I have been lucky to be born in a family where music has been everything. My father – a clarinetist, composer, and conductor of several choirs – and my mother – a violinist – did everything that was in their hands so that this beautiful art filled both my life and my brother Mateu’s, becoming a form of education and understanding of life itself.

Uncountable highlights of this path that I am still walking along come to my mind, such as sitting in an armchair in our small apartment in Barcelona listening to several albums as I was three or four, everybody sitting on the ‘Orgue’ at the Palau de la Música to listen to my mother (with the former OCB), the concerts and trips of the youth band conducted by my father, the first exams at Barcelona’s conservatory, the first piano competitions in Vilafranca, the endless hours studying, my first collaborations with Barcelona’s City Band, my first competitive examinations to be part of the Orquesta del Gran Teatro del Liceu, my first contract with the OCD, my first tour in Japan, as well as a long list of other examples.

Already as an orchestral conductor, memories keep adding up – my beginnings at home, my first audition, my first competitions, the valuable hours I spent with the person that would become my first big mentor (conductor Sergiu Comissiona), more competitions, and finally a decision that would become a milestone: Vienna.

That was a really intense and productive period: I learned German; I attended innumerable rehearsals and concerts of the Vienna Philharmonic and other first-class orchestras, as well as countless opera performances at the Staatsoper; I received a grant from the Wagner Foundation in Bayreuth to attend the 1998 Summer Festivals; and I finally obtained the prized title – Master of Arts from the University of Vienna – and, together with that, my debut at the Musikverein with the RSO Wien. During those years I also met another important mentor of mine, professor Jorma Panula, thanks to whom I could make my debut at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

I was lucky because several extremely charming cities became special milestones along my way. Thus, following Barcelona and Vienna, Prague came along, since it was in this beautiful city where I made my professional debut as a conductor. Prague was followed by many other cities, each of them with a beauty of their own.

A special mention needs to be granted to conductor David Zinman, who I consider to be my great mentor, since it is he to whom I owe my experiences with the Aspen Music Festival, the orchestras Tonhalle Zurick and Cleveland, and indirectly many other orchestras, and the attainment of The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative Award, which allowed me to live a fairy-tale year next to conductor Sir Colin Davis and to start an amazing collaboration with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, collaboration that brought us together at London’s Royal Albert Hall and the release of a CD with Respighi’s trilogy for Onyx Classics.

Interestingly my first Music Directors position has been not very far from Aspen, in Colorado Springs. Great new friends, marvellous people that are making me feel at home.

Nowadays one could say that I consider myself lucky, since apart from enjoying day-to-day life, both in Barcelona and the Ebro’s Delta, spending my time with my family and hobbies such as riding a bike, cooking, reading, drinking a bottle of good wine with friends, going out to dinner with Mateu, Emma and the little Lluna, and a long list of other things, on several occasions I have revisited my cities, the ones that have left an indelible print both professionally and personally. I have come back to the Vienna of Marta, Rubén, Miguel, Albert, David and a long list of other names to make my debut with Plácido Domingo at the Theater an der Wien among other projects, I conducted the Czech Philharmonic at Prag’s Rudolfinum, I maintain close ties with Barcelona and its musical organizations, both the Gran Teatre del Liceu and the Orquesta Nacional de Catalunya. The Colorado Springs of Nora, Mike, John and Nathan among others, the London of Lady Solti, the Royal Philharmonic and Ian Mclain, the Dresden of Eytan, the Berlin of Enric, the Stockholm of Bengt; the Aspen of David, Assadour and so many others; the New York of Michal; and, apart from the ones I have not mentioned, the last and most important one – the Granada of Mónica.

Josep Caballé Domenech
Marzo, 2012


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