Francisco Coll (Valencia, 1985) is a composer who paints pictures, or perhaps also a painter who composes musical works. "I paint since I can remember and I do not see much difference between painting and composing", he recognized EL PAíS this morning by phone from his home in Lucerna. Coll describes his creative process in pictorial terms: "I paint from a quick sketch in charcoal or with water colors, which I then refine; and I compose in a very similar way: with speed to get a more organic and fluid speech, although later I refine each passage ". In addition, the Valencian composer usually paints a picture related to each of his compositions. He has just done it with his latest work, a double concert entitled Les plaisirs illuminés written for the violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja and the cellist Sol Gabetta by order of the Camerata de Berna that will be released in June. "It is a painting that, apart from oil and acrylic, includes burnt plastic and even strings discarded from Patricia's violin and the cello of the Sun", he clarifies.
Coll has just been awarded the newly created composition prize at the ICMA 2019, the international classical music awards given, since 2011, by music critics of magazines and media of fourteen European countries, including Spain. The award was announced on Thursday through the Web and it highlights the ascending international trajectory of the Valencian composer, after becoming, in 2009, the only private student of the British Thomas Adès. "An upward progression that has made him one of the most solid and interesting voices on the international scene, with regular premieres at the London Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ensemble Intercontemporain and London Sinfonietta", highlights the official website of the ICMA. "My life is to be locked in a studio working and that you get a recognition like that is an immense dose of energy to move forward. You also get dizzy when you see your name next to important musicians ", recognizes Coll who has shared awards with the Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire, but also with the Spanish Javier Perianes, whose prize as artist of the year in the ICMA had already been announced in advance.
The Valencian composer appreciates that a composition prize has been included in the ICMA. "It is very necessary to give visibility to the creation of contemporary music, because the figure of the composer does not participate in the market in the same way as a sculptor or a novelist," he acknowledges. For Coll the most interesting current composers are those who build bridges and analogies with the past, like their teacher, Thomas Adès, but also the Danish Hans Abrahamsen or the German Jörg Widmann. He currently maintains an agenda brimming with activities and projects, inside and outside of Spain. Apart from maintaining residencies as a composer in the Camerata de Berna and the Orchestra of Valencia and the Palau de la Música, and to be ready to start another one in the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie in Bremen, he has collaborations with the Religious Music Festival of Cuenca and the International University Menendez Pelayo And he works on several compositions, such as a concert for violin, commissioned by six international orchestras, including the London Symphony with Simon Rattle, and in an opera with librettist Meredith Oakes for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London.
I paint from a quick sketch in charcoal or with water colors, which I then refine; and I compose in a very similar way
Among his most relevant compositions, Coll highlights his opus 1, Aqua Cinereus(2006) for orchestra, the work that led to his studies with Adès in the United Kingdom. But also the first result of his teaching, Hidd'n Blue (2009-11), which premiered with the London Symphony, and Stones (2009-10) for instrumental ensemble, who wrote for Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel. In both he has developed his interest in surrealism and has used André Breton's automatic writing technique. But he has also written works under the influence of Gilles Lipovetsky's sociology, such as his series of Hyperludies(2014) for solo violin, or Zygmunt Bauman, who inspired his work Liquid Symmetries (2013) for chamber orchestra. He has also written a short opera, Kafka Coffee (2013), which premiered the London Sinfonietta and has been represented at the Palau de les Arts in Valencia. He has even found an instinctive way to integrate flamenco into his music, as he demonstrated in Four Iberian Miniatures (2015), where he uses a fragment of the Go ruckus Lorca, or in his Concerto grosso (2016), which premiered the National Orchestra of Spain with the Casals Quartet. And there are also references in his compositions to his land, as he has done in Turia(2017), a work for solo guitar and instrumental ensemble where he pays tribute to that almost surrealist river, which has no water, you walk through its interior, it has gardens and even an opera house. But perhaps his most important work is Mural (2013-15), a composition for a large orchestra where he compiles all his sonorous universe, from surrealism and liquid modernity to his references to the Spanish musical past, which represents here the Requiem, by Tomás Luis de Victoria, as sonorous ruins of contemporary decadence.
The ICMA 2019 will be delivered, next May 10, at a ceremony that will take place at the KKL in Lucerne and will feature the performance of the Lucerne Symphony under the direction of Lawrence Foster with the award-winning Nelson Freire as soloist.