Hernández-Silva has recently achieved a great success at Teatro Colón after conducting two programs with the Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra. Several reviews from Argentine and international media such as Clarín, Olyrix or De Paraíso para Usted highlight his detailed knowledge of the scores, technique, musicality, attention to detail and ability to accompany the soloists and get the best out of this prestigious ensemble. Here you can read some excerpts.
The orchestra accompanied the pianist perfectly, under the masterful conducting of Hernández Silva. In the second of the three movements (Allegro scherzando), Filjak’s scherzo was masterful, with a depth and sound balance between orchestra and soloist as had not been heard at Teatro Colón for a while.
For the second part of the concert, Manuel Hernández Silva chose Dvorák’s Symphony No. 8 in G major, a piece within the usual repertoire of the Philharmonic, that has performed it on countless occasions. However, few performances have achieved the level of perfection and luminosity as last night’s under Hernández-Silva, which excelled for its outstanding interpretative quality and pure sound.
When there is rehearsal, discipline and effort, the Philharmonic shows its quality, sounding like a European orchestra. Manuel Hernández-Silva was an additional ingredient, contributing with his personality and talent to bring brightness and luminosity on a night worthy of the Colón. An authentic revelation on the stage of our biggest coliseum.
The five pieces in Ma Mère l’Oye offer in their symphonic version a delicate, smooth and quilted panorama of this French garden, which promised to be rich in colors and nuances, and that the Buenos Aires orchestra managed to transmit under the beats of the sometimes magic baton of Hernández-Silva, who was very inspired and precise in his direction. The management of volumes and tempi is particularly careful (III, Laideronnette), with Manuel Hernández-Silva remaining very attentive to the execution of his gestural, flexible and precise indications. The fade-in of the harp, the triangle and then the violins in Les Entretiens de la Belle et de la Bête (IV) is a good example of coordination to create this impression of wonder that is the aesthetic link of Ma Mère l’Oye and finds in Le Jardin féérique (V) an enchanting conclusion.
Au Cimetière (V) gives us the opportunity to see text and melody intermingling in a piece that evokes a song “on the wings of music”, while the iridescent nuances of the orchestra, under the instructions on its conductor, manage effects that echo those of the verses.
The second part of the concert opens to this French garden a new horizon from across the Rhine: the performance of Schumann’s Symphony No. 2 further reinforces the already existing impression. The Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra follows Manuel Hernández-Silva’s requests exactly, earning them all a big applause.
Conducted by Venezuelan Manuel Hernández-Silva, the orchestra excelled itself with works by Ravel, Schumann and Berlioz.
The conductor was also a success. Venezuelan Manuel Hernández-Silva replaced French Lionel Bringuier, absent for health reasons. Hernández-Silva was born in Caracas, graduated in Vienna and is currently principal conductor of the Malaga and Navarra orchestras. In Ravel’s suite and Berlioz’s songs he managed the orchestra to sound expressive and detailed even in the most surprising pianissimos. The ravelian goldsmithing counted in addition on impeccable soloist interventions, especially Pablo Saraví in the brief but significant violin solo at the end of the fourth movement, Les entretiens de la Belle et de la Bête.
And another success was the soloist Berlioz songs, the Irish mezzosoprano Tara Erraught, of beautiful timbre, fair intonation and an expresiveness at the same time nuanced and reserved. Hernández-Silva maintained a seamless balance between orchestra and soloist.
If conductor Hernández-Silva had been extremely reserved in the first two pieces of the program, in Schumann he reached peaks of great emotional intensity, without neglecting the continuity of form and details at the same time. The great performance of the soloists, especially the oboe, the clarinet and the bassoon, must also be here underlined.
Pacho Flores will premiere Arturo Sandoval’s Concerto for Trumpet No. 1 with the Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra under maestro Enrique Diemecke on July 11 at Teatro Colón. This concert has a peculiar history: Sandoval himself recorded it with the London Symphony for RCA-Victor in 1994; however, due to some problems with the location of the materials, he never performed it live. Years later, after meeting Pacho Flores and recovering some fragments of notes and other various materials, he decided to give them to Pacho so that he could revise them —practically reconstruct the concert— and premiere it. This gesture shows the excellence of a living legend of the trumpet by ackknowledge the talent of a young artist, thus recalling the great Dizzi Gillespie when he gave young Sandoval a trumpet with the inscription “To my son”. Arturo Sandoval is also the author of a second concert for trumpet and orchestra that he and Rubén Simeó, another great Spanish trumpet player, usually perform around the world.
