Maestro de Pablo

In many ways, I feel fortunate to have interviewed the Spanish composer, Luis de Pablo.

The interview took place just a month before the pandemic put a halt to my travels in 2020, during which time Maestro de Pablo passed away at the age of 91.

The only opportunity we had to interview him fell within a short window of only two hours and relied on the help of others who stepped in with short notice.

In the end, NAMM captured a very insightful and inspiring conversation with the award-winning composer who helped define the early serialism period of Spanish classical music. In fact, Maestro de Pablo was the last surviving member of the Generación del 51, a term Cristóbal Halffter used to describe the 16 most influential avant-garde Spanish composers born between 1924 and 1938.

With his series of timbres, pitches and artful dynamics, Maestro de Pablo published such works as “Gárgolas” (1953), “Sinfonias” (1954), “Progressus” (1959), “Glosa” (1961) and “Cuatro Invenciones” (1969). In 1973, he lent his skills to the movie The Spirit of the Beehive, writing the score, which was filled with clever and whimsical orchestrations such as the flute-based movement entitled “Mushroom Hunting.” His opera, La Señorita Cristina, made its world premiere in 2001 at the Royal Theatre in Madrid.

What seemed to stand out in each of his compositions was his joy of making music and his pride in advancing the art of his musical heroes like Wolfgang Mozart and Joseph Haydn.

On February 8, 2020, while leaving Portugal for Madrid to continue our trip to capture interviews, I read a music magazine that stated Maestro de Pablo was living in Madrid! I was so excited but realized our very full schedule only had one two-hour opening. I phoned my friend Cecilia Rodrigo, the president of Ediciones Joaqin Rodrigo, to see if she could help me make the connection. She had a number but was not sure if it was still in operation. I then called Manuel Rodriguez Jr., a classical guitar luthier whom I have been friends with for over 20 years. Manuel called Maestro de Pablo and to my great delight and surprise, he invited us to his home for an interview the very next afternoon!

This experience was such a special memory for me, and now his fascinating story is a part of the NAMM Oral History program for generations to learn from and be inspired by.

A special thanks to Maestro de Pablo and his wife, Mrs. Rodrigo, for being so accommodating on such short notice. Additional thanks to Cecilia Rodrigo for providing her assistance to connect us, to Manuel Rodriguez Jr. who not only arranged the interview but interpreted for us, and to our videographer, Suzanne Del Fiorentino.

To view a segment from Maestro de Pablo, click here.

Dan Del Fiorentino