David Afkham will renew his contract in National Orchestra of Spain with more involvement and more power within it. He will do it starting on September 1st of this year and for two more seasons when he finishes his current period as guest principal director. The figure and control of this young German musician (35 years old) of Parsi origin, are extended by the new commitment to the head of the orchestra and also to the orchestra and choir.
Afkham expands its influence and also its presence in Madrid. Of the eight weeks a year that he was obliged to fulfill, he passes to 15 "
Amaya de Miguel, general director of National Institute of Performing Arts and Music (Inaem), has negotiated with the musician to expand his commitment in different terms to the current ones. Until now, his position as the principal director was reducing his decision-making capacity within the orchestra. He needed more impulse and authority recognized by the Ministry of Culture to carry out his own project with more freedom.
It will be something that can be put into practice as of next September, when the contract that has just been negotiated this week comes into force. Amaya de Miguel has communicated this Thursday to the orchestra and now has free hands to do and undo at his discretion.
The current director has considered the future of ONE as a priority. Since the march of Josep Pons in 2011, the environment had deteriorated between internal struggles and ongoing disagreements with Felix Alcaraz, who has been the technical and artistic director of the institution up to this date.
Afkham expands its influence and also its presence in Madrid. Of the eight weeks a year that he was obliged to fulfill, he passes to 15. Thus he will be able to develop a much more conscientious and profound work with the musicians. Also plan more international tours and presence on stages of Spain, something that in recent times had become an exception, despite being an orchestra paid with the money of all taxpayers.
The musician will have to rebuild broken bridges in recent years. To the peace and fine tuning of Pons in the previous decade, too much turbulence has happened to him. Although Afkham had been chosen by him to replace him in front of the orchestra, the relay was delayed and his commitment was signed in 2014, when he was governing the PP and Miguel Ángel Recio was directing in Inaem, with few attributions. The musicians and the public received it with enthusiasm and under his baton they showed a lot of motivation. But that relationship has deteriorated and Afkahm, to restore it, needs more confidence from the ministry.
Many attribute to him a great capacity as a musician but a weak character when it comes to imposing his authority. The toughest and most transcendental decisions have fallen into the hands of Felix Alcaraz, who has finally faced an almost total war between him and the musicians in which Afkham was in an awkward position. The substitution of positions of responsibility in different sections has been opposed by several bodies of the orchestra and has caused losses and dismissed outlets. The new heads of the ministry have withdrawn the confidence to Alcaraz – which is low and will not renew his position, as they have communicated it to him – to give all the power to the German.
This will be supported by a new technical director, still to be determined. The appointment will be made in two months and is open to the deadline to submit projects that will be assessed by the code of good practice criteria. But in the Inaem they look for a profile of expert and high civil servant in the administration of the State and not of musician to, among other things, put in march a new regulation. With the current one, the flexibility and competitiveness of the orchestra damage its possibilities and its future. For De Miguel, the reform is a fundamental issue. And in that direction, David Afkham has placed himself as the fundamental axis facing the future of the ONE.