Pablo Heras-Casado: Breathing with the Orchestra

A Multifaceted Conductor

This Spanish conductor from Granada is in very high demand worldwide, and Montreal will be one of his stops next May. Pablo Heras-Casado and the OSM will bring to life the melancholy First Symphony by Tchaikovsky as well as Dutilleux’s Tout un monde lointain, a work of Baudelairean “spleen” showcasing the young cellist Edgar Moreau.

At 41, Heras-Casado – whose French is highly proficient and English, excellent – commands an astonishingly varied repertoire. His training as a classical singer and his studies in art history and theatre no doubt lay behind his multi-horizon artistic outlook. Before he turned 20, he had already founded the early music ensemble Capella Exaudi while familiarizing himself with contemporary music. Today, he is Conductor Emeritus of the Orchestra of St Luke in New York and Director of the Granada International Festival of Music and Dance. He continues to cultivate his multi-repertoire approach and is fully conversant with chamber and symphony orchestras in styles ranging from Baroque, Romantic, contemporary and even operatic.

“Orchestras are complex living beings.” 

Pablo Heras-Casado learned from Harry Christophers how to distill musical expression in its purest and most direct form, and from long-time mentors Peter Eötvös and Pierre Boulez, rigorous discipline in the service of music that breathes. His extensive practical singing experience has led him to develop a privileged relationship with the orchestra, which for him is a living being to be reached through direct and free contact, without the intermediary of the baton. This vision translates as an authentic transfer of emotional, intellectual and physical energy that engages with music’s own flexibility and organicity.

Whether it is a work by Boulez, Brahms, or Palestrina, music obeys universal rules of melodic tension.

– Pablo Heras-Casado


A Tireless Explorer

In every phase of his work, curiosity is the prime motivator. This quest for rediscovery informs Heras-Casado’s repertoire choices, which include infrequently performed contemporary works or lesser-know works by great composers. Curiosity is also a primordial factor of his engagement with different orchestras: in rehearsals, nothing is set in stone. The score is, of course, important, but it must come to life and fill a space through a process that involves both the orchestra’s own sound and the conductor’s choices, united by the same impulsion and objective. You will have the opportunity to experience this for yourself next May 8 and 9 with OSM at the Maison symphonique, in a memorable encounter with this multifaceted, open and visionary conductor.