Cosas-que-acabas-haciendo-si-te-quedas-una-semana-seguida-a-solas-con-tus-hijos (II)

Impacta, sí. Ver cómo alguien mucho, mucho más joven que tú (11 años, ahora mismo) resuelve en una hora esa locura que es el Square One Cube, recién incorporado a su serie particular de variantes del cubos de Rubik… Será amor de padre, y sé que hay gente mucho más rápida que él, pero yo que no sé hacer con facilidad ni siquiera una cara del más banal 3×3 me quedo sin palabras viéndole resolver cualquiera de éstos, a menudo en pocas decenas de segundos o en algunos minutos. Y mi admiración por el creador de toda esta locura, Ernö Rubik, sigue creciendo día a día. Que alguien pueda llegar a ser el hombre más rico de Hungría con sólo crear algo tan pequeño, armonioso, portátil, inocuo e inteligente como este cubo me parece de esas realidades que te hacen creer en la humanidad. Falta nos hace…

Cosas-que-acabas-haciendo-si-te-quedas-una-semana-seguida-a-solas-con-tus-hijos (I)

Ocho días a solas con dos muchachos de 7 y 11 años dan para mucho. Y algunos de esos momentos se prestan a un breve comentario en este blog. El primero surgió al ver en pantalla grande “Entrenando a tu dragón 3”, posiblemente la película de dibujos animados visualmente más impresionante que yo haya visto jamás. Sería un goce increíble de principio a fin, si no fuera porque su trama tan insufriblemente heteronormativa acaba por estropear el espectáculo a quienes estamos sensibilizados con el tema. Es una lástima, realmente: un paso más en la conocida, militante y omnipresente inculturación infantil. Y eso que esas imágenes, esos colores y otros muchos detalles de la películas tienen tal eficacia que no creo que se me olvidarán jamás. Algo así como el goce que suelen producir las buenas producciones de la Flauta Mágica, Madama Butterfly o Turandot cuando no salen de los cauces tradicionales.

Oblivious to the 9th

I have just emerged from the performance of Beethoven’s 9th by the OBC, the Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra, which programmed this week’s event to include a bold staging design in the hands of a company with a strange name, one I’d heard in glowing reports from other shows: the Agrupación Señor Serrano.

They probably are great at doing other things, but I found this 9th horrendous, to put it frankly. The orchestra fulfilled its role. The choir (the splendid Orfeó Català) was magnificent. Perhaps some of the soloists could have been better. But it is impossible to view a production of this kind as anything but a whole, and there was no way to make sense of that whole.

You know I don’t like to speak ill of what I haven’t liked, so in such cases I usually keep my mouth shut and let it go (yes, well, there are also times when I don’t respond because I haven’t got time, so don’t go thinking that if I haven’t written about a concert or a CD you’ve given me that it must be because I don’t like it!). In this case, though, I think voicing some thoughts is warranted.

The principal idea, which the project had already announced in writing, was not bad: read this very “European” work as a reflection on Europe. The idea of a garden as a metaphor for the common European project, collectively watered and tended (1st movement); the struggles and clouds that darken it (2nd movement); the nostalgia and consideration of the many things we’ve botched (3rd movement); and a road full of hope towards the future, one built on affection, caring, and hugs (4th movement). Fantastic up to this point.

But hang on: in this all you actually see is plenty of goodwill. The reality, minute by minute, bar after bar, is that there was no relation with the music’s unravelling. No dramatic crescendo (precisely in this work!), no relation between what we hear and what we see (an old and common problem in many operatic staging ideas too). Spectacular—in its absurdity— was the entrance of the theme of the fourth movement, following the recitative: an entrance that went completely unnoticed, lacking even a brushstroke in the staging direction. But this was the tip of the iceberg. In neither the entrance of the “Turkish” variation or the a cappella variation was there any attempt at all to capitalise on these moments by having them coincide with something. Huh?! As if there, in the music, nothing significant happens!

Then there’s the ideological drift. Europe is going bad because we have “let the weeds grow” and haven’t known how to put up the right “fences”. But exactly this, mind (and take note: as if weeds growing in a garden can be avoided by fencing; little do I know about gardening but I think I grasp this much)! Yep, boldly essentialist and ethnicist, straight up. So, there it is, something that can even be seen as a revealing metaphor of the kind of Europe that some really desire: a fenced-off garden, managed from above, and in which we are the plants at the mercy of our lords and masters.

