Ten long years have passed since the constitution of the Sociedad de la Vihuela : one of the main institutions that structure, enact and promote the plucked string in Spain and, very especially, that part of that heritage that is our own: the vihuela. During this time there have been many people who have collaborated with this movement, either with leadership and advocacy work, or with a discreet dedication of time and resources. Many have also been the difficulties and complicated moments … But, invariably, every year we have been able to attend one of the main plucked chord events in Spain: the meetings of the Vihuela Society. The best way to bring together musicians, musicologists, luthiers, students, teachers, fans and lovers of the plucked string.   This year, as we pointed out at the beginning, we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the SDLV and we have a first-hand testimony, that of its current president Aníbal Soriano.   Aníbal has been kind enough to grant us an interview and give us some photos of the meeting to which, in addition, I add those that I myself had the opportunity to take during the time I was able to share there.  

 Fotos del X encuentro de la SDLV: cortesía de Aníbal Soriano


Más fotos del encuentro, de Cuerdas Pulsadas

    We leave you with the interview with Aníbal Soriano:  
About the celebration of the tenth anniversary and looking back: what milestones do you think the Vihuela Society has achieved in these ten years? There are many achievements. You have created enough structure to edit books around our instruments. It has created a platform for the dissemination of our musical heritage related to the plucked string instruments of the Renaissance and Baroque. Our annual meetings throughout the Spanish geography are turning our society into a traveling festival loaded with content, where concerts, round tables, classes and exhibitions are combined. It has become visible alongside other European lute societies.  
And what do you think are the challenges or lines of work that SDLV will go through in the coming years?
Obviously there is much to improve. First of all, we must update our website and we have the great help that you have given us, with that magnificent website that is about to see the light of day. I would like the online store to have more and more impact and agility. We are reordering our stock in a place expressly prepared for it because during ten years of existence the accumulated copies have originated a special need for storage. On the sidelines, I would like the presence of the vihuela society to increase in early music festivals and other concert organization events, and not as a concert booking agency, but as a platform to enable new generations make themselves known, that it is a showcase in which all the musicians who want to can make their work visible to the extent that our possibilities can cope. The editorial line is another important challenge that we must improve and that is why we have created the position of editorial coordinator, in the person of John Griffiths, well known to all and a world reference for our instruments. We have started a line of work of diffusion by Ibero-America starting from Mexico and the approach to the figure of Antonio Corona Alcalde.
Do you have adequate institutional support or, in other words, what measures do you demand from the SDLV to the administrations to preserve this movement?
We started our journey with two types of institutional aid and right now we only have an aid of 6000 EUR from the INAEM. If it weren’t for this little help, we wouldn’t be able to publish our magazines, organize our meetings, publish books and continue working as we are. It is insufficient help but we are grateful as a non-profit association that we are because we think that everything that can help us improve will undoubtedly have an impact on a better cultural offer related to old plucked string instruments.  
For this meeting you have had great figures: among others, John Griffiths, Gerardo Arriaga, Carlos González, Juan Carlos Rivera … four days devoted almost entirely to the vihuela. Do you think the vihuela is sufficiently valued and protected in Spain? (academic, institutional level, concerts …)
I think not. As the data shows that in Andalusia there is only one middle-grade teacher position and one at the higher level. When we speak of vihuela we mean to refer to ancient plucked string instruments. the name of vihuela flags our society for being a genuinely Hispanic instrument, but the musical world in which all the ancient plucked-string instruments are encompassed is vast. Using the words Jordi Savall wrote when he rejected the 2014 National Music Prize, ignorance and amnesia are the end of all civilization, since without education there is no art and without memory there is no justice. We have an excellent patrimony around all instruments and we must continue working so that they get the importance they deserve.  
You also have a conference by Francisco Caballero, the promoter of the project “Las vihuelas de Trujillo”, which also had your personal collaboration and also from the SDLV. What surprised you the most about these vihuelas? About the luthier apprentices?
I was especially surprised by the ability of Fran Caballero to delude a group of kids of a particularly delicate age. That vision that everything is possible if you want to achieve it. That bet on something that would have been made in Trujillo so many centuries ago and that after so many years they have heard the word vihuela again is that eminently Renaissance city. What passion do you have to put into the work you do to create the enthusiasm that we saw in Trujillo in the work of the 9 vihuelas that were built there? It is the capacity for work, imagination, perspective, personal involvement that leads an entire society of historical instruments to support the initiative, which makes it possible for companies like Cuerdas Pulsadas to provide all the strings and frets for free so that this project can come to fruition. Naturally, and how could it be otherwise, the Junta de Extremadura awarded him one of the prizes for educational innovation. Could we imagine for a moment the politicians of our beloved Spain working with the same enthusiasm, generosity and gratitude towards life that Fran Caballero has shown? Another rooster would crow, and possibly we would all be better off.  
Thank you Aníbal for sharing your time with us and congratulations again to all those who, in these ten years, have promoted and promoted the Vihuela Society. Much encouragement for the future!  

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