Christian Vásquez returns this week to the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, of which he was Chief Conductor between 2013 and 2019, to face a program that includes: Manuel De Falla: Suite No. 1 of The Three-cornered Hat, Gabriel Fauré: Elegy for cello and orchestra, Keiko Abe: Prism Rhapsody for marimba and orchestra, Joaquín Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar and orchestra, and Alberto Ginastera: Suite del ballet Estancia. It is a festive program that will serve as the closing of the symphonic course in the Norwegian city and that will take place in the Fartein Valen, Stavanger Concert Hall. Vásquez will be accompanied at this event by soloists Liv Opdal, cello, Kristina Vårlid, guitar, and Akane Tominaga, percussion.
Christian Vásquez has also been Principal Guest Conductor of the Gävle Symphony Orchestra, in Norway, between 2010 and 2013, and of the Het Gelders Orkest in the Netherlands between 2015 and 2020, and continues to be linked to the Venezuelan Children’s and Youth Orchestra System as musical director of the Juan José Landaeta Symphony Orchestra, formerly the Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra, a position he assumed in 2010. Previously he had been the musical director of the José Félix Ribas Youth Orchestra.
He has worked with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Residentie Orkest, Orchester de la Suisse Romande, Vienna Radio Symphony, Salzburg Camerata, Russian State Symphony, Tokyo Philharmonic or Singapore Symphony. In North America he has conducted the National Arts Center Orchestra (Ottawa) and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, during his participation in their Young Artist Fellowship programme. Since then he has conducted orchestras such as the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Galicia Symphony, Berlin Konzerthausorchester, Prague Radio Symphony, Warsaw Beethoven Festival, Turku Philharmonic, Luxembourg Philharmonic, Warsaw Radio Symphony, Prague Philharmonic, Poznan Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, Basel Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, Estonian National Orchestra, Royal Danish Orchestra, Norwegian Radio Orchestra or the RTE National Orchestra of Ireland. His first operatic engagement in Europe was at the Norwegian Opera with Carmen and he has recently conducted at the Opéra National de Paris as Gustavo Dudamel’s assistant. In Spain he has conducted the Philharmonic of Gran Canaria and Symphonies of Galicia, Castilla y León, Tenerife, the Principality of Asturias and Navarra.
Manuel Hernández-Silva and Pacho Flores appear with the Orchestre National de Bordeaux-Aquitaine to offer two French premieres, those of the trumpet concertos, Salseando, by Roberto Sierra, and Concerto Venezolano by Paquito D’Rivera. In addition, a purely Latin American program is completed with Redes, by Silvestre Revueltas, and Estancia, by Ginastera. This French premiere of Salseando is the fourth in the cycle of premieres derived from the joint commission between the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Murcia Region Symphony Orchestra, the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra and the Bordeaux-Aquitaine National Orchestra itself. Hernández-Silva, who was also responsible for its Spanish premiere in Murcia, will conduct it next season with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra for its premiere in North America, later it will be Anu Tali with the Orchester Symphonique de Quebec who will premiere it in Canada, and Domingo Hindoyan will conduct it again in Liverpool for a new recording.
In the other hand, the Concerto Venezolano by Paquito D’Rivera completed its series of premieres by the co-commissioning orchestras last February by the San Diego Symphony and Rafael Payare, after the Minería Symphony, again the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Valencia Orchestra, a Spanish premiere also under Hernández-Silva’s conducting. Since then it has already been scheduled with the Castilla y León Symphony and Carlos Miguel Prieto and the Gran Canaria Philharmonic with Hernández-Silva, Payare will take it this summer with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and next season, again under the baton of Hernández-Silva, will be presented together with the Galician Symphony. Hernández-Silva’s presence in this commissioned project will continue with the premieres of the new concert commissioned from Gabriela Ortiz with the Galician Symphony and Daniel Freiberg’s Historias de Flores y Tangos with the Norwegian Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra, both at the season 2022/23, and at the time he also conducted the Spanish premiere of Danzas Latinas by Efraín Oscher with the Real Filharmonía de Galicia, with which he also premiered and recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Cantos y Revueltas by Pacho Flores himself.