And not one nod to the internal problems, to the hierarchies between states, to what happened in Greece, to the inability to manage Mediterranean conflicts. Not one wink! A few well-known faces (Merkel, Lagarde, y other local figures), all in a directionless succession in which you could find Napoleon, Hitler, Casals, Freud, or Delacroix’s La liberté guidant le peuple. One brief flash, indeed, of Putin, and in another a keyboard with Cyrillic letters. ¿What’s this about? Are we to blame Europe’s problems, then, on the Russians? Well I never would have guessed!

And so, the biggest booing I have ever heard at Barcelona’s L’Auditori. I imagine that what may have most upset many spectators will have been all the explicit phallic images and the salaciousness of the couple scenes in the final minutes. This struck me as nothing more than gratuitous. But for one reason or another, I know this entire spectacle, in all its parts, just did not make sense. I prefer not to know how much public money was spent on it.

The difficulty is that, given its fatuity, the only sensible response was to boo it, which is what many of us did (though clearly wanting to distinguish the music from the staging, because the former was worthy in all ways), and this booing lumps you in with those who would have joined in the catcalls out of distaste for anything that doesn’t conform to the “usual”. But honestly, this is NOT the reason here. And it makes me doubly uneasy because the one time money is invested in something different, programming such a horror show instead of something truly valid and sound makes it more difficult next time the chance arises to be daring.

What a great shame! Truly. And a magnificent reminder that we have to be very, very dexterous when we try something different. People who know me also know how open I am to innovation, and in recent times I actively engage in this as a creative artist. But not anything goes, because there are many different ways to get across ideas within music, especially when words and staging can be used. Yet so often it is banality that rules, and this makes life so much more difficult for those of us who have things to say that do not fit in traditional channels.

Feminismo, música clásica, orquestas juveniles y Despacito

En mi reciente gira en Chile, entre clases, seminarios y un concierto muy especial, la periodista Lorena Ruiz me invitó al programa Ciudad Mosaico de Radio Valentín Letelier, la radio de la Universidad de Valparaíso. La peculiaridad de esta entrevista es que el programa estaba dedicado a problemas de inclusión social, y en él nunca antes habían tenido como invitado a un músico. Estoy muy feliz de haber podido compartir con los oyentes tantas ideas no estrictamente musicales (¿acaso las ideas “estrictamente musicales” existen?) y mis posiciones al respecto al rol de la música clásica en la sociedad de hoy. Feminismo, diversidad social y jerarquías dentro y fuera de la música, Jorge Peña Hen y los sistemas de orquestas juveniles, y, por todas partes, mucha política. Pero también Star Wars y las princesitas Disney, recuerdos de infancia, Despacito y la música latina, desvaríos diversos sobre comida italiana, chilena y de otros lugares, y unas cuantas cosas más. Aquí está, completo, el podcast. Un bello recuerdo de un viaje inolvidable, y que no será el último en aquellas increíbles tierras. ¡Hasta muy pronto, Chile!

Cara maestra

Post pubblicato in spagnolo nel blog il 14 aprile 2017.


Ricordo ancora come se fosse ieri l’emozione di percorrere quel corridoio e, al termine trovare, settimana dopo settimana, quella stanza. Quindicenne, nel pieno delle tempeste emotive di quell’età, con una lista esageratamente lunga di cose che credi di NON volere dalla vita, pensando e dicendo ogni giorno frasi delle quali oggi non sai se ridere o piangere, quelle lezioni di pianoforte nel Liceo Musicale di Monza erano una piccola ma fondamentale certezza. Lì incontavo finalmente una guida musicale sicura, dopo degli inizi che era stati emozionanti ma francamente confusi. Ora ricevevo consigli che funzionavano, direttrici chiare, un lavoro paziente e ordinato, e non per la qualche giorno o alcuni mesi, ma per lunghi anni. E questi anni, queste certezze, avevano un nome: Emilia Crippa Stradella, l’unica vera maestra di pianoforte che io ebbi l’occasione di avere mai. Quella vitalità, quella voce inconfondibile che ti salutava sempre con un sorriso, quel tratto affabile e a volte rigoroso, in una donna non tanto anziana, allora, ma dal cui aspetto trasparivano l’umltà e l’austerità di coloro che vivono la docenza con una dedizione totale… tutto quello era un universo.

