Angel Gil-Ordonez

conductor
biography
               

Angel Gil-Ordóñez, one of the outstanding talents of the current generation of classical conductors, possesses a style described by the Washington Post as "mesmerizing" and "as colorfully textured as a fauvist painting." As a popular guest conductor, the principal guest conductor of the Perspectives Ensemble in New York City, and as music director of one of the nation's most highly praised musical ensembles, PostClassical Ensemble in Washington, DC, Gil-Ordóñez carries on the tradition of his teacher and mentor, Sergiu Celibidache, the legendary conductor of the Munich Philharmonic, whose approach to the classical repertoire emphasized the uniqueness of the concert experience and a sense of discovery. This aliveness, plus a masterful clarity and expressive depth of feeling that are very much his own, marks Gil-Ordóñez's performances. Best known for his brilliant interpretations of Spain's repertoire, Gil-Ordóñez is equally accomplished in the French, German and 20th century repertoire. In addition to his six years of study with Maestro Celibidache in Germany, Mr. Gil- Ordóñez, also studied with Pierre Boulez and Iannis Xenakis in France, adding to his previous music studies at Madrid's Conservatory of Music.

A frequent guest conductor across Europe, the United States and Latin America, Gil-Ordóñez, is the co-founder, along with music historian Joseph Horowitz, of the PostClassical Ensemble in Washington DC. Founded in 2002 with its premiere performances in 2003, PostClassical Ensemble is recognized as "one of the most innovative" and "the most thought- provoking" music groups in the country. Funding of the PostClassical Ensemble is provided by loyal local listeners and supporters, as well as by the National Endowment for the Arts and other major arts organizations and foundations. A Mellon Foundation grant of $200,000 was awarded to PostClassical Ensemble in 2010, providing for three years of unprecedentedmusical adventure to the Baltimore-Washington area. The Ensemble, which performs music in the context of its cultural heritage, is honored as one of the few orchestras to have received funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. As an educator, Gil- Ordóñez is the Director for Orchestral Studies at Georgetown University, and serves as the Music Director of the Georgetown University Orchestra. He was for fourteen years the Director of Orchestral studies and conductor of both the choral ensemble and the orchestra at Weslyan University in Connecticut. Maestro Gil- Ordóñez, a dual citizen of Spain and the United States, is fluent in Spanish, English, French, German and Italian. You can read about him and see his latest videos on the PostClassical Ensemble website, www.postclassical.com and at www.chesapeakeartists.com

Born in Madrid, Angel Gil-Ordóñez is the former Associate Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of Spain. As a guest conductor in the United States, he has appeared with the American Composers Orchestra, Opera Colorado, Pacific Symphony, Hartford Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the National Gallery Orchestra in Washington, DC. Abroad, he has conducted the Munich Philharmonic, the Solistes de Berne, at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, and at the Bellas Artes National Theatre in Mexico City. In the summer of 2000, he toured the major music festivals of Spain with the Valencia Symphony Orchestra in the Spanish premiere of Leonard Bernstein's "Mass".

Now in its tenth season (2013-14), PostClassical Ensemble's tagline is "More than an Orchestra," which refers to the thematic scope and exceptional formats of its concerts and its aspiration to embrace collaborative and educational activities not normally associated with orchestras. PCE aims to have A national and international impact by addressing and cultivating an inquisitive audience hungry for deeper engagement. In addition to PostClassical Ensemble's Virgil Thomson and Copland CD/DVDs on Naxos, Mr. Gil-Ordóñez has recorded four CDs devoted to Spanish composers. He has been twice recognized as Naxos Artist of the week.

In 2006, the King of Spain awarded Mr. Gil-Ordóñez the country's highestcivilian decoration, the Royal Order of Queen Isabella, which is equivalent to a knighthood, for his work in advancing Spanish culture in the world and, in particular, for performing and teaching Spanish music in its cultural context. Maestro Gil-Ordóñez additionally received a WAMMIE award in the category of "Best Conductor" in 2011 from the Washington DC Association of Professional Musicians. Angel Gil-Ordóñez grew up in a family that encouraged broad intellectual curiosity and that valued Spanish culture. At an early age he started music lessons, and in his teens he focused on mastering the violin.

Before entering university he told his parents of his desire to become a professional musician but they denied his request to attend the conservatory. Angel insisted, so they came to an agreement: Angel would pursue Engineering studies at the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, with the condition that he could simultaneously continue his music studies at the Madrid Conservatory of Music. Once he completed his Engineering studies, he symbolically gave his degree to his parents as proof of his commitment to his word. At this time he firmly declared his ambition to become a professional musician. In 1974 Gil-Ordóñez began his music studies at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid focusing on violin, polyphony and choir conducting, harmony, counterpoint, and music history with some of the most outstanding musicians in Spain. At the Conservatory, he also studied in the Musical Analysis Master Classes with Jacques Chailley.

