Conductor Angel Gil-Ordoñez has always had a passion for music. So much so, that he convinced his parents to let him study music in college at the Madrid Conservatory of Music, as long as he would first study Engineering at the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid. He completed both degrees and then continued with his musical education and career.
“Being in the moment when you are conducting is one of the most sublime experiences a human being can have,” Angel said.
Angel has founded many different groups and organizations: the chamber orchestra Academia de Madrid in Spain, musica aperta Washington, and IberArtists New York, Inc. However, one of his proudest accomplishments is co-founding PostClassical Ensemble (PCE) in Washington DC with music historian Joseph Horowitz. The organization is now in its 15th season.
The Ensemble has been heralded as “one of the country’s most innovative music groups” (Philip Kennicott, The Washington Post).
PCE always experiments with new ideas.
“We believe that symphony orchestras are alienating the audiences because they are stalled in a format of programming to which contemporary audiences don’t relate anymore: overture-concerto with soloist-symphony,” Angel said. “We tell stories, contextualizing with other art forms the music we are performing.”
One of PCE’s recent success was at the Washington National Cathedral, where the ensemble showed how Indonesian music (Gamelan) has been the most influential non-Western tradition to Western composers.
In June, PCE will perform Beyond “PSYCHO”: The Genius of Bernard Herrmann at the Washington National Cathedral, exploring Hollywood’s most gifted composer.
Angel is also the principal guest conductor for Perspectives Ensemble in New York. In May, Naxos will release a CD of works by Spanish composer Manuel de Falla with the Ensemble. He also will conduct the Annapolis Symphony Academy Ensemble in May, and Beethoven’s Triple Concerto in August at the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Maine, where he is a regular guest conductor
When it comes to life, family and friends are Angel’s greatest inspiration. “People inspire me more than books,” he said.
Also, discipline is a must for a musician, and there are some hard truths to this profession.
“The fact of practicing every day (or if not regretting it) already defines character,” Angel said. “If you cannot see yourself playing your instrument, composing or conducting in 70 years, pick a different profession.”
Though, if he could change one thing, he wished he was better at playing the piano (his main instrument is the violin.) Angel said the piano helps immensely to study the orchestral scores that are planned to be conducted.
In addition to his musical career, Angel is involved in an orchestra program for underprivileged children in Mexico called Academia Renacimiento.
“Give them an instrument and basic instruction. They will surprise you,” he said.
Learn more about Angel Gil-Ordoñez on his website.