Dopo di lei arrivarono altri obiettivi e altre prospettive, ma non avrei mai più ritrovato quella sensazione di essere davanti ad un cammino chiaro e definito, e allo stesso tempo con la certezza di poterlo percorrere a modo mio. Non oso neppure immaginare quanto dovesse essere complicato avere me, sedicenne, come allievo. Io che volevo dare l’impressione di sapere già tutto avendo tanto, tanto da imparare, con un ego gigantesco ma sempre in cerca di me stesso. In quegli anni così complicati, lei sapeva sempre essere al suo posto. Riuscì a farmi lavorare a fondo le Invenzioni a due voci di Bach, l’Op. 740 di Czerny, il Gradus ad Parnassum, ma non frenò la mia voglia di affrontare gli Studi trascendentali, la Vallée d’Obermann, la Waldstein, la Quarta ballata, Jeux d’Eau o a quella piccola follia che è Rounds di Luciano Berio. Ha lavorato con me opere che non aveva mai insegnato a nessuno, e sempre aveva tanto da dire, diteggiature efficaci, consigli utilissimi, e sapeva convincerti che, per quanto grande fosse il desiderio di mangiarsi il mondo, non potevi fare il passo più lungo della gamba. Furono quelli degli anni emozionanti, difficili ma sempre intensi, in cui la musica finiva per essere il denominatore comune di tante esperienze… e lei era sempre lì. E poi aveva quella forma suprema di saggezza che è il fidarsi dei colleghi e contare su di loro. Mi accompagnava quando altri mi facevano lezione, annotando ogni cosa, e facendo loro domande sempre pertinenti. E volle sapere dove studiavo: venne a casa a vedere il pianoforte a coda che i miei genitori avevano appena ha comprato, e fu quella l’unica volta che la vidi suonare, un’esecuzione dello Studio op. 25 n° 1 che è ancora impressa nella mia memoria, con la sua mano piccola e le sue dita già scolpite dall’artrite, ma in grado di estrarre piani sonori che non avevo mai sentito così da vicino.

Il passare degli anni, gli studi con altri docenti più famosi, i viaggi e il vivere in un altro paese fecero sì che il suo ricordo, col tempo, si allontanasse. Ma presto mi trovai io stesso ad insegnare, e ad avere la prova di quanto sia difficile accompagnare un giovane musicista nella ricerca del proprio cammino; e questo mi ha portato ad apprezzare sempre di più quello che lei aveva fatto. Lo aveva fatto con me e con centinaia di allievi nel corso di più di sessant’anni di carriera, meritando appieno il Giovannino d’Oro che ricevette nel 2012, il riconoscimento più prestigioso della città in cui era sempre vissuta, Monza. In questi ultimi anni andai a trovarla varie volte, e mi sembrava sempre la stessa, sebbene si lamentasse del fatto che la salute non era più quella di una volta. Volli presentarle i miei figli, farle omaggio di una copia dei libri che stavo pubblicando, e l’ultimo concerto del nostro Tropos Ensemble, a Milano, David Ortolà ed io abbiamo voluto dedicarlo a lei. Sapevamo che non sarebbe potuta venire di persona, ma che cosa significava per me quel concerto glielo scrissi in una lettera e glielo dissi in quella che fu la nostra ultima conversazione telefonica.

Emilia Crippa Stradella, la maestra Crippa, l’unica vera maestra di pianoforte che ho avuto, ci ha lasciato qualche giorno fa. Un venerdì santo. Che coincidenza… Quasi una metafora, si direbbe. Se la Settimana Santa ci parla di morte e di resurrrezione, del trionfo dell’amore sulla caducità del tempo (indipendentemente dalla forma in cui ciascuno possa volere viverne il senso religioso), allora è davvero il momento ideale per riflettere sul senso ultimo dell’insegnamento, del vero insegnamento, quello che permea la nostra vita e ci fa diventare quelli che siamo. Perché insegnare è lasciare un’eredità, e far vivere il tuo esempio negli altri. E se è vero che è un’enorme responsabilità farsi carico dell’educazione di quelli che verranno dopo di noi, certo non lo è da meno racccogliere questo testimone e restare all’altezza degli esempi che hai avuto.

