Highlights of 2018

In 2018, Pablo Heras-Casado continued his excellent rapport with leading orchestras throughout the world. Along with multiple debuts, his first book, A prueba de orquesta, and more, he was honored by the French government with the title Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters). Awarded by the ambassador of France in Spain, Yves Saint-Geours, this prestigious title is given to “artists, writers or intellectuals who have distinguished themselves for their creations in the artistic or literary domain, or for the contribution they have made to the splendour of the arts and letters in France and in the world”.

This year marked his first tour with the Munich Philharmonic and pianist Javier Perianes beginning in Germany and continuing throughout his home country of Spain. Heras-Casado garnered critical acclaim for his performance with Bachtrack praising his “even direction, achieving synchrony and dynamics in equal measure.” Just prior, harmonia mundi released a new recording of Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Heras-Casado, the ensemble, and Perianes, taken from a live recording; purchase links and additional information are available here.

In honor of the centenary of the death of Claude Debussy, Pablo Heras-Casado and the Philharmonia Orchestra released a new album in which they interpreted two of Debussy’s shimmering masterpieces, La Mer and the celebrated Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, alongside the Symphonic Fragments from Le Martyre de saint Sébastien. Pablo and the ensemble have performed these works together for London audiences and received brilliant critical acclaim from Bachtrack describing their performance of La Mer “as a satisfying symphonic journey.”

Heras-Casado presented his first edition of the Granada Festival since his appointment as director in 2017. Celebrating the festival’s 67th edition this year, the event had resounding success, reaching 92.7% occupancy, with thirteen sold-out performances, and welcoming more than 45,000 audience members. The 2019 edition will run for three weeks, from June 21 to July 12, with an international commission to the composer, conductor and Hungarian professor Peter Eötvös, and the centennial celebration of the premiere of Manuel de Falla’s ballet, The Three-Cornered Hat (El sombrero de tres picos) as well as the 150th anniversary of the death of the French composer Héctor Berlioz.

Pablo reunited with the San Francisco Symphony twice this year. In the fall he presented a Spanish-themed program, where New York Arts applauded him and the ensemble in Ravel’s Alborada del gracioso saying “I have never heard the piece more perfectly or excitingly led than last night. Heras-Casado has a remarkable ear for clarity. As a result, the music gleamed. But it was also combined with a genuine sense of warmth and sensuality.” In his final engagement of 2018, Heras-Casado also returned to the Middle East for concerts with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and award-winning pianist, Syzmon Nehring, presenting works by Mahler, de Falla, and Ravel.

At the Teatro Real de Madrid, where he is Principal Guest Conductor, Pablo conducted the first-ever performances of Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten in Spain. For this challenging and exceptional work, the Teatro Real commissioned a new co-production (along with Operhaus Zürich and the Komische Oper Berlin), directed by Calixto Bieto, which featured sixteen singers on stage and more than one hundred instrumentalists in the pit. As the spotlight artist for the NTR Saturday Matinee concert series at the Het Concertgebouw, Pablo conducted the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Choir, and the Flemish Radio Choir in his first-ever performance of Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov. He received rave reviews, with Bachtrack saying “Heras-Casado had Mussorgsky’s colossal score in a firm grasp.”

Starting in 2019, Pablo Heras-Casado leads his first-ever complete Ring Cycle at the Teatro Real de Madrid. Heras-Casado will conduct Wagner’s colossal tetralogy over the course of four consecutive seasons, beginning in 2019 with Robert Carsen’s renowned production of Das Rheingold, running from January 17 to February 1.