What is enCANTa

enCANTa is a group formed of 8 voices, with significant musical aspirations in the art of vocal music, literature, and all artistic expression combined. enCANTa represents a ‘journey beyond’, offering a sensory and visual experience in which words take shape and reveal themselves, through both song and spoken word.

It is a group of fully trained professionals with extensive experience in their various disciplines, equipping the ensemble with a high level of culture, versatility, and dramatic energy.

encanta-grupo

enCANTa has set out to change the concept of the classical choir, proudly showcasing a new and innovative vision adapted to our times. Music, prose, poetry, dramatization, and visual arts come together on stage to touch the soul and evoke emotion.

In their performances, filled with freshness and novelty, they combine music, singing and also literature, by way of a rhapsodist who brings words to life at the service of the music and voices.

This Spanish group is characterized by the international diversity of its voices, in addition to the presentation of an interpretative repertoire, both a cappella and with piano accompaniment and other musical formations.

enCANTa creates music, literature, and performance. They make art, culture, and impact on their audience by demonstrating a unique and genuine cross-disciplinary approach with original texts and their own creations.

José Luis Castell Sabater

James Torniainen

Martí Asensi Osca

Dani Gallego Ferrís

Chantal Esteve Royo

Rosa Pinilla Herraiz

Veronika Althaus

Francis Blanes Sempre

Wanda Bellanza

José Luis Castell Sabater

José Luis Castell Sabater began his studies in piano and trumpet in his hometown, Algemesí. He specialised in trumpet, completing his final year at the Conservatorio Superior de Música “Óscar Esplà” in Alicante with the highest marks. Later he became interested in singing and began his training with Víctor Alonso and repertoire with Lorenzo Petri and José Madrid.

He has performed as a tenor soloist in works such as Handel’s Messiah, Leonard Berstein’s Chichester Psalms, masses by Haydn and Mozart and the opera La vida de Max, made up of a selection of the best-known arias from the operas Luisa Miller, Turandot, La Arlesiana and Werther by Massenet, among others.

He has collaborated on numerous occasions in galas and events as a soloist all over Spain, both in the zarzuela and operatic fields. He has also sung in choral groups throughout the Valencian Community.

He has collaborated as a trumpet player with the Societat Musical de Alzira, Unión Musical Utielana and the Banda Santa Cecilia de Cullera, among others, and has been a member of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Alicante.

José Luis Castell Sabater
In the field of teaching, he has taught Trumpet, Chamber Music, Analysis and Harmony. He has also given courses in analysis, rhythm, interpretation and percussion applied to dance.

Currently, his professional life is dedicated to teaching singing and musical language. He is also the chief conductor of the Orfeón Musikus and the Orquesta Musikus Ensemble. He is a tenor, musical and artistic director and composer of the vocal group enCANTa.

James Torniainen

James Torniainen

Music has been the defining element of James’s whole life, playing his first notes at the piano at the age of three and continuing his instrumental studies through to degree level at the Guildhall School of Music and Sussex University, culminating in a final performance as soloist in Ravel’s G major piano concerto. He continued his studies in Composition for TV and film, obtaining his master’s degree from the film school at Bournemouth University.

James has been singing for over thirty years, of which twenty have been spent with the London Philharmonic Choir, the partner choir of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. As a semi-chorus singer, James has had a front row seat performing with such world-renowned conductors as Kurt Masur, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Charles Dutoit, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Vladimir Jurowski and many others.

Audio releases of live concert performances include the Grammy-nominated LSO recording of Berlioz’s Grande Messe de Morts with Sir Colin Davis, and LPO Live recordings of Britten’s War Requiem with Kurt Masur and Dvorak’s Requiem and Stabat Mater with Neeme Järvi.

 

James’s professional life has also been dedicated to music, spending sixteen years at Universal Classics – the world’s largest classical recording company – and reaching the position of VP International, responsible for global marketing and sales of all new releases from the Decca and Deutsche Grammophon labels.

Since deciding to move to Valencia in the summer of 2016, James is now Representative for southern Spain at ABRSM (‘la Royal’), the internationally-recognised music examinations board, helping young and adult music learners to achieve official qualifications throughout their instrumental studies.

After seven years in Valencia, James’s passion for singing in choirs is stronger than ever. In addition to enCANTa, he also sings with Neovocalis and is a member of the Coro Catedralicia de Valencia.