Dopo una vita intera dedicata alla docenza e ad una meravigliosa famiglia dalla quale tanta arte è germogliata in forme diverse, l’eredità di Emilia Stradella non andrà perduta: vive e vivrà in tutti noi, noi che abbiamo avuto la fortuna di averla vicino. Oggi io sento soprattutto il bisogno di dire: grazie, maestra. Ma so anche che da oggi in poi dovrò insegnare di più, e insegnare meglio. Più seriamente, più pazientemente, più umilmente. E che mai mi dimentichi di salutare con un sorriso sincero.

El partido de mi vida

Será porque tengo un hijo que juega al fútbol (y muy bien, que conste), pero el momento en que se encuentra mi vida profesional no consigo imaginarlo sin acudir a una metáfora futbolística. Hace ya un tiempo que lo pienso: estoy a punto de saltar al campo para jugar la segunda parte del partido de mi vida. Quizás algo tenga que ver el hecho de haber pasado hace poco los 50. O el hecho de llevar 25 de vida profesional, así que otros tantos vividos a este ritmo empezarían a dar ya un balance aceptable. El caso es que, en muchos sentidos, lo que se abre ante mí tiene que ver con un cambio de campo y es, a la vez, la continuación de lo que he hecho hasta ahora. El cambio de campo lo hará el idioma, sobre todo: el inglés se va a convertir en una presencia fundamental como lo ha sido hasta ahora el español. Con la publicación en inglés de mis dos primeros libros va a haber muchos viajes a lugares que hasta ahora no he visitado (o, si lo he hecho, no lo he hecho por motivos musicales), y el inglés va a ser la lengua vehicular de todo esto, aunque todo apunta a que el español, el portugués, el catalán y el italiano sigan allí presentes, con el cariño de siempre y muchas ocasiones para mantenerlos cerca, física y emocionalmente).

Esta segunda parte voy a intentar disfrutarla tanto como he hecho con la primera. Y espero poderlo hacer también porque el primer tiempo no ha ido mal. Ha habido momentos difíciles, por supuesto. Pero si lo pienso como un partido de fútbol creo que en el conjunto voy ganando. Las situaciones que no han ido como me hubiera gustado no son tantas como aquéllas en las que la realidad ha superado mis propias expectativas. Así que este primer tiempo me deja margen para gestionar el resultado. Porque, en el fondo, creo conocer el marcador: voy ganando 4-1. Lo veo tan claro que me atrevo a hacer mi pequeño resumen del partido hasta el momento:

