The ambassador of women composers- Antonio Oyarzabal

Antonio Oyarzabal is a pianist with a serious commitment and passion for promoting music written by women composers. In addition to being named as the ambassador of Donne, Women in Music since 2021, Antonio recently released an album, El Fin de Silencio, featuring music by female Latin American composers. In this interview, Antonio will let us know more about the album and his commitment to promoting compositions written by female composers.

Valsa Chôro N. 1

Can you give a brief introduction of yourself?

Antonio Oyarzabal

Antonio Oyarzabal

I’m a Spanish concert pianist based in London. I came to London ten years ago to continue my Master studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and after coursing that programme and an Artist Diploma one, I felt I had established some valuable connections with musicians around me so I decided to stay. I focus on solo and chamber concerts and have a passion and commitment for music written by women composers.

You are the ambassador of Donne, Women in Music. Can you tell us a bit about the organization and your responsibility as the ambassador?

I was named ambassador of Donne in 2021, after the organization found out about my work in the field of women composers with my recordings, performances, research and also some educational resources I have gradually built on social media (I have a catalogue of almost 800 female composers I have compiled as pinned stories, with the aim to give some basic information to the viewer and motivate them to look for more!).

Donne, Women in Music is a charitable foundation dedicated to achieving gender equality in the music industry. They are there to connect and empower anyone who identifies as a woman in order to create a more equitable music industry.

My responsibility as an ambassador is the same as the one for any member of Donne: to amplify and promote repertoire written by women not only in my concert life but also in education.

You released a few albums (including the latest one) featuring works by women composers. How did you get interested in works written by female composers? Is there a particular composer or piece that draws you into it?

This work was born of my curiosity for the obscure; for what could have been but wasn’t; for the light in the shadows; for what has been kept secret and the power in revealing it.

I have always wondered where they were; women that did not appear in books, women that were not named in class, and yet whose presence could be sensed. In the most natural manner, when time found it appropriate, I opened my particular Pandora’s box of research, undoubtedly motivated by the huge influence that women have had on all aspects of my life. This is how “La Muse Oubliée” (my first album with all music written by women) started to take shape.

I have a particular affinity for French music and I feel very close to the music by Lili Boulanger, Mel Bonis, and more recently, Cécile Chaminade. I also have a special place in my heart for Vitezslava Kaprálová.

Antonio Oyarzabal plays Kaprálová – April Preludes op. 13, I

Your latest album, “El Fin de Silencio”, features music by Latin American female composers. Was it challenging to find the repertoire written by Latin American female composers? Could you share your discovery process?

El Fin del Silencio had a very interesting process, as it originally started as an idea to record solely the music by Venezuelan composer Modesta Bor, and the incredible discovery of the consistently great value of her works. Together with the team of the record label Pixaudio, we pursued this idea which after a lot of research gradually evolved into a broader vision: an album of all piano music by Latin American women composers.

Variaciones para piano

It was certainly challenging to find many of the scores for the music in the CD, but I must say I found some very wonderful people who helped me in my path, to whom I am very grateful.

What are your favorite moments while recording this album? Do you have one or two favorite pieces in the album?

Antonio Oyarzabal

If I had to choose, perhaps my favorite part of the process was the discovery itself of all these beautiful pieces, and to try and take artistic decisions on them at the piano in order to highlight their distinctive musical languages.

What is your next project (if you don’t mind telling)?

I have very recently recorded a second part to my album La Muse Oubliée with music by all different women composers to the first album but with a very similar narrative. This was done in Granada (Spain) with Ibs Classical record label. It’s still super early days, but I’m very excited to share this with the world in the coming months.

What are your non-music-related hobbies?

I love abstract acrylic painting and gold leaf and going to nice restaurants when I have the chance!

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