This Concerto No. 1 by Arturo Sandoval that Pacho now adds to his repertoire enlarges the impressive list of new concerts that Pacho himself is promoting through his project of shared commissions for trumpet concerts, which is causing the greatest increase of the soloist repertoire for this instrument in all its history. Composers such as Arturo Márquez, Roberto Sierra, Paquito D’Rivera, Christian Lindberg, Daniel Freiberg and Efraín Oscher participate in this project, and others like Giancarlo Castro, Alain Trudel and Igmar Alderete are also composing new concerts dedicated to Pacho Flores.
After this, the European premiere of Arturo Márquez’s Concierto de Otoño will take place on August 14 at Teatro Campoamor in Oviedo, with the Oviedo Filarmonía and Lucas Macías. This will be the fourth and last premiere after Mexico, USA and Japan with the National Symphonic Orchestra of Mexico under Carlos Miguel Prieto, Tucson Symphony Orchestra under José Luis Gómez, and Hyogo PAC Orchestra led by Michiyoshi Inoue, the four orchestras that commissioned this work. Only two weeks later, on September 1, will follow the premiere in Mexico of Paquito D’Rivera’s Concierto Venezolano by the Orquesta de Minería, again under Carlos Miguel Prieto, who has a great presence in this project by also scheduling Márquez’s Concierto de Otoño at the Opening Gala of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, of which he is principal conductor. D’Rivera’s Concierto Venezolano already has a second scheduled premiere with the San Diego Symphony under Rafael Payare in March 2020. For his part, Manuel Hernández-Silva will conduct the premiere of the new trumpet concert by Efraín Oscher next November with the Real Filharmonía de Galicia, and we will not have to wait long for the premiere of Roberto Sierra’s Salseando by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Domingo Hindoyan in January 2020.
Manuel Hernández-Silva returns to Teatro Colón to conduct the Philharmonic Orchestra of Buenos Aires in the absolute premiere of Ave Fénix by Argentinian composer Claudia Montero, winner of four Grammy awards. In addition, maestro Hernández-Silva will accompany Croatian pianist Martina Filjak by Saint-Säens Concert No. 2, op. 22 in G minor and conduct Dvořak’s Symphony No. 8 in G major. This concert will take place on next Thursday, June the 27th at 20:00 hrs.
This trip to Argentina is a prelude to the upcoming debut of Hernández-Silva with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra in the US at the 2019/20 season, as well as to future visits to Norway, France, Germany or Australia. The album Cantos y Revueltas by Pacho Flores with cuatro player Leo Rondón and the Real Filharmonía de Galicia under Hernández-Silva will be released next July by Deutsche Grammophon. This album contains the homonymous work by Pacho Flores, Cantos y revueltas, that was premiered in January 2018 and recorded live for this double CD / DVD, together with other highlights by Pacho, Neruda, Villalobos or Piazzolla. Hernández-Silva is also going to premiere on next November Efraín Oscher’s Danzas Latinas for trumpet and orchestra, a commission of the Real Filharmonía, withPacho Flores.
Hernández-Silva will complete this month his first and fifth season as Principal and Artistic Director of the Navarra Symphony Orchestra and the Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra respectively, but an intense summer awaits him. After returning from Buenos Aires, he will continue with one of the activities he’s most passionate about: working with young people; on the one hand with a series of concerts with the Young Baroque Orchestra of Andalusia; and on the other hand with the Masterclass in Orchestral Conducting organised by the Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra. Hernández-Silva will then make his debut at Pollença Festival in Mallorca, along with Pacho Flores and the Symphony Orchestra of the Balearic Islands, and conduct a Homage to Gayarre with the Navarra Symphony Orchestra.
The American conductor Ira Levin has been named as the principal guest conductor of the Sofia Opera, beginning in the 2017-18 season. Levin has already conducted on the Sofia stage Verdi’s Requiem in April 2017, and on 1 October, at 16 h, he will open the new season with the newest production of Bulgarian first opera theatre. With the Sofia ensemble and orchestra, he will conduct Wagner’s complete “Ring of the Nibelung” tetralogy in May, 2018 at the legendary Bolschoi Theater in Moscow – the first performances of the “Ring” there for over a century, followed by the entire cycle in Sofia in July. He will conduct also “Don Carlos”, “Werther”, “Un ballo in Maschera” and concerts.
Ira Levin has conducted over 1000 operatic performances and his repertoire encompasses 70 different titles. His symphonic repertoire includes most of the standard repertoire as well as many lesser-known works. He has worked with innumerable internationally renowned conductors, instrumentalists, singers and stage directors and is also an active concert pianist and composer/arranger. He conducted a double-bill of Stravinsky’s “Pulcinella” and Busoni’s “Arlecchino” in the 100th anniversary season of the Theatro Sao Pedro in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in August 2017.