  • Min… 1984, más o menos. Llega la mayoría de edad. Lo anterior había sido un entrenamiento, dicen, porque todo apunta a que es ahora cuando empieza el partido de verdad. Eso, por lo menos, es lo que la sociedad quiere que pienses. El caso es que los primeros minutos de esa vida de adulto supuestamente responsable muestran que la pretemporada no había sido planificada adecuadamente. Los esquemas trabajados en conservatorio no funcionan en la cancha. El equipo se esfuerza pero no hay orden en el juego. Los continuos cambios de disposición en el campo contribuyen al desorden. Pocas acciones de gol y muchos riesgos en defensa. El “catenaccio” resiste a duras penas (¡y eso que soy italiano!). Pasan unos años y la portería se mantiene a cero de milagro.
  • Min. 1991: 1-0. El que se estaba convirtiendo en un partido muy complicado da un giro inesperado. Una carambola en el área contraria genera una situación confusa, de ésas que hoy se revisarían con el VAR. Pero aquí no hay duda: la pelota acaba en la red. El árbitro da por buena la acción, y es una de esas acciones que representan un antes y un después: me voy a vivir a España. Gol sorpresa, que cambia por completo el rumbo del encuentro.
  • Min. 1995: 1-1. El entusiasmo por el descubrimiento de la musicología y de la música antigua crea una fase convulsa, que se concreta en muchas acciones de ataque no siempre claras; algunas de ellas casi acaban en gol pero la ventaja no se concreta y la presión en ataque deja desamparada la defensa, que renuncia definitivamente a la carrera concertística. Empate.
  • Min. 2001: 2-1. Se publica mi Historia de la técnica pianística. Un golazo de chilena de aquéllos que necesitan una dosis colosal de suerte, por mucho que hayas entrenado duro, y que sólo pueden salirte si te dan una asistencia a medida (y lo hicieron: gracias Luis por ese pase que nunca agradeceré lo suficiente, a Belén por la pared, y qué visión de juego tuvo Almudena al comenzar ella sola ese contraataque…). El caso es que el gol lo ve mucha gente, incluso muchos que hasta el momento no estaban siguiendo el partido. Ventaja y aumento repentino del apoyo de las gradas.
  • Min. 2003: una sustitución importante da nuevo impulso al centro del campo. Silvia entra en mi vida. Se funda Musikeon. La pelota se mueve ahora más rápida, con inesperadas triangulaciones multiculturales y largas jugadas colectivas capaces de llevar la pelota de un lado al otro de un campo que se hace más grande por momentos.
  • Min. 2010: 3-1. Son los años del Barça de Guardiola y algo parecido está pasando aquí: un largo e interminable tiki-taka, emocionante y entretenido. Finalmente, tras 7000 pases en los que interviene de una forma u otra todo el equipo (y qué equipo inolvidable, el de esos años…), la pelota llega al área y, tras tocar en el larguero, acaba finalmente en la red (léase: doctorado y publicación de la tesis, es decir, Beethoven al piano).
  • Min. 2012: 4-1. El partido parece encarrillado y con controlar el centro del cambio podría ser suficiente, pero… una carambola colectiva que envolvió 42 jugadores y 20 pianos genera una acción de contraataque totalmente inesperada cuyo mérito principal es de David Ortolà, una de esas personas capaces de inventar lo que nadie más podría inventar. Sobre el empuje de aquellos 20 pianos, el Tropos Ensemble empieza su camino. Un gol que no estaba en la pizarra de nadie. Por ello sabe aún mejor.

Y aquí estamos, ganando 4-1. ¿Contra quién? Contra nadie, en realidad, lo que es muy bueno, porque significa que de todos modos tu posible victoria no supone la derrota de otro, lo que siempre ha sido mi problema, en todos los deportes (de ahí que mis deportes favoritos sean, en realidad, aquéllos donde no se compite contra nadie, como el alpinismo). Ahora bien, una opción razonable, llegados a este punto, sería administrar el resultado. La otra es aprovechar la suerte que has tenido por intentar lo que, de otro modo, quizás no podrías, o sería demasiado arriesgado. Si ganas 4-1, puedes intentar alguna que otra volea imposible, goles olímpicos y regates de esos que te sale una vez cada diez, e incluso pensar en alguna sustitución atrevida. Aunque esto suponga ciertos peligros, porque pueden marcarte algún que otro gol al contraataque. Pero… ¿y si alguna de esas acciones entra?

Esto es lo que pienso hacer en estos próximos 25 años: disfrutarlos en el campo, uno a uno, libro a libro, concierto a concierto, clase a clase, tesis a tesis, esperando que, con ello, disfruten los demás. Y, sobre todo, que haya algo que recordar. Como siempre dijo Socrates, el gran futbolista brasileño de mi infancia (y activista admirable, por cierto): lo importante no es ganar, sino que se acuerden de ti. Yo me acuerdo perfectamente de él.


I am often told that in today’s musical world everybody seeks perfection. Students, teachers, juries, producers, critics, and concert players; all would be apparently obsessed with perfection. This is not my perception at all. Many students certainly are preoccupied with it, often encouraged by their teachers. And this is sometimes (not always) the concern of members of juries. But my understanding is that many teachers, juries, and musicians are highly attracted to other very different dimensions of music. This, in any case, is not my point here. Nor is it the actual definition of what we call “perfection” that interests me. My focus is: why should we even need perfection?

