Review on Pacho Flores in Belfast

Review on Pacho Flores in Belfast

Review on Pacho Flores in Belfast. Ulster Orchestra’s stunning new concerto gives nod to classic jazz of Fifties. 

By Alf McCreary, Belfast Telegraph

When the world premiere of a concerto is announced nowadays, some people wince in case it is another of those technically brilliant pieces which turns out to be utterly boring. Thankfully, this was not the case with Giancarlo Castro’s Concerto, titled Stunning Trumpet, premiered in the Ulster Hall by the Ulster Orchestra and its music director Rafael Payare to stunning effect. This concerto was played with remarkable skill and gusto on not one, but four trumpets (though not at the same time) by soloist Pacho Flores.

He has deep roots in Latin America, and he and Payare played together in the well-known Simon Bolivar Orchestra in Venezuela. The music of Castro’s new Trumpet Concerto is deeply embedded in the Latin American, jazz and cinema tradition, and it is captivating from start to finish. The concerto is bursting with many different melodies and rhythms, and for most of the piece the Ulster Orchestra played like a Fifties Big Band swinging its way through a major jazz concert. One hopes that Stunning Trumpet will soon be on CD to enrich many a car journey. For good measure, the soloist underlined his range by playing Neruda’s delightful 18th century Trumpet Concerto, and ended in the Latin-American idiom with Piazzolla’s charming Winter in Buenos Aires.

The wide-ranging concert began with the wistful and dreamlike Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune, to mark the centenary of the death of Debussy, who also wrote the celebrated La Mer – even if he was unable to swim. The warmly-received concert ended with a riveting performance of the Hungarian Bela Bartok’s orchestral showpiece Concerto for Orchestra, a work of genius written in only eight weeks by the composer who was suffering from leukaemia and died tragically just two years later at the age of 64. Maestro Payare has been appointed as full-time music director of the San Diego Symphony from the autumn of 2019, so catch this world-class young conductor in Belfast while you can.




Pacho Flores, absolute premiere with the Ulster Orchestra

Pacho Flores, absolute premiere with the Ulster Orchestra

The amazing trumpet player Pacho Flores will premiere the new Trumpet concerto dedicated to him by composer Giancarlo Castro with the Ulster Orchestra under the baton of its Chief Conductor Rafael Payare. This premiere will take place at the Ulster Hall of Belfast on next February the 23rd. Pacho Flores has obtained a huge success with the recent premiere of his own piece Cantos y Revueltas just one month ago with Manuel Hernández-Silva, Leo Rondón and the Real Filharmonía de Galicia, and “bringing to dance the whole Palacio Euskalduna” with Alondra de la Parra and the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra. Shortly he will be in Norway to record his third release for the label Deutsche Grammophon, with the Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra and Christian Lindberg.

Pacho Flores

Between his next engagements stands out the large project of commissions of new trumpet concertos to prominent composer as Arturo Márquez, Roberto Sierra, Paquito D’Rivera, Efraín Oscher or Christian Lindberg, to be premieres for many orchestras all around the world. First of the commissions, to the Mexican composer Arturo Márquez, will have its premieres along the 2018/19 season in Mexico, the US, Japan and Spain. Besides this project, that season he will also premiere a new Double concerto for trumpet, trombone and orchestra by Christian Lindberg with a Spanish orchestra, where Christian will also appear as a conductor.

pacho_flores_rfg_cantos_tocando_blancoy negro

Copyright RFG

These new commissions will take part of new releases for Deutsche Grammophon. In addition, new engagements will bring him along the next months to Norway, Switzerland, Canada, the Netherlands, US, France, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Brazil, and two new tours with the Arctic Philharmonic and the Israel NK Orchestra are already scheduled to bring him again to Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Spain, where it will finish with three concerts in Alicante, Valencia and Oviedo in November 2018.





