Pedro Halffter was born in Madrid in 1971. He studied conducting in Germany with the maestros Oesterreicher, Weil, Kalmar, Musin and Leitner. Later, he received a grant to study conducting at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, with Professor Hager, and to further his studies in composing in New York. He is currently artistic director of the Teatro de la Maestranza.
He has conducted on many stages of great prestige, such as the Vienna Musikverein, the Konzerthaus in Berlin, the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, the Théâtre du Chatelet in Paris, the Teatro Real in Madrid, the Tchaikovsky Hall of Moscow and the Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, among others. He has stood on the podium of important orchestras, such as the Philharmonia Orchestra, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Dresdner Philharmonie, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Staatskapelle Berlin, Rotterdams Philharmonisch, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester of Berlin, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Orquesta del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and New Japan Philharmonic, in addition to the most important symphonic orchestras of Spain. He was the artistic director of the Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla from 2004 to 2015.
His extensive opera repertory encompasses a range of styles, from Mozart to Berg, and including the Italian opera of Puccini, Bellini and Verdi, and the most representative titles by Wagner, Zemlinsky, Falla and Weill. He has premiered many operas in Spain, such as Dr. Faust by Busoni, Die Schweigsame Frau by Richard Strauss and Der ferne Klang by Schreker, which he also conducted to great acclaim in the Staatsoper Unter den Linden of Berlin, where he conducted Salomé by Strauss as well. As a composer, his works have been performed in such important halls as the Philharmonie of Dortmund and Carnegie Hall of New York. At Madrid’s Teatro Real he has conducted Don Quijote, Madama Butterfly, La vida breve, Orpheus und Eurydike by Krenek, The Dream of Gerontius by Elgar, Cyrano de Bergerac with Plácido Domingo, in addition to a number of concerts and recitals. One of his major projects was conducting Der Ring des Nibelungen, by Wagner, for four seasons at the Teatro de la Maestranza. In 2011 he received the prestigious Juno award for best classical music album of the year, for Fire and Blood, which was recorded with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, and he has also recorded an album devoted to Ginastera, with the label Deutsche Grammophon.
He has recently conducted Lulu in Israel, Rigoletto with Leo Nucci at the National Centre for Performing Arts of Beijing, which was recorded on DVD, and Strauss’ Die Schweigsame Frau at the Bayerische Staatsoper of Munich. He has taken part in the concert seasons of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall of Moscow and the Philharmonic of Montecarlo. He has also conducted in São Paulo and in Brussels.
His recent performances and upcoming engagements include debuts with the Philharmonic of St. Petersburg (Suite no.1 of Carmen by Bizet, El sombrero de tres picos by Falla and Concierto de Aranjuez), the Jerusalem Symphonic Orchestra (world premier of Golden Hour by Ben-Shabetai, dedicated to the memory of Isaac Rabin and Mahler’s Symphony no. 4) and the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam, participation in Otello at the Teatro de la Maestranza and in Manon Lescaut at the ABAO-Palacio Euskalduna (on both occasions with tenor Gregory Kunde), a concert with the Sinfónica de Navarra, featuring works by Prokofiev, Schubert and Wagner, a choral-symphonic version of Tannhäuser with the Filarmónica de Málaga, a return visit to the Teatro Real of Madrid with a new orchestration, by Halffter himself, of Der Kaiser von Atlantis by Viktor Ullmann, a concert with the OSPA and the Oviedo Filarmonía conducting Symphony no.7 by Shostakovitch and Adagio in memoriam Ana Frank, a symphonic version with choir of Tannhäuser at Valencia’s Palau de la Musica and also Tannhäuser, Die Zauberflöte and La Bohème at the Teatro de la Maestranza.
Pedro Halffter is a member of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de Santa Isabel de Hungría of Seville.