Cover of Cantos y Revueltas, with Flores, Rondón, the Rea Filharmonía and Hernández-Silva
All these new trumpet concerts are the result of a carefully laid plan with the aim of expanding the scarce repertoire for solo trumpet and orchestra, which is materializing through a project of shared commissions for new trumpet concerts from outstanding composers such as all those mentioned here. In a first phase, Arturo Márquez, Paquito D’Rivera and Roberto Sierra were commissioned, in a second Christian Lindberg, Efraín Oscher and Daniel Freiberg, and with Gabriela Ortiz a third phase begins and will last for the next seasons. The first of all the premieres was Arturo Márquez’s Concierto de Otoño, by the National Symphony of Mexico and Carlos Miguel Prieto, and despite the interruptions and delays caused by the COVID19 pandemic, with this one from Bordeaux, sixteen of the twenty-one planned premieres of the first two phases have already been made, and if nothing prevents it, at the beginning of the 2023/24 season the twenty-five premieres corresponding to the seven commissions will have been completed.
American conductor of Hong Kong origin Perry So has been appointed as the new Musical and Artistic Director of the Navarra Symphony Orchestra, a position in which he succeeds Manuel Hernández-Silva. With an initial three-year contract, which will be effective from September 1, 2022, maestro Perry So has been the orchestra’s favorite in the polls. According to the statement from the orchestra itself, the choice of Maestro So has been the product of a rigorous participatory process that has lasted for several months. It began last year with a first phase of consultations and proposals submitted for consideration by the Orchestra, after whose decision the Board of Trustees of Fundación Baluarte proceeded to approve the candidacy… in the choice of maestro So “other criteria have also weighed in addition to his talent as a director, such as his wide and varied curriculum, his international projection and his artistic concerns”.
Conductor Perry So was born in Hong Kong in 1982, where he received early musical training in piano, organ, violin, viola, and composition. He later earned a BA in Comparative Literature from Yale University with a specialization in 20th-century Central European music and literature. During that period he founded an academic orchestra and conducted lyrical productions with the graduates. In 2008 he studied conducting at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore under the tutelage of Maestro Gustav Meier, receiving the First Prize and the Special Prize at the 5th Edition of the St. Petersburg Prokofiev International Conducting Competition. After this recognition he was appointed Assistant Director and then Associate Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and later he will be invited to conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Principality of Asturias Symphony Orchestra.
Having already consolidated his presence on five continents, Perry So has recently debuted with the San Francisco Symphony and has occupied the pits of the Royal Danish Opera -The Magic Flute- and the Yale Opera -Eugene Onegin- as opera director. Among the latest milestones in his career, three important tours stand out: a tour of Milan conducting the Nuremberg Symphony, another through the Balkans in 2013 with the Zagreb Philharmonic, and a third seven-week tour of South Africa conducting three orchestras in which he performed Verdi’s Requiem in the framework of the South African National Arts Festival.
Besides these projects and invitations, Perry So has conducted more than 30 orchestras around the world, including the San Francisco Symphony, the National Orchestra of Wales, the Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie, the New Zealand Symphony, the Shanghai Symphony, the Residentie Orkest of The Hague or the London Philharmonic, as well as half a dozen Spanish orchestras. He has also served as assistant to such renowned teachers as Edo de Waart, Esa Pekka-Salonen, Gustavo Dudamel, Lorin Maazel and John Adams.
Perry So is a member of the Music Conducting faculty at the Manhattan School of Music and also has a large body of recordings to his credit leading the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the BBC Concert Orchestra, repeatedly earning recognition from the criticism and being laureate in 2021 with the Diapason d’Or.
Manuel Hernández-Silva makes his debut conducting the OSESP, São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, accompanied by soprano Beatriz Díaz, tenor César Gutiérrez and guitarist Rafael Aguirre with three concerts on May 19, 20 and 21 at the Sala São Paulo, usual venue of the orchestra. The programme, entirely dedicated to Spanish music, includes Falla’s Suite No. 2 of El Sombrero de Tres Picos, the guitar concerts Concierto para una fiesta and Concierto de Aranjuez, which alternate, and a zarzuela gala that includes orchestra excerpts, arias and duets by Jesús Guridi, Reveriano Soutullo, Federico Moreno Torroba, Pablo Sorozábal, Ruperto Chapí, Gerónimo Giménez, Manuel Fernández Caballero, Manuel Penella and Federico Chueca.
