San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Baroque Festival Celebrates Santa Ana’s 100th

Twelve days of music and an extensive bill of Costa Rican and foreign artists will help usher in the 100th anniversary of Santa Ana, southwest of San José. And all the concerts will be free to the public.

The eighth annual International Baroque Music Festival of Santa Ana will bring artists from Germany, France, the United States and around Costa Rica as part of the canton’s centennial birthday celebrations.

Baroque music is known for different voices and instruments echoing each other in various pitches, and includes composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi and George Frideric Handel.

“It’s because of the music’s period,” said Jorge Luis Acevedo, founder and coordinator of the festival. “It’s music that’s not interpreted very much, especially here in Costa Rica.”

Last year the festival’s popularity spiked, attracting the ambassadors of France and Germany. This year, those nations are collaborating with the festival, and several French musicians will be featured on the program.

Former President Luis Alberto Monge will host the festival’s opening concert Oct. 23, featuring the orchestra from Santa Ana’s Municipal School of Integrated Arts (AEMAI) and celebrated guest trumpeter Fred Sautter from the United States.

Also on the bill is Il Convito Musicale, featuring violinist Stéphanie Paulet, cellist Claire Gratton and clavichordist Maude Gratton. The French trio will perform Nov. 2.

Most concerts will be held at the Santa AnaParochialChurch, with extension concerts planned Oct. 31 in Puntarenas, on the central Pacific coast, and Nov. 3 in Grecia, west of the capital. The Grecia concert will close the festival with performances by French organist Anne-Gaëlle Chanon and the AEMAI orchestra and choir.

The festival began in 2000 as a way for AEMAI to showcase its students’ work, Acevedo said, then later grew to what it is today.

“I was surprised myself,” Acevedo said. “We’ve had a good public. There are a lot of foreigners in the region, and they have supported us.”

Acevedo promises a festival of highquality music.

“It’s what our audience expects,” he said. Santa Ana was founded in 1907, but the area’s historical roots date back to precolonial times, when the Huetar indigenous people inhabited the land. European arrival to the area was in 1561, according to the Santa AnaMunicipality’s Web site (

The name Santa Ana is thought to originate with Jerónimo de Retes, who owned land in the area, and probably used his daughter’s name as inspiration. The first recording of the name can be found in the Protocolos de Cartago from 1658.

For a complete festival schedule, see the Calendar pages or visit


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