Cristóbal Soler is, in the unanimous opinion of the critics, one of the most outstanding directors of his generation, characterized by an upward trajectory in which he has always reflected his charisma and interpretive depth. He is known for being the principal conductor of the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid for six seasons, founder and artistic-musical director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of the University of Valencia and for collaborating with many of the great groups on the current musical scene such as the Orchestra and Choir. RTVE, the National OBC of Catalonia, the Valencia Orchestra, the Galician Symphony Orchestra, the Community of Madrid Orchestra, and a long etcetera. As president of AESDO (Spanish Association of Orchestra Directors), Cristóbal Soler helps “the greatest lend a hand to the smallest” and the next academic year 2019-2020 will continue with this noble objective from the new Superior Music Center of Galicia, as professor of the Management itinerary. We have spoken with him about his past, present and future and his next incorporation to CSM Galicia.
What is music to you?
Music is my vocation, a wonderful philosophy of life that marks my day to day and makes me enjoy it with passion.
What projects are you currently working on?
Today I am focused on musical direction and the recording for Warner of a Spanish lyrical heritage program with the RTVE Orchestra and Choir in collaboration with Patrimonio Nacional.
It is always positive that new spaces like CSM Galicia proliferate, in which music professionals can train, in which they can rigorously develop all their capacities.
Do you have new projects in mind in which we will see you in the short and medium term?
The most imminent thing you can see me will be the musical direction of the gala ceremony for the Princess of Asturias Awards, with the Principality of Asturias Symphony Orchestra and the Choir of the Princess of Asturias Foundation, and also directing the two new productions at the Palau of the Arts.
What moments of your career in the music scene do you remember most fondly?
Well, the truth is that I have great memories of my training period as an assistant to the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. There were two seasons in which I could learn a lot from great masters like Sawallisch, Prêtre, Fedoseyev or Mariss Jansons.
What is Cristóbal Soler like offstage?
Just like on stage, passionate about what I love.
What are the strengths of today’s orchestras? What do you miss in them?
The instrumental musical technical level is higher, but it is true that more professional flexibility is needed, trying to avoid routine in music.
Let’s talk about CSM Galicia … Was a new Superior Music Center in Galicia necessary?
It is always positive that new spaces like CSM Galicia proliferate, in which music professionals can train, in which they can rigorously develop all their capacities. Ours is a profession of constant evolution and learning, which needs a lot of dedication and motivation.
What will Cristóbal Soler bring to his students?
Dedication, involvement and my musical experience of more than 30 years in professional orchestral conducting.
How did the idea of becoming a Management professor at CSM Galicia come about?
Thanks to the good relationship I have with Manuel and Pere Molina (director and co-director of CSM Galicia), who have been my students in conducting and who proposed that I become part of their team in this new project.
You live on horseback between large cities far from Valga, the location of CSM Galicia, and still you will be a teacher of management of the center. What has led one of the most reputable directors on the current scene to bet on this new project?
It is a new project, therefore without inertia to immobility and with the ability to create a project of musical excellence as a reference.
What would you say to reluctant students to opt for private music training?
That excellence training is the best investment and, sometimes, they find it in private centers, in the end it will depend on the teaching staff.
What advice would you give to musicians starting their higher studies next year?
That they work hard, with perseverance and passion to achieve the highest musical level, which is the fundamental requirement in the professional world.
What do you think they will need to achieve that maximum musical level that you mention?
Exclusive dedication to music, yes, knowing how to reconcile music with his personal life.
To finish, what are the most important values that a professional musician should have?
You should certainly aspire to achieve excellence in human values, in music and in your specialty.