The Spanish conductor, Pedro Halffter Caro, studied at the prestigious Schule Schloss Salem in Germany. After initial studies in piano and cello, he turned his attention to conducting. His teachers include Karl Oestereicher, Bruno Weil, Ilya Musin, Julius Kalmar, Ferdinand Leitner and Leopold Hager under whom he received his conducting degree from the Hochshule für Musik in Vienna in 1995. He has been the recipient of the Jugend musiziert Prize, Young Composers Prize of the Deutsche Musikrat, Young Conductors Prize of the European Union, as well as grants from the Juventudes de Madrid and the Banco de España, and a Fulbright scholarship for composition studies in New York.
Pedro Halffter was Principal Guest Conductor of the Nürnberger Symphoniker from 2001 to 2004, and held the position of Principal Conductor of the Bayreuth Festival Youth Orchestra in 2002 and 2003. He was recently appointed Artistic Director of Seville’s Teatro de la Maestranza, and Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of both the Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla and Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria in Las Palmas (since 2004-2005 season).
Pedro Halffter is one of Europe’s most dynamic young conductors. His active guest conducting schedule includes appearances with the the world’s leading ensembles, including the Philharmonia Orchestra, Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphonieorchester (Munich), Beethoven Orchester Bonn, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Dresdner Philharmonie, Hamburger Symphoniker, Staatskapelle Berlin, HR-Sinfonieorchester (Frankfurt), NDR Philharmonic/Hannover, Nürnberger Symphoniker, Staatsorchester Saarbrücken, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Niederösterreichisches Tonkünstlerorchester (Vienna), Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Filarmonica Hungarica, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Orchestre National de Toulouse, Symphonique de Montréal, Orquesta Filharmonica de Chile, New Japan Philharmonic, as well as most of the orchestras in Spain (the principal orchestras of Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid, Malaga, Granada and Tenerife). He has performed at major international venues such as the Vienna Musikverein, the Konzerthaus Berlin, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Madrid’s Teatro Real, Tokyo’s Opera City Concert Hall and the Shanghai Concert Hall.
Recent achievements include highly successful tours of Japan and China with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria and a 2009 tour of Germany, Austria and Switzerland with the Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla, with whom he also took part in the cultural events organised in conjunction with the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Upcoming debuts include the Münchner Symphoniker, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Orchestre National de Lille and Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI in Turin.
Considered to be one of the best conductors of his generation for symphonic repertoire, Pedro Halffter has also established a successful career in the opera house, conducting more than thirty works, including, in recent years, productions of Carmen, Madame Butterfly, Turandot, Faust, Lakmé, Norma, La Voix Humaine, The Cunning Little Vixen, Seven Deadly Sins, The Telephone and La Vida Breve at such theaters as the Teatro Real de Madrid, Liceu de Barcelona, Las Palmas Opera, Sevilla Opera and the Chemnitz and Dresden opera theaters in Germany, as well as La fanciulla del West, Tristan und Isolde, Carmen and Norma with the Dresdner Philharmonie. He also conducted the Spanish premieres of Schreker’s Der Ferne Klang, Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg and Eine Florentinische Tragödie, Ferruccio Busoni’s Doktor Faust and Strauss’s Die schweigsame Frau at the Teatro de la Maestranza, and Krenek’s Orpheus und Euridyke at the Teatro Real. He also conducted the world premiere of El Quijote, composed by his father Cristobal Halffter, at the Teatro Real de Madrid, the last operatic work directed by Herbert Wernicke. The production was recorded for Auvidis in July 2003. He has also recently conducted Tannhäuser, in a new production by Katharina Wagner, and made his debut at the Staatsoper in Berlin with Strauss’s Salome. Future opera projects include both F. Busoni’s and Puccini’s Turandot in Seville, and Der Ferne Klang and Salome at the Berlin Staatsoper.
Pedro Halffter has composed more than twenty works. These have been premiered by, among others, the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerakademie, Stuttgarter Kammerorchester and Ensemble Intercontemporain, at venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Auditorio Nacional in Madrid and the Dortmund Philharmonie.
Particularly noteworthy among his recordings are those of Cristóbal Halffter’s Don Quijote for Glossa, albums devoted to Falla and Korngold for Warner Music, and to Arnold Schoenberg, Schreker and Michael Daugherty for Warner Classics & Jazz (with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal).