• Born 1959
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Salvador Brotons is a prolific composer, conductor and flautist from Spain. He is currently active as conductor and music director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in the state of Washington, a post he has held since 1991. He is also active on the other side of the ocean as conductor and music director of two orchestras in Spain—the Vallès Symphony Orchestra in Barcelona and the Balearic Islands Symphony Orchestra in Palma de Mallorca. In the summers, Brotons remains active as teacher and director at the XXI Century Music Festival on the island of Minorca.
Born into a family of musicians, Salvador Brotons was exposed to music from the beginning of his life. His first music teacher was his father, with whom he studied flute before entering the Barcelona Conservatory of Music in 1967. Brotons was an excellent student, receiving superior titles in all three of his studies—flute, composition and orchestral conducting.
In 1977, at the age of 18, Brotons was appointed principal flute of the opera orchestra Orquestra del Teatre del Liceu de Barcelona. In 1981 he also became a member of the Orquestra Ciutat de Barcelona. He held both positions until 1985, when he was awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship allowing him to move to the United States and study at Florida State University, from which he received a Doctorate in Music. Throughout his studies, Brotons was a composition student ofXavier Montsalvatge and R. Johnson and a conducting student of A. Ros-Marbà and P. Spurgeon.
While in Florida, Brotons held the position of assistant conductor of the Florida State Symphony Orchestra between 1986 and 1987. After completing his doctorate, Bartons moved out west to teach and conduct at Portland State University in Oregon, where he held the position of associate professor. He also served as music director and conductor for the Oregon Sinfonietta between 1990 and 1993 and the Mittleman Jewish Community Orchestra from 1989 to 1991. At Portland State University, Brotons taught counterpoint, orchestral conducting, music history and music literature. In addition, he conducted the Portland State University Symphony Orchestra for a decade (1987-97). In 1991, Bartons was appointed music director and conductor of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in Washington State. He was appointed conductor of both the Vallès Symphony Orchestra and the Orquestra Simfònica de les Illes Balears “Ciutat de Palma” in 1997. He remained with the former until 2002 and the latter until 2001. In 2009, Brotons resumed his post at the Orquestra Simfònica de les Illes Balears “Ciutat de Palma”, where he remained until 2013.
Brotons’ career is a delicate balancing act in terms of location and activity. He currently has positions in America and Spain and manages to conduct, teach and compose. Brotons still holds his position with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, with which he has received the Arts Council Award of Clark County and the city of Vancouver and the Kiwanis Rose Award (2005). He is also the current conductor of the Barcelona Symphonic Band. He has also been professor of composition since 201 at the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (ESMUC).
As a composer, Brotons is also very active, having already composed more than 130 pieces. He writes primarily for orchestra and chamber ensembles and has received awards for many of his works. Brotons describes his musical language as ‘free from aesthetic prejudices and avant-garde influence’. He values expressiveness and accessibility in addition to idiomatic writing. He has cited Shostakovich as a great influence and even dedicated one of his first piano pieces to the Russian master. Brotons’ experiences in the U.S. have also had a large impact on his music, which is always tonal and structurally balanced. His music has been described as featuring ‘a vigorous rhythmic and melodic impulse’ and an ‘extrovert character’.
Brotons’ first major composition prize was the Premio Orquesta Nacional de España (Spanish National Award) in 1977 for his Four Pieces for Strings. He later received the Cuatro Piezas para Cuerdas (Golden Youth Award, 1980) for Jove d’Or and the Premio Ciutat de Barcelona (City of Barcelona Award) for his Symphony No. 1 in 1983 and again in 1986 forAbsències for narrator and orchestra. In 1986 he also received the Southeastern Composers League Award for hisSinfonietta da Camera (1986), followed by The Madison University Flute Choir Composition Award in 1987 for hisFlute Suite. In 1991, Brotons was awarded the Premio Reina Sofia de Composición (Queen Sofia Composition Prize) for his orchestral workVirtus.
The prized composer has received a plethora of commissions for works including his two-act operaReverend Everyman (Florida State University, 1989), the Sonata da Concerto for trumpet and band (University of Wyoming, 1992),Commemorativa for orchestra (RTVE Orchestra, Spain), Concerto for Flute and Orchestra (Conferenza dil Mediterraneo-Sicily, 1997), a two-act musicalBefore Silence (Generalitat de Catalunya, 1998), the Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra (Cervantes Foundation of Warsaw, 1999) and the Woodwind Quintet No. 3 (University of Arizona, 2000).
In addition to many awards and commissions, Brotons has also been fortunate enough to have a number of his works recorded on labels such as EMI, Auvidis, Albany Records, Claves and RNE among others.
Equally in demand as a conductor, Brotons’ conducting career has taken him across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas, where he has been invited by prestigious orchestras as a guest conductor. He has worked with many European orchestras including the Radio Prague Orchestra, RTVE Orchestra in Spain, Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid, the Asturias Orchestra, Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Liceu in Barcelona. He has also been the guest conductor of a number of American orchestras including the Blue Lake Festival Orchestra, the Columbia Symphony, the York Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania and the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra. Brotons has also appeared as guest conductor with the National Symphony Orchestra of South Africa, the Raanana Symphonette in Israel and the Moscow Virtuosi.