Pacho Flores, New Year in Salzburg

Pacho Flores, New Year in Salzburg

Pacho Flores will star the New Year Concert in Salzburg playing Gershwin and Armstrong with the Philharmonie Salzburg under the baton of Elizabeth Fuchs. Concerts will be on next Monday the first of January, 2018 in double session of 15:00 and 19:00 hours.

Pacho Flores New Year Concert in Salzburg

Pacho Flores, trumpet

Pacho Flores is the most important thing to happen to the trumpet since Miles Davis (Álvaro Gallegos)

Francisco ‘Pacho’ Flores is a first-prize winner of the Maurice André International Competition, the world’s most important trumpet contest, as well as the first prize at the International Competition Philip Jones and First Prize at the International Competition Citta di Porcia. Recently he was awarded with the Gold Medal by the Global Music Awards for ENTROPÍA, his last recording for Deutsche Grammophon with guitar player Jesús ‘Pingüino’ González.

A product of the ground-breaking ‘El Sistema’, he is becoming increasingly recognized for his outstanding performing and recording activity that spans the solo, chamber, and orchestral media. Equally at home in the classical and folk styles, Pacho captivates audiences with his energetic delivery and colourful tone.

Portada del disco de Pacho Flores en Deutsche Grammophon

His solo performances include appearances with orchestras such as Turku Philharmonic, Arctic Philharmonic, Norrköping Symphony, Norddeutschen Philharmonie Rostock, Kiev Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Camerata, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, NHK Symphony, Tokyo Symphony, Osaka Philharmonic, Hyogo PAC Orchestra, Tucson Symphony, Sinfónica Nacional de México, Sinfónica Nacional de Puerto Rico, Filarmónica de Málaga, Sinfónica de Baleares, Real Filharmonía de Galicia, Sinfónica de Bilbao, Sinfónica de Tenerife or Simón Bolívar Orchestra of Venezuela. In recital, he has performed in venues such as the New York Carnegie Hall, the Paris Salle Pleyel and the Tokyo Opera City.

A founding member of the Venezuelan Simón Bolívar Brass Quintet, he has toured with the quintet extensively in Europe, South America, the United States, and Japan. An experienced orchestral musician, Mr. Flores has played first trumpet in the Simón Bolívar Orchestra of Venezuela, the Saito Kinen Orchestra, and the Miami Symphony, under the direction of Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle, Seiji Ozawa, Giusseppe Sinopoli, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, and Gustavo Dudamel, among others. A founding director of the Latin American Trumpet Academy in Caracas, he mentors a promising generation of budding musicians and is a frequent guest at conservatories in Finland, Spain, France, Japan, and Latin America, as permanent jury member in prestigious international competitions.

Pacho Flores is an avid champion of new music and is bringing about important innovations to trumpet performance and fabrication. His repertoire includes commissions and premieres of works by composers such as Roger Boutry, Efraín Oscher, Giancarlo Castro, Santiago Báez, Juan Carlos Nuñez, Sergio Bernal, Arturo Márquez, Roberto Sierra or Paquito D’Rivera. His first album La trompeta Venezolana  has been released by the label GUATACA Producciones.

A Stomvi artist, he performs with instruments tailored specially for him by this prestigious firm and actively participates in the development and innovation of their instruments. Francisco Pacho Flores is a Deutsche Grammophon exclusive artist with already two recordings, Cantar, with Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin and Christian Vásquez; and Entropía, Gold Medal of the Global Music Awards. Next will be with Arctic Philharmonic and Christian Lindberg.