All through the late 1970s, Angel never missed a major concert or opera performance in Madrid, which at that time attracted some of the finest national and international performers and orchestras. A turning point in his musical career was April 1978 when he attended a concert with Sergiu Celibidache conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. It was at that moment, seeing one of the legendary conductors of the 20th century, that Angel decided to become a conductor, and that when he was ready, he would seek out the opportunity to study with Celibidache. In 1983, Gil-Ordóñez moved his training from Spain to France. He engaged in studies of Contemporary Music sponsored by the Paris's Centre Acanthes with Iannis Xenakis (composition), Irvin Arditti (violin), James Wood (choral conducting), and Claude Helffer and Rudolph Frisius (musical analysis). He also studied with Pierre Boulez (Conducting Master Classes) in Avignon.

In 1985 Gil-Ordóñez achieved the promise he had made to himself and began the most significant and important training of his career, moving to Munich to pursue studies with the Munich Philarmonic conductor Sergiu Celibidache. These studies included those at the Münchner Philharmoniker; seven semesters at the Mainzer Universität-Musikhochschule in Main; five Master Classes in Cluny and Paris; three Conducting Courses at the Scuola di Alto Perfezionamiento Musicale in Saluzzo, Italy; and two assistantships at the Orchesterakademie des Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in Germany. While in Germany from 1985 to 1991 he broadened his studies in the European repertoire. In Munich, he was also in composition studies with Günter Bialas, Paul Engel and Friedrich Schwenk, and in Oberuff in Violin Master Classes with Rony Rogoff.

He has received a number of grants from eminent organizations that include the Centre Acanthes in Paris, the Banco de España, the Ministerio Español de Cultura, the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, and the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid, all which allowed him to continue his music studies and career. Gil-Ordóñez served as the Music Director and Conductor from 1986 to 1991 for the Orchestra and Choir of the Spanish Cultural Institute in Munich, Germany. In 1991, he moved back to Spain when he was appointed to the National Symphony Orchestra of Spain as Associate Conductor. He also founded the chamber orchestra Academia de Madrid of which he became Music Director. In addition he was the Principal Guest Conductor of the Classical Orchestra of Madrid.

In 1997, Gil-Ordóñez came to Washington, DC where he founded musica aperta Washington, and for which he served as Music Director until 2001. Since 1997 he has been the Music Director and co- founder and of IberArtists New York, Inc., an initiative to promote Spanish repertoire in the United States.


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Reviews
2015-02-16 The Washington Post,
"". . . one of the country’s most innovative music groups — the PostClassical Ensemble . . .""
(Philip Kennicott)
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 The Buffalo News, June 2014,
"

The performances [ NAXOS CD Dvořák and America, with the PostClassical Ensemble conducted by Angel Gil-Ordóñez] are unfailingly excellent… This…deserves your full attention…

"
(Herman Trotter)
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 American Record Guide, July 2014,
"

a dozen members of the Perspectives Ensemble [Angel Gil-Ordóñez, music director and conductor] perform [Cinco Invocaciones al Crucificado] with searing emotion.

"
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 Opera News, June 2014,
"

… the shimmering string accompaniment of the Perspectives Ensemble, conducted with sensitivity by Angel Gil-Ordóñez.

"
(Joshua Rosenblum)
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 David's Review Corner, July 2014,
"

… the admirable PostClassical Orchestra and its conductor, Angel Gil-Ordóñez [is] responsible for the Hiawatha Melodrama.

"
(David Denton)
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 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, Janury 2014,
"

The Perspectives Ensemble under conductor Angel Gil-Ordonez brings us lovely performances that exemplify Montsalvatge in various stylistic guises.…

"
(Grego Applegate Edwards)
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 Infodad.com, January 2014,
"Montsalvatge's more-substantial works … conducted with sure-handed skill by Angel Gil-Ordóñez…"
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PostClassical brings warmth and sensuality to an all-Bach concert at Dumbarton Church
2014-11-16 The Washington Post,
"

"…music director Angel Gil-Ordóñez (whose wonderful conducting style is equal parts dance, bullfighting and ecstatic bliss) also brought great warmth and even sensuality to the music, setting the tone for rest of the evening. …

" … Gil-Ordóñez's infectious enthusiasm; … underscored the refreshing lack of stuffiness that has become the hallmark of the PostClassical Ensemble's concerts - still among the most interesting in town."

