Rules & Procedures
The “City of Valencia” Band Contest was first held at the end of the nineteenth century and has endured to take its first steps into the twenty-first. Over a hundred years old, the Contest has witnessed three centuries of music and some of the most important and influential events in the history of Valencia since 1886, when the city mayor, Manuel Sapiña Rico, with the support of the enthusiastic Councilor for Local Festivals, José Soriano Plassent, decided to create a “Music Contest” for Valencian bands. Its well-intentioned creators and first participants could have little imagined that it would go on to become one of the most important competitions of its kind in the world.
A unique contest
Although the Contest has changed with the times, it has also managed to preserve its own unique character. Over time new features have been introduced to promote healthy competition between the participating bands, one of the secrets of its success.
In 1888 the Contest distinguished between civilian and military bands and the first prize was accompanied by 1,200 pesetas, which was a considerable amount of money at the time.
In 1895 a new division was created for foreign bands. Later, in 1902, the Valencia City Council created two new divisions: one for Valencian bands, and another for bands from elsewhere in Spain.
By the end of the nineteenth century, the Contest already had an international component, although the number of foreign bands taking part would vary over time. More recently, foreign bands have been able to compete on an equal footing with bands from all over Spain and, of course, Valencia.
From its earliest days, the Contest has always enjoyed significant public support. By 1920, the local press was already reporting the large numbers of music lovers attending the Contest’s concerts. Even today, when classical music faces ever-greater competition from other forms of mass popular entertainment, the International Wind Band Contest “City of Valencia” has managed to maintain these audience numbers.
During the 1940s the Contest went through a period of reinvention. Prize monies were increased in 1944, which caused a considerable increase in the number of bands taking part. By the 1949 edition there were more than a thousand participating musicians performing in the Valencia Bullring.
The prestige of the contest gradually increased thanks to the quality of the participating bands, the success of the concerts, and the rigorous management of each of the editions. This prestige increased even further in 1977 when, after an absence of several years, foreign bands returned to the Contest.
Ever since, the Contest has been an unmissable summer event for bands from the five continents, which come to Valencia hoping to triumph in one of the divisions of the most important wind band competition in the world.
The Organizing Committees have adapted the Contest to the times, resulting in various changes over the years, such as the restructuring of the different divisions, an increase in participation and prize monies, and the creation of the Prize for the Best Valencian Band in the competition.
The Contest today
The International Music Band Contest City of Valencia has essentially contributed to spreading band music, and to support Valencian most important musicians and it most renowned composers. Just as an example, since the first album was recorded in 1979, a complete collection of CDs has been published with the obligatory compositions of the participating bands, as well as some themes by the Municipal Band of Valencia, and has become a valuable sound document for all classical music lovers.
In recent decades, it has been commissioned from the best contemporary composers, both Valencian and nationwide, the required obligatory compositions to be premiered during the event and, subsequently, to become part of the repertoire of our bands repertoire. At the same time, the Contest has retained its international stature, always including the work of an international composer among the obligatory pieces to be performed by the participating bands.
All this music files can be used and enjoyed by present and future generations, thanks to the
service that is becoming one of the most precious treasures of Band music lovers. From the vinyl record to the incorporation of the contest on the internet through audio and video recordings with complete performances by all participating bands offering the possibility of following the event in real time from anywhere in the world through streaming.
The promotion of the event has created its own iconography. While in early years, the contest was announced in the program of activities of the July Fair, the contest has had its own poster over the last few years, designed by prestigious Valencian artists.
An event that hasn't yet stopped dreaming and, therefore, thus maintaining its hopes to remain a cultural reference to dignify the effort and culture of the Valencian people.
Rules & Procedures
How to Arrive