Pacho Flores, premiere in Santiago with Hernández-Silva

Pacho Flores, premiere in Santiago with Hernández-Silva

Trumpet player Pacho Flores and conductor Manuel Hernández-Silva will premiere Pacho Flores’ new composition, Cantos y revueltas, with the Real Filharmonía de Galicia in Santiago, Vigo and Coruña on next January the 11th, 12th and 13th, 2018. The piece, for solo trumpet, strings and ‘Venezuelan cuatro’, is based on folk tunes and work chants of the reach Venezuelan folklore. They will be supported by cuatro player Leo Rondón. Besides the premier, Pacho will also play Neruda’s Concerto for corno da caccia, and Villalobos’ Aria, from the Brazilian Bachiana nº 5.

composición de fotos de pacho flores y manuel hernández-silva

In the second part of the program, Hernández-Silva conducts Revueltas’ Redes and Ginastera’s Dances from the Ballet Estancia. Manuel, Chief Conductor of the Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra, has been recently designated new Chief Conductor of the Navarra Symphony Orchestra. Hernández-Silva, who have received outstanding ovations in his debut with the Spanish National Orchestra, will follow an intense guest conducting activity visiting the Orquesta de Extremadura and the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra; and conducting Mozart’s Cosí fan tutte in the Teatro Cervantes in Malaga.

After Santiago, Pacho will play again Efraín Oscher’s Concierto Mestizo and Christian Lindberg’s Akban Bunka, with the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Alondra de la Parra. Pacho premiered the Concierto Mestizo in 2010 in Caracas with Domingo García Hindoyan and the Simón Bolívar Orchestra, and since then he played it more than 25 times all along the world, as in the opening concert of the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra season on past October under Perry So. In February the 23rd, Pacho will play another world premiere, the new Trumpet Concerto by Giancarlo Castro, dedicated to him, with Rafael Payare and the Ulster Orchestra.

pacho flores composición portadas y premio

Deeply committed with the expansion of solo trumpet repertoire, Pacho is developing an ambitious project of shared commissions for new trumpet concertos to outstanding composer such as Arturo Márquez, Roberto Sierra, Paquito D’Rivera, Efraín Oscher and Christian Lindberg, to be premiered all around the world along the season 18/19 and following. First of these commissions, Arturo Márquez’s one, will be played eight times between October 2018 and August 2019 in Mexico, USA, Japan and Spain.




Kun-Woo Paik and Beethoven, Endless journey

Kun-Woo Paik and Beethoven, Endless journey

By Prof. Satoru Sakaku, musicologist, professor at Tokyo University, for Auditorium Magazine. Translation to English by Mrs. Miyoko Weissenberg

Kun-Woo Paik in 2017 has been continuing his pilgrimage with Beethoven’s piano sonatas for over 6 months. From the end of March to the middle of October, thirty-two recitals were given in 24 cities of Korea, the same number of recitals as that of complete piano sonata works by Beethoven. He kept playing exclusively Beethoven’s piano sonatas. The recital was titled as “ Kun-Woo Paik and Beethoven, Endless journey”. I found it is a well-thought title, as the concept of “journey” is not linked to classical music in Japan. The climax of these continuous recitals cycle was the complete 32 works of Beethoven piano sonata’s recitals held at the concert hall of Seoul Arts Center from September 1st to 8th. It has been 10 years since Mr. Paik had presented the complete sonatas in 2007, and he must be surely the first Korean pianist having performed complete sonatas recitals for two times.

In the past when «Beethoven performers» like Backhaus, Kempff, Serkin or Arrau had been active, they were presenting Beethoven’s complete piano sonatas wherever they went. Even nowadays, there are pianists such as Rudolf Buchbinder, whose specialty is Beethoven’s complete piano sonatas performance. But they do not have repertoires as large as that of Mr. Paik’s, and it was not necessary for them to have that. How Mr. Paik who acquires such diverse repertoires of piano music represents his second performance of complete piano sonatas by Beethoven, a decade after his first recitals? It is an “event“ for not only Asia but also in the whole world of piano performance. I, who heard his performance of complete works 10 years ago at Guangzhou in China, went to Seoul to listen all of the recitals as well.

The most important aspect of performing the complete piano sonatas recitals is to construct the structure of the program. How these 32 works can be combined, by period of composition, tonality, scale of the piece or level of difficulty, or where “The well-known sonata” shall be included in the program (obviously one must think of marketing), etc., the pianist is tested to be intellectually insightful and musically analytical, and for listener it brings pleasure of discovering the performer’s intention of the program.