His hugely successful US operatic debut took place in April 2017 at Lincoln Center, conducting Respighi’s brilliant and rarely heard La campana sommersa in the first season of the newly re-organized New York City Opera. He received unanimously positive reviews from all of the leading papers and musical journals. He debut at the illustrious Théâtre de Geneve in November 2016 with Marschner’s Der Vampyr, was likewise received with great popular and critical acclaim. He also conducted several performances of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella with the Orchestra de la Suisse Romande.
Ira Levin was the Principal Guest Conductor of the legendary Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires from 2011-15, where he conducted 12 major opera productions, among which new productions of Aleko, Francesca da Rimini, Die Frau ohne Schatten, Un Ballo in Maschera, Idomeneo, Madama Butterfly, Werther, Don Carlos, including the American premieres of Enescu’s Oedipe and Glanert’s Caligula, and several symphonic programs. He previously served as Music Director and Artistic Director of the Teatro Municipal in Sao Paulo (2002-2005) and of the National Theater of Brazil, in Brasilia (2007-2010), bringing both international acclaim. He introduced several important works by Mahler, Janacek, Shostakovich, Sibelius, Busoni, Enescu, Schoenberg, Schnittke, Corigliano and many others to Brazil. He held posts as assistant conductor at the Frankfurt Opera (1985-88), principal conductor of the Bremen Opera (1988-1996) and the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Düsseldorf-Duisburg (1996-2002) and as the principal guest conductor of the Kassel Opera (1994-1998). He has performed with many orchestras and at opera houses throughout the world including the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, the Frankfurt Museum Orchestra, the Düsseldorfer Symphony, the Duisburg Philharmonic, the Hannover State Orchestra of Lower Saxony, the Bruckner Orchestra of Linz, the Badische Staatskapelle of Karlsruhe, the Bremen Philharmonic, the Dublin Opera, the Montpellier Opera, the Norske Opera in Oslo, the Norrlands Opera in Umea, Sweden, the Cape Town Opera, the National Portuguese Symphony Orchestra in Lisbon, the State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra, the Buenos Aires Philharmonic and all of the major orchestras in Brazil.
Ira Levin gave his highly successful debut in the Berlin Philharmonic Hall in November 2013 with the Berlin Symphony, conducting his orchestration of Busoni’s Fantasia Contrappuntistica and Schumann’s Fourth Symphony as well as playing a Mozart piano concerto. His two CDs with the London Symphony of works by American composer Michael Colina on the Fleur deSon/Naxos label were received with glowing reviews and his 2014 recording of Colina’s Requiem, “Requinauts”, with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Chorus was released on the same label at the end of 2014, also to critical acclaim. His recording of Bruckner’s Sixth Symphony with the Symphony Orchestra of Norrlands Opera, the first since 1952, will be followed by the release in 2017 of the world premiere recording of the 1892 edition of the Second Symphony with the same forces.
His 2010 orchestration of Busoni’s monumental Fantasia Contrappuntistica was included on the program of his extremely successful debut as conductor, pianist and arranger in Berlin’s Philharmonic Hall in November of 2013 with the Berlin Symphony. An orchestration of Liszt’s Fantasia and Fugue on the theme BACH followed in 2011. These works have been performed in Germany, Finland, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. His 2012 orchestration of Franck’s Piano Quintet had it’s successful world premiere with the Helsinki Philharmonic under the direction of Leif Segerstam in October, 2014. His 2014 orchestrations of five Rachmaninoff works were successfully performed by the Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Porto Alegre Symphony and the orchestra of the SODRE, Montevideo and his 2015 orchestration of Reger’s piano masterpiece, the Variations and Fugue on a theme by J.S. Bach, received it’s successful world premiere in Turku, Finland in February 2016, also under the direction of Leif Segerstam. Ira Levin conducted it and other works by Reger with the Brandenburg State Orchestra for a new multi-DVD documentary by “Fugue State Films” in honor of the 2016 centenary of Reger’s death, which was released in March 2017 and also performed it with the Malaga Philharmonic in October of 2016. All of these works have been published by “Edition Tilli” of Finland. His new orchestration of Respighi’s violin and piano sonata in b-minor was published in February 2017 by Tilli as “Concerto in b-minor”.
“Edition Tilli” completed publishing in 2016 the large series of his transcriptions for piano solo of works by Bach, Gluck, Schubert, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Mahler and Villa-Lobos and cadenzas to several Mozart concertos. Levin’s recordings of many his piano works can now be heard on You Tube, along with the scores. An accomplished pianist, Ira Levin was the first-prize winner of the American National Chopin Competition in 1980. He studied for eight years with the legendary Jorge Bolet at the Curtis Institute, later becoming his assistant, while also studying conducting with Max Rudolf. He has performed throughout the United States, South America, and Europe and continues to appear in recital and concert, often leading concertos from the keyboard as well, including works by Mozart, Weber, Bach and even Brahms’s second concerto, which he conducted and played after a major soloist cancelled on short notice.