Perfection is boring, in any aspect of life. It is practical, if we are referring to machines. But in people it is tiresome, and even suspicious. No, I quite definitely do not like perfection. But let’s go further. Perfection is fake. Always. It does not exist. We humans are not perfect. What we call perfection is just the closest possible approximation to an idea. That idea possibly is perfect. But the perfection of the most perfect of our products is not real, never will be. Making perfection the goal of our activity is an escape, a flight from reality. It is an attempt to surrender to something superior, something imagined, a chimera. In a certain sense, it is a religious yearning, a leap of faith. And its pursuance is the best possible way to end up frustrated and uncomfortable with our bodies, our daily life, and our immediate surroundings. If our goal is to remind ourselves that another more perfect world exists, and that it is not part of this life we live, then obsession for perfection is a splendid tool. But if we can think of our life in a radically different way, the quest for perfection is our worst enemy.

Sex, travel, and music books

I don’t know about you, but by far the three most exciting things in life for me are writing books, travelling to unknown places, and having good sex. And I’ve always thought that writing books is the only one of these three things whose successful outcome does not require the involvement of other people. You have to interact in the other two, and it is from that interaction that an important part of pleasure comes (these two can also be done alone, like writing books, but in my experience there’s no comparison). With books, this isn’t so. You start from what others have written, said, played or recorded (at least in my case, since I write about music), but writing them is up to you, and depends only on you.

Of course, this is what happens when you write in a language you know well. If not, then again you need interaction with other people. It seems to be a problem, but it is not. Above all it is an opportunity, a wonderful opportunity. We are on this planet to share, not to live in isolated bubbles, from which we only exit now and then, out of necessity or for fun. While sharing, we learn and grow.

And this is exactly where I am now, applying the final touches to the new version of my History of Piano Technique. 800 pages in English. Well, none of them would exist without the hand-to-hand work I’ve done with Peter Russell Wix over the past three years. I don’t know how to explain the gratitude I feel for this shared task, which will continue in the future, because I will continue to need someone like him—with his dedication, his love for language and his taste for detail—for a long, long time, especially now, when English is becoming essential in my life. Thanks, Peter.

Finally, our PhD call!

Finally, the call for our doctoral programme at the University of Aveiro was published! Applications until August 3.

On October 11, we will start classes. Any brave in the room willing to challenge? #Doctorate #Aveiro #SóloParaValientes

40 questions

In December 2017 I answered the Musikeon version of the so-called Proust Questionnaire. It was a nice way to talk about very different things, from tigers and archeology to Borges and Star Wars. Here are the questions and my answers.


