Tribute to a great artist and ambassador of intercultural dialogue

1/31/2012 - Arts

As patrons of the arts, we lend a hand to exceptional men and women as they make their way down the path of knowledge, excellence and sharing. One such path has come to an end too soon. We wish to pay tribute to the life and memory of Montserrat Figueras, a lyrical singer and exceptional musician whose artistry was surpassed only by her humanity.

Montserrat Figueras (1942–2011)

With admirable elegance and courage, Montserrat Figueras continued to sing even a few months ago, giving a concert at the Abbaye de Fontfroide during the Musique et Histoire festival. She selected a previously unknown collection of Sephardic poems and songs entitled “The Cycles of Life.”

Our thoughts go out to her family: her children Arianna and Ferran, both of whom are accomplished artists, and in particular to Jordi Savall, with whom Montserrat Figueras shared her life and music since they met in the Ars Musicae ensemble in Barcelona over forty years ago.

Montserrat and Jordi undertook bold initiatives together. The extraordinary duo founded the Hespèrion XX ensemble, and later the Capella Reial de Catalunya and the Concert des Nations, during which time they brilliantly revived unknown masterpieces and breathed a new life into early music. A particularly incisive aspect of their efforts was their encouragement of dialogue between different cultures. By supporting artists from diverse backgrounds and faiths – among which Jewish, Muslim and Christian – they strove to create a musical heritage built on the bridges spanning Mediterranean and European culture. One admirable example of what they accomplished is the composition entitled Jerusalem, City of Two Peaces.

We have lost a dear friend – a musician and learned woman, but also a figure that was and remains an inexhaustible source of inspiration to those lucky enough to have known her. Her message of peace and generosity shall continue to be, heard in the memory of her luminous voice and enlighten our path.

Firoz Ladak