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Pedro Halffter

Pedro Halffter

Country of origin: Spain
Birthday: January 5, 1971

About Pedro Halffter

Halffter is fully committed to Ullmann’s plans to use a large orchestra for Der Kaiser von Atlantis – there are various notes to indicate this. According to one particular entry, Ullmann might even have envisioned adding a Jazz-Combo. In the “Mad Scene trio”, Halffter convincingly demonstrates the effect Ullmann might indeed have achieved with the addition of a jazz ensemble (Josef Oehrlein, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung).

Pedro Halffter Caro was born in Madrid. He comes from a musical family, son of the composer and conductor Cristóbal Halffter and great nephew of both Rodolfo and Ernesto Halffter. While at school at Schloss Salem, he received piano and cello lessons and won several prizes in the "Jugend musiziert" competition. He began to study conducting at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna under Leopold Hager. Following graduation in 1995 he gained a Fulbright scholarship to study composition in New York. Other teachers include Karl Oestereicher, Bruno Weil, Ilya Musin, Julius Kalmar and Ferdinand Leitner. From 2001 to 2004 Halffter was Chief Guest Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra and from 2002 to 2003 he was, in addition, chief conductor of the Youth Orchestra of the Bayreuth Festival. He was artistic director from 2001 to 2004 at the Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville. He has been Chief Conductor of the Royal Seville Symphony Orchestra and of the Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria in Las Palmas since 2004.

Besides his work as a conductor, Halffter is working on his compositional output. His works have received first performances by the Massachussetts Symphony Orchestra, the Deutsche Kammerakademie, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, the Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra and the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra in concert halls such as New York’s Carnegie Hall, the National Auditorium of Music, Madrid, the Konzerthaus Dortmund, and others. Again and again Halffter focuses on the influence of personalities up to the present day in the history of composition and other artistic disciplines. Thus he has dedicated himself intensively to the legacy of the composer Viktor Ullmann, who was murdered in Auschwitz. Halffter has arranged his opera Der Kaiser von Atlantis for symphony orchestra, and composed the Adagio (in memoriam Ana Frank) and a Short Overture to "Kaiser von Atlantis" from fragments including piano pieces. Besides these are arrangements of Wagner’s Tannhäuser and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, alongside works that pay hommage, such as Dalí and Beethoven for piano quintet and Homenaje a Beethoven for violin, clarinet and piano. In 2018, Thank You, Mr. Joyce received its first performance with the Symphony Orchestra of the Orchestral Centre, North Rhine-Westfalia at the Dortmund Concert Hall, and, in 2022, Proteo, for orchestra, with the Madrid Symphony Orchestra.

Along with his First Prize at Jugend Musiziert, Halffter received the German Music Council’s Young Composer prize, and the European Award for young composers. Moreover, he has been promoted by Juventudes de Madrid and the Bank of Spain. Today Halffter is on the jury of the singing competition "Concorso Lirico Ottevio Zino" in Rome and is a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Saint Isabel of Hungary in Seville. Principal among his CD pressings are the first recording of the opera Don Quijote by Cristóbal Halffter for the Glossa Label, and portrait albums of the composers Manuel de Falla, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Arnold Schönberg and Franz Schreker from Warner Music and Warner Classics & Jazz, as well as an Alberto Ginastera album for Deutsche Grammophon.

Pedro Halffter lives in Madrid. As a conductor, he is represented by Konzertdirektion Hans Adler (symphonic concerts) and by Hilbert Artists Management (operatic performances).