Martí Asensi Osca

Martí Asensi Osca had his first musical encounter via the oboe, then pursuing his professional musical studies. Later, he furthered his music education in the field of singing, training under José Luis Castell in vocal technique and singing. From that point, he has been sought out by various ensembles for the contribution of his powerful voice and deep bass register.
Martí holds various degrees and master’s qualifications that encompass the worlds of culture and art.

With a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting from the University of València, and master’s degrees in museology, cultural resource management and museum direction, as well as workshops in multimedia and scenography at the Polytechnic University of València and the School of Fine Arts in Paris, he founded the Escola d’Arts Plàstiques de l’Alcúdia, where he serves as its founder, coordinator, and instructor.

Currently, he is a member of the group enCANTa and the Orfeón Musikus, where he has performed as a soloist. Additionally, he holds the position of artistic manager at M&M Events, a cultural resource company.

 

Martí Asensi Osca
Dani Gallego Ferrís

Dani Gallego Ferrís

Dani Gallego Ferrís began his musical studies at eight years old, at the “José Moreno Gans” school, part of the Algemesí Music Society.

He continued his studies at the “José Iturbi” Conservatory in Valencia, where he pursued a professional degree in Percussion and Singing.

He holds a degree in Education specializing in Music from the University of Valencia.

Dani has received training as a choir director from professors such as Cristina Contreras, Mónica Perales, José Ramón Gil, Basilio Astulez, and Rafa Mombiedro.

As a director, he has led the El Xúquer choir in Sumacàrcer and the pensioners’ choir in Albalat de la Ribera.

Currently, he balances his work as a music teacher at a school with directing several choirs at the Benifaió CEM Conservatory, as well as in Llombai and Algemesí.

He recently received the gold insignia from the Algemesí Musical Society, an award given for twenty-five uninterrupted service as a member of this symphonic band.

As a singer, he is a member of enCANTa and the choir of the Valencian Federation of Choirs (FECOCOVA).

Chantal Esteve Royo

Chantal was born in Quart de Poblet, where she began her music studies at the “Mestre Molins” Professional Music Conservatory. She obtained her professional degree in 2009, specializing in Singing. She furthered her musical studies through courses and singing lessons with instructors such as Ana Luisa Chova, Pilar Moral, and choral conducting with C. Contreras, J. Blanch, Marta Mármol, and Francesc Valldecabres.

She holds a superior music degree from the “Joaquin Rodrigo” Superior Conservatory in València, specializing in Vocal Performance. Additionally, she is a graduate in Italian Philology, holds a diploma in Speech Therapy from the University of Valencia, and has a master’s degree in Voice Pathology Intervention.

 

Chantal Esteve Royo

Chantal has sung in numerous choral groups, including the Quart de Poblet Coral School, the chamber choir Ad libitum, Orfeó Veus Juntes, Ricercare Chamber Choir, Amalthea Chamber Choir, Música Trobada, Victoria Musicae, Neovocalis, and the group enCANTa. In 2008, she participated in the opera Ifigenie en Tauride alongside soprano Violeta Urmana and tenor Plácido Domingo.

As an educator, she has taught Singing and Italian at the “Mestre Molins” Professional Conservatory in Quart de Poblet and at various music schools.

Currently, she collaborates with the vocal training center Canta’m and balances her musical activities with specialized speech therapy work in voice pathology. She conducts workshops for vocal groups focusing on vocal technique, knowledge of the vocal apparatus, and vocal hygiene.

Rosa Pinilla Herraiz

Rosa Pinilla Herraiz

Rosa Pinilla Herraiz began her musical journey at the age of four, when she joined the Aubada Coral School in Aldaia. From then on, vocal music became a fundamental part of her life.

In 2012, she started her musical studies at the Professional Music Conservatory of Valencia, specializing in Singing. In 2014, she participated in the Intercentros Melómano competition organized by the Orfeo Foundation of the Valencian Community, and in 2015, she performed as a soloist at the Palau de la Música in Valencia as part of the Young Performers program at the conservatory.

In 2019, she earned a superior degree in Singing from the “Joaquín Rodrigo” Superior Conservatory of Music in Valencia, where she studied under Pilar Moral and María José Martos.

She has attended vocal technique courses with instructors such as Eugenia Dundekova, Flavio Ferri-Benedetti, Ana Luisa Chova, Tamara Izquierdo, and jazz singer Celia Mur.

 

Throughout her life, Rosa has been a part of numerous choral groups, including the choir of the Universitat Jaume I in Castellón, the choir of the University of Heidelberg in Germany, the women’s choir “A Cau d’orella,” Neovocalis, Victoria Musicae, and enCANTa.