What Mr. Paik has represented in his program must be one of a “model response”. One shall pay attention to the fact that it is not the same program structure as that of 10 years ago. He was also using the score by Heinrich Schenker’s editions for this recitals. As far as I remember, he must has been using score by Henlé editions at the recitals of 10 years ago.

  1. Sep. 1st.:  Sonata nº 20, nº 1, nº 19 / nº 15 «Pastoral», nº 8 «Pathétique»
  2. Sep. 2nd.: Sonata nº 5, nº 3 / nº 12, nº 14 «Moonlight»
  3. Sep. 3rd.: (afternoon) Sonata nº 6, nº 7 / nº 16, nº 17 «The Tempest»
  4. Sep. 4th.: (evening) Sonata nº 10, nº 2 / nº 22, nº 23 «Appassionata»
  5. Sep. 5th.: Sonata nº 11, nº 18 «The hunt» / nº 9, nº 25, nº 21«Waldstein»
  6. Sep. 6th.: Sonata nº 4, nº 24 / nº 13, nº 26 «Les adieux»
  7. Sep. 7th.: Sonata nº 27, nº 28 / nº 29 «Hammerklavier»
  8. Sep. 8th.: Sonata nº 30, nº 31, nº 32 (without intermission)

I will give you a brief summary of my impressions as follows. The first recital which gives an overview of the early period of Sonatas known to be the three core works for piano students (nº 1, nº 19, nº 20), was a the most pedagogical and a rare opportunity to be performed by such a great Piano master as Mr. Paik. The second movements of «Pastoral» and «Pathétique» were performed with such deep feeling and became the moments of the night.

The second recital was combined by related tonality in major and minor in each session; one could feel at the latter part that there was the image of a funeral procession. The dotted rhythm that appeared in the first movement of the moonlight sonata implies a funeral bell and not the moonlight shining upon lake Leman* if the musical-rhetorical figure is taken for granted. He performed the 2nd and 4th movement of the  «Funeral March sonata» and the last movement of «Moonlight sonata» lively with plenty of energy, displaying the contrast between life and death.

At the third and fourth recital, he performed sonatas from the early period to two works (nº 16, nº 17) which led to «new road», then «Appassionata», offering various styles of 8 sonata pieces in one day held listeners’ attention. How marvellously he played at the short cadenza of 90 measures in the second movement of nº16! His performance of «The Tempest» and «Appassionata» which he also performed in Japan in the past, reminded me of the important Sumo match between highest-ranged «Ōyokozuna» sumo wrestlers’. He dominated the hall by his sense of uniformity in concentrated expressions at the last movement of « The Tempest», or by the coda in «Appassionata» which made me imagine an explosion of galaxy.

Mr. Paik’s’ fifth recital was quite brilliant, with his dynamic and passionate performance at the last movements of « The hunt» and « Waldstein», or with optimum expressions given to nº9 and nº 25 sonata which were like chamber music. At his 6th recital, three sonatas in E-flat major were aligned, he carefully represented each characteristic part in these movements, and the splendid performance of «Les adieux» deserved to be the final to conclude this recital.

Only the later period of 6 sonatas are left for recitals at last. The Sonata nº 27and nº 28 played in the first part of 7th recital could have been even better performed and be excellent by such an experienced and accomplished pianist as Mr. Paik. This was because probably at the beginning of nº 27, the chord of his right hand did not play as he intended and the first movement became incoherent due to this unexpected occurrence. It seemed to me that there is still some room left for consideration for tempo of each movement of No.28’s. The second and last movement’s allegro could have been adequate with a slightly calmer tempo. It is normal to have such occurrences, as recitals are organised almost every day, for 8 times.

