take place only in these areas, however: there are also concerts in other missionary towns in the provinces of Santa Cruz and Beni, spanning a distance of more than 3,000 kilometers in total. The majority of the concerts are free and the festivals create significant work opportunities where they occur.
The festival is unique because it celebrates a vibrant and dynamic cultural heritage in the towns where it originated and is still maintained. For the musicians, the festival allows them to step back through history to a time brimming with historical and cultural significance. Oftentimes the music they perform was composed or arranged by natives of the area, for whom this music plays a fundamental role in their cultural identification. Each festival is accompanied by a scientific conference, the International Symposium of Musicology (ECSIM), in which historians, researchers, and musicologists discuss topics relevant to ancient music. APAC’s Publishing Fund disseminates everything presented throughout the ECSIM.
International Symposium of Musicology
Each festival brings together historians and musicologists who discuss and present research on ancient music. The APAC Publishing Fund circulates their conclusions.
Presentation of books and CDs These presentations provide a venue for the exhibition of books and CDs that compile research on and interpretations of baroque music.
Arts expositions These allow attendees to enjoy the artistic wealth of the Jesuit Missions, demonstrated through wooden carvings, paintings, and textile products.
With the support of each of the municipalities hosting the festival, each concert becomes a celebration in which artists present their folklore, crafts, and unique cultural and gastronomic traditions.
. Its growth into the most important festival in the world of its genre and a partnership with the Sarrebourg Festival in France, one of the most important music festivals in Europe
. The release of a series of tourism videos promoting both the festival and the region
. The release of various CDs featuring music from each festival, with priority given to local music
The publication of the findings from each International Symposium of Musicology
The world premieres of the San Ignacio Opera and the San Francisco Xavier Opera from the Musical Archive of Chiquitos and Vespers of Cerruti from the National Archive in Sucre and their recordings under the French label K617
Incorporation of music from the Archive of Chiquitos into the repertoire of groups who have performed at the festival and others
Generation of interest in the rich musical heritage of the region among the people of Santa Cruz and of Bolivia, demonstrated by significant attendance at concerts in Santa Cruz de la Sierra and other sites of the festival
Recording of Bolivian Baroque I with the English ensemble Florilegium under the Dutch label Channel Classics
Creation of the Arakaéndar Choir, which performed at the 6th festival, toured Europe with Florilegium, and recorded Bolivian Baroque II under the label Channel Classics
The acquisition of musical instruments, including harpsichords and organs
The publication of "The Indigenous and Musical Culture in the Jesuit Missions" (Indígenas y Cultura Musical de las Reducciones Jesuíticas) and "Domenico Zippoli," works of investigation and transcription by musicologist Piotr Nawrot
The editing of volumes of the Moxos Anthology: five baroque sonatas and six masses by Giovanni Battista Bassani
The collaboration to create and promote the Youth Orchestra and Choir of Urubichá, which has performed all over Bolivia, Latin America, and Europe, and produced recordings
Support from the Government of Holland for a project to teach children and young people music in Urubichá
Signing of an agreement with France to support the improvement of violin-making in Guarayos