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  • Pablo Ferrández: “This award makes all the hard work and effort of the past years worthwhile”

FPdGi Awards

Pablo Ferrández: “This award makes all the hard work and effort of the past years worthwhile”

This cellist is the joint winner of the 2018 Princess of Girona Foundation Arts and Literature Award, together with Soleá Morente.


At the age of three, Pablo Ferrández Castro (Madrid, 1991) began playing the cello with his parents, who are also musicians. What began as a hobby soon became his profession and now, more than twenty years later, it takes him all over the world, performing seventy concerts per year in countries such as the USA, Belgium and Australia. An admirable and meteoric career which has led him to win the 2018 Princess of Girona Foundation Arts and Literature Award, together with singer Soleá Morente. “I’m absolutely delighted; it is an honour, because it makes me feel valued in my home country and it makes all the hard work and effort of the past years worthwhile”, said the award winner.

The jury chose this young Madrid native for his “brilliant artistic career” and “his extraordinary capacity to create sound universes”. Ferrández, who heard the news while he was working in Finland, admitted that he wasn’t expecting it: “I know of the awards because of their prestige and because a friend of mine won one a while ago. This was the first year I presented my candidacy and so it was a great surprise”. He also believes that awards such as the ones presented by the Princess of Girona Foundation “help to showcase the winners and raise their visibility all over the world”.

The winner’s name was announced in February at an event presided over by H.M. the Queen of Spain at the Alcazaba Cultural Centre in Mérida. The jury, led by journalist Montserrat Domínguez, was made up of writer, journalist and filmmaker Luis Alegre; entrepreneur and theatre producer Jesús Cimarro; artistic director of the Palau de la Música Catalana Víctor García de Gomar, architect Rafael Moneo, filmmaker Gracia Querejeta, director of the Extremadura Youth Orchestra and 2016 FPdGi Arts and Literature Award winner Andrés Salado and actor Maribel Verdú.

The cello, his inseparable friend
“As far back as I can remember I have played the cello”, confessed the award winner, who learned to play using the Mago Diapasón method, invented by his mother. He was also very happy that he had been able to leave school at 13 to join the renowned Queen Sofía College of Music, where he won the prize for best student for four consecutive years, leading to him receiving a grant to cover his studies. “I was very lucky to attend the Queen Sofía College; it’s one of the best in the world!”, remarked the winner, who at the age of 19 continued his training in Germany, at the Kronberg Academy, studying under Frans Helmerson.

While he was a student, he practiced the cello for six to eight hours a day: “Since I was very young, I have been used to studying and playing; it is an intrinsic part of me”. A habit he has maintained until today, as he continues to practice for about five hours a day as long as his travel schedule permits. Ferrández, who lives in Berlin, currently performs around 70 concerts per year all over the world, appearing on the most prestigious stages in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Paris and Buenos Aires.

In addition, four years ago he received an unexpected treasure: a Stradivarius ‘Lord Aylesford’ cello from 1696. “I played for a great conductor and the widow of Pau Casals. A few weeks later they called me to tell me that they had a Stradivarius from 1696 waiting for me”, he remembered in awe. “It is truly precious, because Stradivarius only made 66 cellos and there are just 40 of them left in the world”, explained Pablo, who said it “is incredible” to play an instrument “of this quality”.

His brilliant CV also lists two albums: his first work with concerts for the cello and orchestra by Dvořák and Schumann, which he performed with the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Radoslaw Szulc, and a second disc with concerts by Rossini and Menotti, recorded with the Kremerata Baltica Chamber Orchestra conducted by Heinrich Schiff.

One of his next challenges is to delve into the world of blues. “Recently, I have been obsessed by B. B. King and I’m learning more about the blues; I want to learn its language in order to end my concerts by playing a few blues tunes, for example”, revealed the cellist, who recommends everyone starting out in the music world “to be patient and work hard, because with effort and patience everything will happen in the end”.

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