Eduardo López Banzo, born in Zaragoza in 1961, is one of the European conductors who has convincingly made Historicism his own musical philosophy with the objective of making his musicians face the source and spirit of each composition. The result being that the music, after so many of centuries, appears new and fresh to contemporary audiences.
He studied harpsichord, and translates the subtlety and ductility of this instrument in his performances. He conducts his musicians as if he were moving his hands, and they react as if his brain was giving orders, as an organic whole. This manner of conducting has spectacular results, making him a very attractive guest conductor for brilliant and energetic orchestras: he has conducted the Tenerife, Galicia, Madrid and Comunitat de Valencia orchestras, and period instruments ensembles such as New York Collegium, San Francisco's Philarmonia Baroque Orchestra, the Belgian B'Rock and the Polish Arte dei Suonatori.
Eduardo López Banzo has conducted in Vienna's Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Berlin Konzerthaus, Düsseldorf's Tonhalle, Paris' Opéra Comique, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and Cité de la Musique, Hamburg's Leiszhalle, Madrid's Teatro Real and Auditorio Nacional, Barcelona's Palau de la Música Catalana and Gran Teatre del Liceu, Valencia's Palau de les Arts and Palau de la Música, Bilbao's Palau Euskalduna, Brussels' Palais des Beaux Arts, Lisbon's Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Rome's Teatro Olimpico, amongst others.
In the operatic field, Eduardo Lopez Banzo is one of the most important specialists in Handel's music for theatre. He has conducted from the pit for Bibao's ABAO/OLBE with Al Ayre Español, in Valencia's Palau de les Arts with the Orquestra de la Comunitat de Valencia and in Kiel Opera with the Philarmonisches Orchester Kiel.
His next engagements will take him on to debut in Asia (Singapore and Hong Kong), Baden Baden Easter Festival, Leipzig's Bachfestspiele, the Berlin Philarmonie, the Ibermusica Season (Madrid) and Krakow's Misteria Paschalia Festival.
Eduardo López Banzo founded Al Ayre Español in 1988, and was awarded the Spanish National Music Prize in 2004, thanks to more than twenty years of musicological rigueur and performance excellence; that which has made Al Ayre Español a referent all across Europe.
AL AYRE ESPAÑOL
Al Ayre Español was founded in 1988 by Eduardo López Banzo with the objective of avoiding the mistaken clichés that often surrounded the performance of Spanish baroque music. The spirit of the ensemble made this possible thanks to musicological rigor, performance excellence and with the main purpose of giving new breath to music from the past, making them appear as recent compositions, and then offering them to the contemporary audience.
The name of the ensemble was inspired by the title for a guitar Fugue of the Calanda (Aragón) composer, Gaspar Sanz. In this Fugue he indicated the musician to play with "ayre español" (in the Spanish way). Unfortunately, precisely what that meant has remained in the 17th Century.
With the passing of the time, Al Ayre Español has become not only a prestigious ensemble, but moreover a performance philosophy, finally giving meaning to the Gaspar Sanz's indication. This has been achieved through lot of reflection, performance and mastery. Al Ayre Español is now a way of performing and enjoying music that Eduardo López Banzo has being creating as a work-inprogress, recognisable, requested and acclaimed all over the world, and for all these reasons was awarded the 2004 Spanish National Music Prize.
The fact that Al Ayre Español is more than a specialised early music ensemble, that represents the musical philosophy "al ayre español", has allowed the project to be flexible. This has made it possible to adapt itself to different formats, as a baroque orchestra -acknowledged by its performances of Handel and Bach- and lately as a classical-romantic orchestra -with opera and concert performances of Haydn and Mozart.
Al Ayre Español has performed on the most prestigious stages: Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Vienna's Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Düsseldorf's Tonhalle, Berlin's Konzerthaus, Paris' Théatre des Champs Elysées and Cite de la Musique de París, Madrid's Teatro Real and Auditorio Nacional, Barelona's Palau de la Musica Catalana and Gran Teatre del Liceu ,Valencia's Palau de la Música, Hamburg's Leiszhalle, Washington's Library of Congress, Brussels' Palais des Beaux Arts, Metz's Arsenal, Lisbon's Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Bilbao's Palacio Euskalduna, Rome's Teatro Olimpico, etc.
Al Ayre Español has also been invited to some of the most important festivals: Baden Baden Easter Festival, Bachstpiele Leipzig, Oude Muziek Utrecht, Internationale Festtage Alter Musik Stuttgart, Scheleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Dresdner Musikfestpiele, Toulouse les Orgues, Festival de Música Religiosa de Cuenca, Festival de Música Antigua de Aranjuez, Festival d'Ambronay, Handel Festspiele Halle, Festival Internationa d'Opera Baroque de Beaune, Festival de Saintes, Festival Internacional Cervantino (México), Festival Monteverdi de Cremona, Israel's Authentical, Festival Via Stellae de Santiago de Compostela, Moscow's Antiquarium Festival, etc.
Al Ayre Español has recorded for the labels Almaviva, Fidelio, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Harmonia Mundi, Naïve-Ambroisie and Challenge. Al Ayre Español's recordings have been awarded the Choq anual de Le Monde de la Musique, Diapason d'Or, 10 Répertoire and Telerama (France); Editor's Choice (Gramophone, London), CD Compact (Barcelona) and Fono Forum (Germany).
Upcoming events of Al Ayre Español are its debut in Asia (Singapore and Hong-Kong) in 2011, its debut in the Berlin Philarmonie, Ibermusica Season (Madrid's Auditorio Nacional) and Krakow's Mistheria Paschalia Festival (Poland).
Al Ayre Español is sponsored by Government of Aragon and is in residence in Zaragoza's Concert Hall.
María Espada was born in Mérida (Spain), where she studied singing with Mariana You-Chi. Later she completed her graduate studies in singing at the Conservatory in Madrid and did post-graduate studies with Alfredo Kraus at the “Reina Sofia” Academy of Music.
She has worked with conductors such as Frans Brüggen, Andrea Marcon, Diego Fasolis, Howard Griffiths, Carlos Kalmar, Giovanni Antonini, Jesús López Cobos, Frühbeck de Burgos, Juanjo Mena, Aldo Ceccato, Christophe Coin, Adrian Leaper, Emil Simon, Alberto Zedda, Antoni Ros Marbà, Josep Pons, Víctor Pablo Pérez, etc, with orchestras such as Venice Baroque Orchestra, Il Giardino Armonico, Orchestra of the 18th Century, L’Orfeo Baroque Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, “Ricercar Consort”, “Al Ayre Español”, “La Risonanza”, Helsinki Baroque Orchestra, Nacional Orchestra of Catalunya, Madrid Symphony Orchestra, Hungarian Radio Orchestra, Seville Baroque Orchestra, etc.
She has sung in halls such as Konzerthaus in Vienna, Philharmonie in Berlin, Théâtre des Champs Élysées in Paris, Teatro Real in Madrid, Concertgebow in Amsterdam, Vredenburg in Utrecht, Santa Cecilia in Rome, Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, L’Auditori in Barcelona, Maestranza in Seville, Kursaal in San Sebastián, Euskalduna in Bilbao, etc.
In her chamber music concerts she has performed a wide repertoire (for voice and piano or small ensembles) from the baroque up to the 20th century.
She has recorded for Harmonia Mundi, Naxos, Glossa and Challenge among others.