Born in Barcelona (1962), Ernest Martínez-Izquierdo is actually Honorary Conductor of the Navarre Symphony Orchestra of Pamplona and Principal Guest Conductor of the ensemble Barcelona 216. Since 2019 he is also Guest Professor at ESMUC (Catalonia High School of Music in Barcelona).

Following his studies in Barcelona and Paris, he began his conducting career in 1985, when he founded the ensemble “Barcelona 216”, specialized in contemporary music with which he has performed in the most prestigious international festivals. In 1988, he was appointed Assistant Director of the Spanish National Orchestra and in 1989 Pierre Boulez invited him to be his Assistant in the Ensemble Intercontemporain (Paris). From 1997 to 2013, he has been Music Director of the Navarre Symphony Orchestra. Also, from 2002 to 2006, he was Music Director of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, and he continued to serve as Principal Guest Conductor through 2009.

Aside from his work in the capacity of music director, he has also conducted the principal Spanish orchestras and ensembles. Internationally, he has worked with orchestras such as the Tokyo Symphony, Kyoto Symphony, Finnish Radio Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, Trondheim Symphony (Norway), Philharmonique de Radio France, Lyon National, Warsaw Philharmonic, Gulbenkian Orchestra (Lisboa), Sinfónica do Porto, Sinfónica Municipal de São Paulo, Zagreb Philharmonic, Orchestra Comunale di Bologna, Beethoven Academie of Antwerp, Tonkünstler-Orchester (Wien) and ensembles such as the Ensemble Contemporain of Montreal, the Ensemble Modern in Frankfurt, Trondheim Sinfonietta, Klangforum Wien and the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra in Helsinki.

In the operatic realm, outstanding productions include Kaija Saariaho’s opera Adriana Mater, staged by Peter Sellars (with premiers at the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki and at the Santa Fe Opera, USA), Le nozze di Figaro of W.A. Mozart, staged by Emilio Sagi, Carmina Burana of C. Orff, staged by La Fura dels Baus and the new production of K. Saariaho L’amour de loin in Quebec Opera staged by Robert Lepage as well as the worl premiereof L’Ombre de Venceslao by Martin Matalon staged by Jorge Lavelli in Rennes in 2016, and further productions in Avignon, Toulouse and Marseille. In January-February 2018 he conducted a row of performances of Kaija Saariaho’s latest opera Only the Sound Remains at the Paris National Opera, staged by Peter Sellars, production he conducted again at Teatro Real de Madrid and at Lincoln Centre in New York in November 2018.

He has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Telarc, Harmonia Mundi, Col Legno, Ircam, Stradivarius and Naxos.

He was been honoured with several prizes, including the Ojo Crítico, a prize awarded by the Classical Division of the Spanish National Radio in 1995, the Catalan Roland Journalism Prize for Classical Music in 2000, the City of Barcelona Prize in 2001, the Latin Grammy in 2006 and the Diapason d’Or in 2012. Since 2006, he has been a member of the Reial Acadèmia Catalana de Belles Arts de Sant Jordi. The State of Finland decorated him with the Knight of the Order of the White Rose of Finland in 2018.

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