Rosa also has experience in chamber music and is currently involved in preparing a new performance for piano, clarinet, and soprano that will premiere soon. This concert will present rarely performed composers and works.

Furthermore, Rosa is passionate about languages. She holds a degree in Translation and Interpretation in English and German from the Universitat Jaume I in Castellón and has worked as a teacher of German and French applied to Singing at the “Mestre Molins” Professional Conservatory in Quart de Poblet.

Veronika Althaus

Veronika Althaus was born into a musical family. With a mother who was a piano teacher and a father who was a guitar teacher, she was already sitting at the piano before she could even walk. Her enthusiasm for life on the stage started at a young age. At ten years old, Veronika attended a music institute in Bavaria where she had her first experiences with choir. Upon graduating from high school in 2012, she directed the graduation choir.

Immediately after high school, she passed the entrance exam for the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich to study teaching with a double major in Music. However, before beginning her studies, she traveled to Zanzibar for several months to do volunteer work at a music academy in Stone Town.

During her studies in Munich, Veronika had the opportunity to expand her musical horizons. While her primary focus was on singing, her pedagogical studies included conducting orchestras, bands, and choirs. As a member of the university’s Madrigal Choir, she traveled to various cities in Germany and performed on stage in Egypt and Oman, among other places, during a concert tour. Veronika also sang as a soprano in the Bavarian State Youth Choir for two years and played a lead role in a musical production in her hometown.

 

Veronika Althaus

In 2016, her studies brought her to Valencia, where she shifted her focus more towards solo singing. At the same time, she began her university studies in Economics. Since then, she has been singing as a soprano in various choirs in Valencia, including Neovocalis under the direction of Rafael Sánchez Mombiedro, and enCANTa. She also still participates in various projects in Munich.

Regarding her principal employment, Veronika has pursued a career in the field of economics and is now a Partner Manager in the electronic data interchange industry. This often requires her to travel to Germany, Austria, and other countries. In summary, it can be said that she is no stranger to traveling.

Francis Blanes Sempre

Francis Blanes Sempre

Francis Blanes began his musical studies of piano at the Municipal Conservatory of Music in Banyeres de Mariola. He continued studying at the Conservatorio Profesional de Música “Ruperto Chapí” in Elda with the teachers Cristina Martínez and Silvia Gómez, where he entered in 2001 and obtained the professional degree. In this conservatory he obtained the Mancomunidad scholarship for the Música Viva programme, being awarded concerts in different cities (Elda, Sax, Monforte, etc.) and an advanced course. He finished his professional studies, making his debut in front of the conservatory orchestra with the Piano Concerto in D by J. Haydn.

He then entered the Conservatori Superior de Música de les Illes Balears in 2007, where she studied under the tutelage of Manuel Carra, Miquel Estelrich and Jorge Robaina, obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Music, specialising in Piano. He finished his studies with the highest qualification, Honours, in his recital and final concert, as well as in the Piano subject. Since 2012 she has been taking advanced classes at the Conservatorio Superior de Música “Katarina Gurska” in Madrid with the teacher Mariana Gurkova.

In September 2014 he began studying for a master’s degree in solo performance at the Katarina Gurska Conservatory of Music with Mariana Gurkova. He also received master classes from Eldar Nebolsin, Claudio Martínez-Menher and Luca Chiantore. In May 2016 he obtained a Master’s degree in Solo Performance.

In 2019 he joined the famous Schola Cantorum in Paris, where he studied with Maurizio Moretti, and in 2022 he obtained the title of Virtuosité from this centre.

He took advanced courses with teachers such as Claudio Martínez Menher (2007 and 2009), Guillermo González (2007 and 2010), Gustavo Díaz Jerez (2009), Ramón Coll (2010) and Dina Parakhina (2011).

Wanda Bellanza, an Argentinian from Buenos Aires, is an actress with a degree in Dramatic Art from the Colegio Superior de las Artes del Teatro y la Comunicación in Buenos Aires. But her studies do not stop there: introductory course to the characters of the Comedia DellArte, course directed to the autonomous work of the actor in the staging, work with classic and contemporary texts, course of contemporary authors’ texts, course of experimentation with new technologies in the theatre, course of writing and theatrical editing… and a long etcetera that make her training vast and extensive.

As a result, he has participated in countless plays, television advertising and on the big screen. Among them, we can name titles such as El último tarzán, Brindis, Como un lobo en el corazón, Bios or Los niños alemanes pintan el cielo de colour gris. In the cinema, we can find her in Mannequin, El barbudo que llegó tarde and Bajo mi piel, among other short films.

Wanda Bellanza