Gabriella de Esteban-world -famous conductor, concert pianist & organist:

'' Working with great singers like Placido Domingo, Pavarotti, Boris Martinovich, Carlos Alvarez, among others, it is an honor and at the same time a push to get the best of myself....''

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Gabriella de Esteban

Originally from Bilbao, Gabriella de Esteban studied piano and organ at the Conservatorios Superiores of the Basque Country obtaining the higher degree of piano and organ. Esteban studied conducting with Masson, D. Rouits, A. Voirpy, S. Celibidache and G.Devos in England, Germany and France where he obtained the Maitrise degree in Musicology from the University of Paris.

She was Assistant conductor of M. Rostropovitch at the Vienna National Opera (Staatsoper).

She has worked with top level star-singers such as Plácido Domingo and with stage directors such as Werner Herzog and Cesare Lievi in countless outstanding productions at the Opera de Paris-Bastille, the Grand Theatre in Limoges, the Bonn Opera and the Vienna National Opera as well as in 

Ashleigh Stewart

DM Magazine Writer

various productions of the Salzburg Festival. Esteban has been Head of the Singing Department at the Vienna Chamber Opera (Wiener Kammeroper) and later appointed music director of the Lyric Theatre in St. Petten, Austria. Esteban actively participates in the Venice Biennale representing Austria.

She is guest conductor of various European Ensembles and orchestras such as Bratislava Opera House, Bansca Opera House Brsitcisca, Slovak Sinfonietta, Budapest Chamber Orchestra, Sterreischiche Ensemble Neue Musik (Salzburg), Die Reihe, T'nkunstler Ensemble Wien, Jugenstiltheater Wien, Theater Semper Depot Wien, Sommer Akademie Salzburg and Salzburg Festspiele,Opera de Graz, (Austria), Schlesswig Holstein Festival (Germany), Teatro di Bolzano (Italy), C.O.M.A Festival, Young Orchestra of the Basque Country E.G.O., Bilbao Symphony Orchestra B.O.S., Euskadi Symphony Orchestra O.S.E.


As a pianist, Ms.Esteban made several recordings for Radio Televisión Austriaca (O.R.F.) .


Gabriella de Esteban is the collaborator of the newspaper El Correo. She is also a professor in the Opera and Operetta department of the Vienna Conservatory, artistic and musical director of various international projects specializing in the dissemination of contemporary music, as well as professor in the opera department of the Musikene Music Center (San Sebastian).

1.You are a very successful concert pianist and organist. What inspired you to choose a career as a conductor? Esteban: Well, I guess as I was at first a concert pianist and an organist with large interest in the opera and contemporary music , the most natural step forward was the conducting ,as a search for the power of sound and the construction of complexities in the music.

For me ,the conducting  is a natural way of building sonic adventures in the company of composers, singers, musicians.......a collective work.

2.What experience or collaboration has had the greatest impact on your life and career and why? Esteban : Working with great singers like Placido Domingo, Pavarotti, Boris Martinovich, Carlos Alvarez, among others, it is an honor and at the same time a push to get the best of yourself. Being a participant in the Salzburg Festival in the creation of multimedia projects is an amazing experience when you have the posibility to work with all kind of different artists such as video artists, singer soloists, choir, orchestras, readers, ballet,actors......when you put together all those artists, fighting to get the best of the new creation... such a is hard ,but most important- it is very desirable.

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3.What does it take today to build a career as a successful conductor and artist in the world?

GdE :It's a difficult question. First, it depends on the country you аre coming from, the quality of your studies, the place where you want to work and the expertise to which you want to dedicate the most of your energy.

I would advise you to be honest with yourself, to know what your passion is, to know your limits and to continue in that direction.

It would make no sense to conduct an opera just for the sake of conducting. If you don't have a sense of drama, the ability to feel voices, to breathe with them, to be

one with every melodic line of an orchestra and the singers...... young people need to decide what they are good at, or at least what their passion is.

Then you need to look for good schools, the best professors, even if you need to move to another city or even another country.

Don't settle for school lessons alone! Use every moment to expand your studies, not only in music, but also in literature, fine arts, poetry, philosophy.


Build yourself up.

Visit every exhibition, gallery, museum, lecture.

Listen to a variety of music. Don’t limit yourself to just the one you like.

Good preparation is the beginning of a great adventure!

Find a mentor, don't be afraid to ask questions. From the beginning, be honest with yourself and others.

Work hard , involve in interesting projects, propose programs, organize and plan your career,make a web page, some good recordings even if at the beginning you have to get your colleagues to collaborate.

Gabriella de Esteban

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Gabriella de Esteban

4.   You are also one of the members of the Jury at the prestigious International Voice Competition named after the famous American bass- baritone Boris Martinovich.  

This year the competition is going to be held online,due to the Covid-19

Can you tell us a bit more about the competition, what do you think about this initiative and what does it mean to you? How the collaboration came about?

GdE :This international competition is a great opportunity for young singers all over the world to participate and get the experience not only to sing for the jury but to get the practice of dealing with other voices coming from different nationalities and vocal techniques and also make themselves known internationally.


This initiative is very precious in the formation of a career because of the contacts you can get, the possibility of winning and getting so many concerts and opportunities of singing in world class places, contacts with international managers and agents. When I heard about the International Voice Competition Boris Martinovich   , I saw many great opportunities for singers in the competition, and I was extremely honored when I received an invitation to be a member of the jury of such a wonderful project. 

The fact that I not only conduct projects for singers, but I am also a professor- lecturer at the Universities of Musikene and at the Superior Music Center of the Basque Country where I work as a conductor in the department for singers.Because of all that, I really appreciate all the opportunities that this competition provides to young singers.

I feel honored to have received an invitation from Boris Martinovich and his wife Diane Martinovich to be a member of the jury of this great project and I think that the International Voice Competition Boris Martinovich will have a very important significance in the history of vocal competitions.

Quality high-ranking competitions such as the International Voice Competition Boris Martinovich are essential  for the formation of the
career. The ability to hear and to be heard gives you an easier insight into where you are. The opinion of internationally recognized singers , managers, opera directors is a great help.

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Gabriella de Esteban

5.We are witnessing the global Chovid-19 crisis and its impact on music, art and the whole world. How do you see the future of opera and performing arts in the near and distant future?

GdE:I am actually in Spain , a country deeply touched by the Covid and I see that the cultural situation, both here and in the rest of the Europe is quite similar. But despite of the serious problems , the Royal Opera House in Madrid has a very commendable attitude by continuing under strict healthy security measures with the performance plan. I think that the culture and specially in this specific case-opera , is something that must continue to be ''alive''  in this difficult moments for the humanity, to help and ease people’s current fears and the weight of emotions to which people are currently exposed.

6.What is your message to the singers about the International Voice Competition Boris Martinovich?

GdE: Go for it!


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