"
(Stephen Brookes)
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  The Washington Post, Washington, D. C.
"

The Post-Classical Ensemble has added a new and engaging dimension to our musical life in the years since it was founded -- all of its programs are of both musical and intellectual interest.

    "
    (Tim Page)
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     The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore
    "

     The continuing struggle to reinvigorate the classical-music scene has led to some interesting and rewarding new vehicles for the art form. In the Washington area, the Post-Classical Ensemble has been livening things up with an embrace of a broad cultural spectrum, including film, dance, folk music and poetry. In one program earlier this season, the group celebrated the vibrant music of Mexican composers; another offered traditional Chinese music and a chamber version of Gustav Mahler's Chinese poetry-inspired "Das Lied von der Erde." On Saturday, the group presented its audience with a rare opportunity to see two acclaimed New Deal-era documentaries by Pare Lorentz, performed with live orchestral accompaniment at the American Film Institute's Silver Theatre in Silver Spring. Angel Gil-Ordonez, music director of the Post-Classical Ensemble, led a tightly in-synch performance that unlocked the score's expressive potency.

      "
      (Tim Smith)
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       MusicalAmerica.com, New York City
      "

      The Post-Classical Ensemble, . . . presented a mini (Lou) Harrison festival . . . Charismatic P-CE Music Director Angel GilOrdonez led a taut, unforgettable reading. . . the engaging performance, expertly shaped by Gil Ordonez, made a strong case for "Strict Songs" to be in the pantheon of American vocal music.

        "
        (Brett Campbell)
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         The Orange County Register, Santa Ana
        "

        …one couldn't do better than Wednesday's evening program offered by the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Madrid-born Angel Gil-Ordóñez. The concert captured brilliantly the delightful torments, ineffable longing, tenderness and muscularity of the flamenco spirit (in Falla's "Amor Brujo"). The PSO sounded balanced and articulate, Gil-Ordóñez leading the players through the sweep, grandeur and frenzy of the work with an unflappable demeanor.

          "
          (Peter Lefevre)
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           La Vanguardia, Spain
          "

          The conductor Angel Gil-Ordoñez is pioneering one of the most remarkable experiments in the musical scene in the United States.

            "
            (Eusebio Val)
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             The Washington Post, Washington, D. C.
            "

            Under the skillful Spanish conductor Angel Gil-Ordoñez, the Post-Classical Ensemble performed Revueltas's score in live accompaniment to this hour-long 1936 film about village fishermen struggling against the power of a monopoly. The orchestra gave a wonderfully lucid account of the score. The phrasing, dynamics and general sound were alive to the evolving sense of desperation, anger and empowerment expressed in the film. Gil-Ordoñez kept everything moving apace and always synced with the images on-screen.

            ,

              "
              (Daniel Ginsberg)
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               The Washington Post, Washington, D. C.
              "

              …it was also utterly charming, so lovingly cast and accompanied with such ardor by Angel Gil-Ordóñez and the Post-Classical Ensemble that it would have taken a curmudgeon to resist its appeal'

                          

                "
                (Anne Midgette)
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                 The Washington Post , Washington, D. C.
                "

                …under the nuanced and utterly fluid direction of Angel Gil-Ordóñez, the work [Chamber Symphony for Strings in C Minor, Op. 110a, transcription by Rudolf Barshai of Shostakovich's autobiographical eighth quartet] lost none of its roiling, acrid bite nor its unearthly luminosity. The wild-eyed allegretto was as menacing as ever, the three largo movements even more sweeping and ethereal than in the quartet version….  The quartet may be a whirlwind, but in these hands, the chamber version became a tornado.

                "
                (Stephen Brookes)
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                2012-11-20 Personal letter following PostClassical Ensemble's "Interpreting Shostakovich" festival, Washington, D. C.
                "

                Angel Gil-Ordóñez' insight into Shostakovich's music is astounding. He discovers in Rudolf Barshai's string orchestra arrangement of the Eighth Quartet a profound spirituality and greatly enriches our appreciation of Shostakovich's stature as a great twentieth century composer.

                            

                "
                (Solomon Volkov, author, "Testimony")
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                2013-03-03 The Washington Post, Washington, D. C.
                "

                [Re Dvorak's "American Suite"]  Exuberant, unfettered, almost cinematic in its rich colors and heady sweep of ideas, the work seemed to explode with vitality and a sense of freedom and infinite possibility. Much of that was due to superb playing by the ensemble itself - led with fluidity and precision by music director Angel Gil-Ordonez.

                 

                  "
                  ( Stephen Brookes)
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                  Read more of Angel's reviews at http://www.chesapeakeartists.com and at http://postclassical.org.com/
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