  1. An adjective that best defines your character? Enthusiastic. This, at least, is what they say about me.
  2. What quality do you most appreciate in a person? The passion they put into what they do is what I love.
  3. What do you expect from your friends? That they should want to get across the passion they feel for what they do.
  4. You couldn’t live without…Having projects ahead that no one else has conceived in the same way.
  5. Your main fault? Unpunctuality.
  6. Your ideal of happiness? That what I do for pleasure brings joy to others and helps make their lives richer.
  7. What would be your greatest tragedy? Losing one my children.
  8. As a boy, what did you want to be? As a very small boy, nothing in particular. Later, an archeologist.
  9. And now, if you weren’t a musician, what would you like to be? An archeologist, exactly, although today my interests would have a far more anthropological focus than what I imagined when I was young. And for a while now I can also see myself as an astrophysicist: looking at the sky, dreaming about outer space, and knowing what to ask it. I could give my life over to that.
  10. Your favourite colour? I tend to like the variants of more common colours when they verge towards others: vermillion, turquoise, lime green.
  11. Your favourite animal? Felines, in general, and the tiger in particular. But I like to look at animals, not touch them: I don’t need too much physical interaction with them, as opposed to how I feel about people.
  12. Your favourite city? One in which I don’t have to live my whole life and which will keep me surprised day after day. If I have to choose from those I know, and for widely different reasons, I would say New York, Singapore, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Cairo, and Barcelona.
  13. Your ideal landscape? Waking up in the Dolomites, preferably in a spot I have never visited.
  14. What place do you dream of visiting one day? Outer space. Literally: to see the earth from outside and without gravity.
  15. What place would you always go back to if you could? A great many. To begin with, a certain unforgettable landscape: my beloved Dolomites, of course, but also Lake Pichola in Udaipur, the summit of Pão de Açúcar, the Yellowstone Park geysers, an infinite number of spots in Iceland, Elephantine Island with the desert just behind it looking from the shores of the Nile in Aswan. Then, always, the Library of Congress. And to the arms of Silvia, my partner (it sounds a bit corny but it’s a fact).
  16. Three musicians without whom the world would be worse off? ¿Three who are alive? Frederic Rzewski, Brad Mehldau, David Ortolá.
  17. A work of music you never tire of hearing? It depends on what era and, very much so, on the performance and recording. Over recent weeks, Schumann Violin Concerto as played by Patricia Kopatchinskaja.
  18. A special song for you (and don’t say why)? “Abendstern” by Schubert.
  19. A musical instrument (not your own)? Alto Flute.
  20. A writer and a book? Jorge Luis Borges. “Ocean Sea” by Alessandro Baricco.
  21. A painter and a painting? Claude Monet. “Study after Velazquez’s portrait of Pope Innocent X” by Francis Bacon.
  22. A film. “Moulin Rouge” by Baz Luhrmann.
  23. A sport. Hiking.
  24. Car, bike, or public transport? Car or public transport, depending on the place and the quality of the transport.
  25. Favourite food and drink? My mama’s home-made sweet tortellini, and fresh mango juice (and fresh fruit juices in general)…but separately, of course!
  26. Do you cook regularly? Yes.
  27. What name do you like the most? Gaia. If I’d had a daughter I’d like her to have been called this.
  28. What is the habit of others you most detest? Belittling someone, on a small or grand scale, especially when it is an expression of scorn based on difference.
  29. What defect do you most easily tolerate? Mine, firstly: unpunctuality.
  30. Your fictional hero or heroine? Yoda.
  31. Your real-life hero or heroine? People like Oscar Camps (the founder of the NGO Proactiva Open Arms) who sacrifices everything to do what he believes in. And his family, who support him.
  32. In which city do you imagine yourself living? Many. The important thing for me is with whom and doing what. If I have to choose one, then it’s New York. At least for a while.
  33. Would you have like to have lived in another era? No. I’d just like my era to better than it is.
  34. What musical event would you have liked to be present at? The December 22 concert in 1808 in the Theater an der Wien, the day Beethoven premiered his 5th and 6th Symphonies, improvised and played a version of his 4th Concerto that I believe was unthinkably different to how we imagine this work today. But I would like to be at that concert not as a Viennese person from 1808 but being what I am today, a musician and musicologist of the 21st century. To be able to compare those performances with all that we have done later with those scores, that would be quite amazing!
  35. Which musician from the past would you have liked to know? Those whose personal qualities fascinate me and at the same time leave me questioning before which I would like to have an idea of my own. Beatriz de Dia, for example, or Josquin Desprez. And also Barbara Strozzi, and no doubt Haydn, who seems to me the most sympathetic guy of all Western music. Maria Szymanowska and Louise Farrenc. Brahms, without a doubt. And then, already entering the twentieth century, Cowell and Hindemith.
  36. 24 hours with…? Many people, known to me and not. Among those I know, perhaps Krystian Zimerman. Among those I don’t, at this moment in time, Lita Cabellut.
  37. What musician of the past would you have liked to know? Many. But, above all, I would like to know people whose existence at this moment I am ignorant of. There are people whose names and music don’t even reach us. Silvia and I, for example, met Ustad Niyaz Khan in Jodhpur, India, in 2005; what we saw and experienced there, in the antithesis of the star system, is the type of experience I would like to repeat above all else.
  38. How would you like to die? With the feeling of having done everything I wanted to do. Something that undoubtedly will not occur because my projects grow with the years in both number and size.
  39. What is your current state of mind, right now? Determined and looking forward to the year that awaits me.
  40. ¿Do you have a motto or a favourite saying? “The more you know, the closer you are to magic”. The actor José Sacristán said that in one of the most beautiful scenes of a film I am infinitely fond of, “Un lugar en el mundo” (“A Place in the World”, 1992) directed by Adolfo Aristarain.