Culture

The Balearic Symphony Orchestra gets a new lease of life with Mirabaud

For the past year, Pablo Mielgo and Joji Hattori have been joint artistic directors of the Spanish ensemble supported by Mirabaud.

During this time the Balearic Symphony Orchestra has enjoyed a new lease of life. Since they arrived in the summer of 2014, the Spanish conductor Pablo Mielgo and the Japanese conductor Joji Hattori have worked closely in tandem, determined to improve the level of training. “We are very good friends and work very well together,” explains Pablo Mielgo. “That’s why we applied together to the political bodies and regional institutions to be joint artistic directors of the BSO. And our application was accepted.”

With a dozen concerts for season-ticket holders, one-off performances, opera productions and social projects, there's a flurry of activity at the BSO. Its double mission, symphonic and operatic, enables it to enliven the cultural life of the Balearic Islands. “We have a full season that starts in mid-October and runs right through to the following August, with summer concerts at Bellver Castle in particular,” explains Pablo Mielgo. This magnificent 14th-century monument, situated on a hill covered in pine forest, three kilometres from the historic centre of Palma de Mallorca, is able to attract a discerning tourist clientèle during the summer season.

Although its roots can be traced back to the late 1940s, this group of 70 musicians received its official title of the Balearic Symphony Orchestra in 1988. The orchestra plays at the Auditorium de Palma de Mallorca, which was opened in 1969 by Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (no less!), but also in Minorca and elsewhere in the archipelago. For opera, it performs at the Teatro Principal de Palma, an Italianate theatre with red velvet seats. Pablo Mielgo’s version of La Traviata by Verdi will be a highlight there in April 2016, but you can also see Cavalleria rusticana by Pietro Mascagni, Puccini’s Manon Lescaut or The Barber of Seville by Rossini.

We want not only to improve artistic quality among invited conductors and soloists, but also to transform the orchestra by integrating social projects and bringing together the symphonic and operatic repertoire.

Pablo Mielgo

Among the artists set to perform over the coming season is the French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, who will play Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2, conducted by Pablo Mielgo (25 February 2016). The Spanish conductor will take on Mahler’s imposing Symphony No. 2 (28 January), while Joji Hattori will conduct the same composer’s First Symphony (26 May) and Katia and Marielle Labèque will play Poulenc’s Concerto for two pianos (19 May). Alongside the subscription season, the BSO organises events for families and children and takes part in Christmas and New Year celebrations.

“We have taken over an orchestra of a very high standard,” says Joji Hattori. The partnership with Mirabaud – combined with regional public subsidies – will enable it to develop training activities in Spain. “We want not only to improve artistic quality among invited conductors and soloists,” explains Pablo Mielgo, “but also to transform the orchestra by integrating social projects and bringing together the symphonic and operatic repertoire.” Visitors to the Balearic Islands, who Joji Hattori says are “increasingly discerning”, are encouraging the orchestra to invite renowned soloists such as the famous Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez, who came to the Auditorium de Palma de Mallorca last August. The two artistic directors will definitely do everything they can to build on this momentum.