With the Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, Hernández-Silva has already conducted all the great Latin American orchestras such as the Simón Bolívar Orchestra, of which he was the principal guest conductor, the Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Teatro Colón, the Bogotá Philharmonic or the National Symphony Orchestras. from Chile, Mexico, Colombia or Puerto Rico. His debut with the Orchester National de Bordeaux-Aquitaine will also take place shortly, and upcoming invitations include the Tucson Symphony, Orquesta de Valencia, Sinfónica de Galicia, Arctic Philharmonic, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Orchester National du Pays du Loire, National Cyprus Orchestra, etc.
Since she was invited by Riccardo Muti to sing Paisiello’s Missa Defunctorum at the Salzburg Festival or the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and the role of Diana de Iphigénie in Aulide for the Rome Opera, performances of Beatriz Díaz have been successful in great national coliseums such as the Teatro de la Zarzuela and the Real in Madrid, Arriaga and Euskalduna in Bilbao, Maestranza in Seville, Palacio Carlos V in Granada, Cervantes in Malaga, Baluarte and Gayarre in Pamplona, Pérez Galdós in Las Palmas, Jovellanos in Gijón or Campoamor in Oviedo and on notable international stages such as La Fenice in Venice, Carlo Felice in Genoa, Massimo in Palermo, Comunale in Bologna and Modena, Châtelet in Paris and Colón in Buenos Aires. Likewise, Díaz took part in exclusive concerts held in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Doha, Rabat or Tokyo, among other cities.
Winner of the first prize at the Hilde Zadek international singing competition in Passau, as well as the First Grand Prize and Gold Medal at the María Callas International Singing Competition in Athens, Gutiérrez has sung at the Opéra de la Bastille, Liceu, Opéra de Rome, Staatsoper Berlin, Volksoper and Staatsoper of Vienna, Theater an der Wien, Opera de Montecarlo, Leipzig, Munich or Helsinki, as well as in Tokyo, Athens, Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, Lima and Bogotá. Her repertoire includes more than 35 operas, from Handel’s Acis & Galatea to Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires. He has sung with directors such as Ricardo Muti, Armin Jordan, Gidon Kremer, Gustavo Dudamel or Hernández-Silva, and under the stage direction of Michael Hampe, Philippe Arlaud, Hugo de Ana or Jorge Lavelli, in addition to the Lied and oratorio repertoire.
Pacho Flores begins an American tour that will bring him to Chicago, IL, Portland, ME, and Delaware, OH, after an intense period in which he has performed the Spanish and USA premieres of Paquito D’Rivera’s new trumpet concerto, Concerto Venezolano, with the Valencia and San Diego orchestras; the South American premiere of Roberto Sierra’s new trumpet concerto, Salseando, with the Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, Brazil; his Spanish debut as a conductor with the Murcia Symphony orchestra premiering Leo Rondón’s Concierto de Mar, new concerto for Venezuelan cuatro and orchestra, as well as two of his new compositions, Heterónimos, for trumpet and small orchestra, and Preludio and Fugue for Strings; and the absolute premiere of his own Albares, Concerto for flugelhorn, releasing three new prototypes of flugelhorns, with the Tenerife Symphony, besides other important concerts in Spain with the Castilla y León Symphony and the Gran Canaria Philharmonic. This American tour includes a chamber concert for the Music Institute of Chicago, Pacho’s debut with the Portland Symphony playing Arturo Márquez’s Concierto de Otoño under Josep Caballé-Domenech, and his largely postponed debut with the Ohio Central Symphony and his friend Jaime Morales, in which Pacho will perform Neruda’s Concerto for corno da caccia as well as Márquez’s concerto.
Shortly after this, he will play the French premiere of Sierra’s Salseando with the Orchestre National de Bordeaux-Aquitaine under Manuel Hernández-Silva, and the absolute premiere of Igmar Alderete’s Concierto Mambí with the Orquesta de Córdoba led by its principal conductor Carlos Domínguez-Nieto. This will be prior to his engagement with Alondra de la Parra and her project The Impossible Orchestra; his three appearances as a Resident Artist in La Virée Classique (The Classical Spree) of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra on his triple role as soloist, conductor and composer; and his performance on the premiere of Daniel Freiberg’s new trumpet concerto, Historias de Flores y Tangos, with the Minería Symphony Orchestra under Carlos Miguel Prieto, with whom Pacho will also launch his last recording for Deutsche Grammophon, which already includes some of these new trumpet concertos dedicated to him by Arturo Márquez and Paquito D’Rivera, together with Efrain Oscher’s Concierto Mestizo and Daniel Freiberg’s Latin American Chronicles.