The Fundación Baluarte, public institution of Navarra, Spain, in charge of the programming of the Palace of Congress and Auditorium of Navarra ‘Baluarte’, as well as the Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra (Navarre Symphony Orchestra), recently named Asier Polo as its Artist in Residence for the 2018/2019 season.
Asier Polo will be the protagonist of five programs, which will be developed in seven concerts throughout this season in several formats: recitals, chamber music concerts and performances together with the Navarra Symphony Orchestra, resident orchestra of the city of Pamplona main concert hall and one of the leading orchestras in Spain.
For the occasion, the Fundación Baluarte has commissioned a composition by Fernando Velázquez, specially written for Asier Polo. Likewise, the cellist will also hold another world premiere during his residency, by the composer from Zaragoza Jesús Torres.
The National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico (OSN) captivated the audience with the last program of its First Season 2018, in a true musical fiesta full of emotions, under the baton of its Chief Conductor, Carlos Miguel Prieto, and with the Spanish cellist Asier Polo, as guest soloist, who offered an emotional and intense evening.
The recital began with a masterful interpretation by the soloist of ‘Kol Nidrei’, adagio on Hebrew liturgical melodies for cello and orchestra, op. 47, from the German composer Max Bruch.
Later, the violoncello virtuoso, who has collaborated with the main orchestras all over the world, made the main cultural venue in the country vibrate to the maximum when performing the ‘Adagio con variazioni’ for cello and orchestra by the Italian Ottorino Respighi, work of effective and transparent instrumentation in which the author exhibits his deep knowledge of the technique of the strings, which gave Asier Polo many opportunities to show off.
When finishing his two participations, the applause and ovation of the audience, moved by his solemn but emotional interpretation, made him return to the stage in several occasions. The musician, who is currently professor at the Musikene Basque Country Higher Music Center, presented as “encore” ‘Jacqueline’s tears’, by the Judeo-German composer and cellist Jacques Offenbach.
Last January, Asier Polo performed three out of the six Bach’s Cello Suites within the ‘Touching the Stars’ cycle of the Unicaja Foundation in Málaga. La Opinión de Málaga highlighted “the virtuosity and the technical demand (…) in the reading made by the Spanish cellist. To this we must add the particular sensitivity that Polo prints in his interpretations, which make them so special”. The Spanish newspaper praised the “technical roundness” and “the aesthetics built by Asier Polo throughout the concert”, which made his performance “a recital of great value”.
“The Newport recital debut of Spanish cellist Asier Polo enticingly promised a chance to hear the Shostakovich Cello Sonata for the second time in as many weeks, as well as an opportunity to check out an artist who has made a significant name for himself in Europe but not that much in the US. We were rewarded on both counts.”
You can read the full review in the Boston Musical Intelligencer here.
Asier Polo received glowing reviews for his performance of Elgar’s Cello Concerto which opened the 2017 Quincena Musical in San Sebastián, with the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Juanjo Mena.
“The highlight of the evening was without doubt Asier Polo’s performance of Elgar’s Cello Concerto. One of the most famous works of the British repertoire, it’s also the work with which Polo made his professional debut as a soloist, when he was just 21. His profound knowledge of the score could be seen in so many details of his interpretation, and especially in the elegant manner with which Polo unified the contrasting passages of the concerto, that varied from lyrical passion to almost mystic intimacy.
It was a great performance that lasted right up to the encore, the “Preludio-Fantasia” by Cassadó, which he played with incredible beauty.”
(Mikel Chamizo, Gara)
You can read translations of all the reviews here.
Together with the magnificent pianist and regular recital partner Marta Zabaleta, Asier Polo has released a new album, which is a beautiful selection of romantic repertoire for cello and piano. Together, Asier and Marta perform four works that display technical and emotional virtuosity.
The two most substantial works on the disc are Sergei Rachmaninov’s Sonata Op. 19 in G minor and César Franck’s Sonata in A minor, and these are paired with Alexander Glazunov’s Chant du Menestrel and Maurice Ravel’s Vocalise-Etude. They are four outstanding works of great interest that demonstrate the richness of colours, ideas and sound worlds that opened the 20th century.
The CD, released on the Ibs Classical label, was recorded last October in the Auditorio Manuel de Falla, one of the most emblematic musical venues in Granada. The sleeve notes are by Blanca Calvo and include a detailed explanation of the pieces and of the artists’ interpretation, and this is illustrated with photographs by Pablo Axpe.
With an extensive discography of 14 CDs, Asier Polo returns with this new production, which is his second with Marta Zabaleta, and which promises to be a “journey to the bottom of the soul”. The CD is already on sale through theIbs Classical website.
You can download a press kit, which features interviews with Asier Polo and favorable reviews of the disc in Spanish here.
Asier Polo and Marta Zabaleta paid a visit to Radio Clásica at the beginning of November. Before performing works by Glazunov, Ravel, Franck and Rachmaninov live on air, they spoke to Eva Sandoval y Juan Manuel Viana about their special partnership.
“Variations on a Rococo theme for cello and orchestra” by Tchaikovsky uncovered the sheer insurmountable talent of Asier Polo. The work itself was beautiful with moments of shuddering lyricism, as in the Andante variation, but I take my hat off to [Asier Polo] – he absolutely shone. He displayed both sensitivity and technique, he is a magician of music; he is music, he breathes it, drinks it, radiates it. It was wonderful, and he was greatly applauded.”
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