History

A BIT OF HISTORY…

Being founded in 1828, The “Banda Artística de Merza” is the oldest popular wind band in Galicia, a region in the north-west of Spain. The first conductor was Anselmo González, followed by his grandson Rogelio Otero. Under his musical leadership, in 1930, the band was divided in two groups, the “Banda Vella” (Old Band), directed by the mentioned conductor and also by Mariano Rodríguez; and the “Banda Nova” (New Band), conducted by Ramón Sueiro and Manuel Blanco. In 1939, at the end of the Spanish Civil War, and under the direction of Jesús Cao González, both groups joined together again.

Along its extensive trajectory, the “Banda Artística de Merza” has been directed by many important conductors like Francisco Beristain, Enrique González, Feliciano Cagide, Enrique García Rey, Antonio Castro, Amadeo Valero, Antonio Amigo, Alejandro Del Río, Vicente Paniagua, Xurxo Guzmán, Serge Fortin, José Rodríguez Ramos, José Luís Quintás Carreira and David Fiuza Souto, the present conductor.

Some of the important invited conductors were: José Casal, José Manuel Collazo, Xosé Carlos Seráns, Marcel Van Bree, Ángel Crespo and Jan Cober.

The “Banda Artística de Merza” has performed its music along the whole Galician geography, but also in Asturias, Cantabria, Valencia and Catalonia in Spain, and in Portugal, Holland and Italy. The tours carried out in Venezuela in 1982 and 1992, and in Argentina in the year 2000, are also remarkable.

The “Banda Artística de Merza” participates frequently in festivals and contests along the Galician geography, Altea and Valencia, in Spain; Monçao and Trofa, in Portugal; and Kerkrade in Holland, as well as in recordings for the Galician Radio and Television. In 1981 was published its first record “Bandas Galegas” (Galician Wind Bands) and in 1998 its first CD: “171 Anos de Tradición Musical” (171 Years of Musical Tradition). Five years later, in 2003, was published its second CD: “Aniversario” (Anniversary) and in 2010, were published two new CD’s: “A Música de Merza – Solistas” (The Music of Merza – Soloists) and “Merza – Un Século de Certames” (Merza – A Century of Contests). In 2016, were published “Antoloxía do pasodoble no século XXI“.

During its history, the Banda Artística de Merza has obtained many important prizes. From the extensive list, we would like to point out the following:

  • First Prize in the Contest of Wind Bands. Santiago de Compostela (Galicia), 1910.
  • Third Prize in the Contest of Wind Bands. Cangas (Galicia), 1985.
  • Third Prize in the Celtic Contest of Wind Bands. Vigo (Galicia), 1986.
  • Third Prize in the Contest of Wind Bands. Lalín (Galicia), 1990.
  • Honours in the First Galician Contest of Popular Wind Bands, organized by the Galician Radio and Television, 1995.
  • Second Prize in the International Contest of Wind Bands “Ciudad de Valencia”.Valencia, 2002.
  • First Prize with Honours in the II Provincial Contest of Popular Wind Bands. Pontevedra (Galicia), 2002.
  • Culture Award of the Town Council of Vila de Cruces (Galicia), 2003.
  • First Prize in the III Provincial Contest of Popular Wind Bands. Pontevedra, 2003.
  • First Prize with Honours in the IV Provincial Contest of Popular Wind Bands. Pontevedra, 2004.
  • First Prize with Honours and Trophy “Vila D’Altea”, in the XXXIII International Contest of Popular Wind Bands “Vila D`Altea”.Valencia, 2004.
  • First Prize with Honours in the VI Provincial Contest of Popular Wind Bands. Pontevedra, 2006.
  • First Prize with Honours and Trophy “Vila D’Altea” , in the XXXV International Contest of Popular Wind Bands “Vila D`Altea”. Valencia, 2006.
  • First Prize in the I Galician Contest of Wind Bands. Santiago de Compostela, 2007.
  • Second Prize in the VIII Provincial Contest of Popular Wind Bands. Pontevedra, 2008.
  • Second Prize in the XXXIII International Contest of Popular Wind Bands “Vila D`Altea”.Valencia, 2008.
  • First Prize in the III Galician Contest of Wind Bands. Santiago de Compostela, 2009.
  • Second Prize in the 126th International Contest of Wind Bands “Ciudad de Valencia”.Valencia, 2012.
  • First Prize in the VI Galician Contest of Wind Bands. Santiago de Compostela, 2012.
  • First Prize in the 41th International Contest of Popular Wind Bands “Vila D`Altea”.Valencia, 2014.
  • First Prize in the XI International Contest of Popular Wind Bands “Vila de La Sénia”.Catalonia, 2017.

At the end of the 70´s, the School of Music of the “Banda Artística de Merza” started its activity. It had two professors at the beginning: Amadeo Valero and Ramón Guzmán. They both give the name to the concert hall in Merza: “Auditorio Valero-Guzmán”. The school enhances not only the individual work, but the attendance to courses and master-classes, the creation of chamber ensembles and the “Banda Xuvenil” (Junior Band). All reflecting the great work carried out by professors and students.
Nowadays, the “Banda Artística de Merza” has federated around 100 musicians, many of them professionals, and it is considered as one of the best and most attractive popular wind bands of the Galician Community.