His performance of «Hammerklavier» deserves to be one of the best performance one could listen at present. Among other active pianists, maybe Mr. Grigory Sokolov is the only one who can perform as same level as Mr. Paik. Mr. Sokolov’s Hammerklavier can be described as if he constructs in more than 50 minutes a great complex of Buddhist temples, while Mr. Paik will let us hear with large scale of lively grace of “Qi” (energy flow according to Chinese tradition), which he brought from the space. When it comes to the third movement, there is no one aside from Mr. Paik who could express such human and profound emotions.

On the eighth recital, Mr. Paik performed the three last sonatas perfectly, bringing the whole audience to completely a different world. The profound silence that came after he played the last cord of the last sonata, was the most noble and sublime moment achieved after the performance of 32 works by this superhuman pianist. Even if it was not done this time, I hope one day the 6 sonatas live performance would be recorded on CD.

It shall also be mentioned that the audience listened motionlessly to each one of 32 sonatas. Korea is at present a leading country of piano in Asia where they produce many young talented pianists. This is made possible due to people such virtuosos as Mr. Paik, teachers who have a global vision, and audiences who have great sensibility and ability to grasp musical expressions and emotions. The audiences who sincerely enjoy the performance, and give an explosive applause as soon as performance is finished (also endless requests for autographs and souvenir picture taking), are the ones supporting the foundation of Korean Piano world’s prosperity.

All together, the interpretation of Beethoven’s sonata by Mr. Paik during the cycle of these recitals was different from that of 10 years ago, and also from what we hear from CD. His free performing style was quite astonishing. He split in two hands for leaps of octave and chords in « Hammerklavier» and beginning of No.32, also in the same way for the opening part (so called the phrase of “Mannheim rockets”) and in bar 16-17th. of the No.7 on the third movement. He is often at a standstill when his impulsive desires for musical expression exceed the capability of piano as the instruments, but this shall be accepted as one of his characteristic side of his art.

Kun-Woo Paik portada disco sonatas Beethoven

His pianism from technical, physical and mental aspects are all at a complete maturity state. In my opinion, the essential qualities in his performance is his capacity of «spirit channeling ». While the ultimate goal of occidental music is to go beyond, ascending to heaven, to an ideal world, Mr. Paik communicates with composers’ spirit in heaven when interpreting his compositions, and brings them back to be possessed as he likes. It is an opposite vector.

This “possession” creates a particularly realistic atmosphere as if Beethoven himself was playing during Mr. Paik’s performance, and became a source for such a strong persuasion to the audience. In other words, Mr. Paik is a Shaman piano performer (or, Mudang and Baksu in Korean Shamanism), with the aesthetics, which have Asian particularity. Such « possessive » style of pianists are not seen in Korea nor in Asia.

Spiritually rich and sophisticated “Theatricality“, in his production of music and gesture during his performance is also his particularity and not seen with other pianists. I wonder if he obtained this capacity through the influence of his beloved Partner Yoon Jeong-hee. This quality brings the best effect when one interprets works of composer such as Beethoven, whose musical works are mainly constituted of dramatical contrasts.

Previously, Mr. Paik had realized “Theatricality “ and “possession” though great amount of concentration and strong determination. But since this recital, these elements are more relaxed, and we see as ”Two beings”, Beethoven and Mr. Paik appearing freely one after another during performance. He succeeds to give the ideal expressions depending on the musical character of each movement on sonata, and made almost the best interpretation we can listen.

There is another thing that became clear to me. It is his future picture. Mr. Paik will probably be the first Asian master pianist who will be successful at forefront throughout his life, like Mr. Horowitz who was recording until the day before he passed away, or Mr. Rubinstein who gave recitals until 89 years old, or Mr. Horszowski who was an active performer until 99 years old. Mr. Paik’s achievement of this second integral Beethoven piano sonata recitals, brought his pianism and as a person too, to a new higher level. One shall keep more eyes on his further success.




Uso de cookies

Este sitio web utiliza cookies para que usted tenga la mejor experiencia de usuario. Si continúa navegando está dando su consentimiento para la aceptación de las mencionadas cookies y la aceptación de nuestra política de cookies, pinche el enlace para mayor información.

Aviso de cookies