Palau de la Musica Catalana literally translates as ´The palace of Catalan music’ and that is certainly what it is, a palace! Palau de Musica is well worth a visit if you want to leave the beaten track, see something a little different from the usual sights and sounds of Barcelona and get a real taste for the culture and history of this exceptional city.
Lluís Domènech i Montaner was one of the best Modernist architects and this outrageously over the top concert hall which he built between 1905 &1908, is perhaps the most emblematic Modernist building of all. It was funded with donations from music lovers and fans of the Orfeó Català and constitutes a symbolic and sentimental heritage of an entire city that identifies with its history. In 1997 it was declared a world heritage site. The building has a capacity of 2148 and was one of the first in the city have electricity.
Palau de Musica has seen some of the greatest artists of the twentieth and twenty first century and over 300 concerts and dance shows are organised here each year, but perhaps the most famous choral group to perform here is the Orfeó Català for whom the concert hall was originally built. This 90 person choir performs regularly and holds a concert on 26 December every year. Book in advance!
The lavish facade, ringed by mosaic pillars and brick arches just hints at what waits within. The garden of music unfolds beyond the front doors, with each surface of the ornate foyer from pillars to banisters emblazoned with a flower motif. The concert hall designed so that its height is the same as its breadth-is a celebration of natural light and forms, climaxing in a stained glass golden orb skylight that showers the hall with sunlight. The stone figures are ‘alive’, they are designed to stir up feelings and emotions, acting as muses for the artists. They are as diverse as the music itself.
The columns represent trees to create a false distance, you are able to forget the narrow streets outside and disappear into a wider space of nature and beauty. As originally intended, nature has been brought into the city, the modernist passion has essentially created a garden with no night.
The Guided Tour
Guided tours are every half an hour in Catalan, Spanish & English and run from 10am-3.30pm daily. They are 50 minutes long, including a 20 minute video on the history of the building. Although the guided tour is a wonderful experience, nothing beats going to a concert here. Prices vary wildly so check at the box office during your stay.
Although booking in advance isn’t a requirement, it is unlikely you will be able to buy a ticket for your tour if you just turn up on the day. If you can, try to book tickets a couple of days ahead from the gift shop ‘Les muses del Palau’ where tickets can be bought up to 7 days in advance from 9:30am to 3pm.
Alternatively you can book tickets through the official website.
- Palau de Musica is less than a 5 minute walk from Urquinaona metro station.
- Buses 16,17,19, 45 & all routes to Plaza d’Urquinaona
The Palau de la Música Catalana, full of light and of colour, is today, a cultural asset that is open to the world, whose halls and areas host concerts of all genres and styles, cultural, social and business events, congresses, conferences, and exhibitions.
Devoted to culture and social events, Palau de la Musica is a place to move you.