It was a coincidence… one close friend of mine played the accordion and I started because of him…
Today, which of these different aspects predominate you?
It`s very difficult to say… I love all of them! I feel myself a musician and I really love to play (solo, chamber music or world music) and also to compose. I also love teaching… I`m very happy to work with my students.
I think I’m lucky to work with them. I’m happy and proud of their level and the nice projects that I have with my students. About the other things, in the past I spent also a lot of time writing books about the history of the accordion and I think that I wrote quite interesting books about that. I published more than 50 works for accordion of different composers… but now I don’t work anymore on this.
Your music is played a lot in concerts, exams, competition. What does it have that makes it so idiomatic for the instrument and interesting to listen?
I don`t know… Perhaps it`s not to me whom you must ask this… I only try to compose the music that I’d love to play. I try always to do things that hardly have been made with one accordion. I try to “accordionizate” different kinds of music and I try to explore all the acoustic possibilities of our instrument.
How do you feel when you listen to your music? What is your more relevant stylistic aspect?
I don’t know… but I feel extremely happy every time, a little proud about thinking that my work has helped someone to have a good time with the music. When I was younger and I compose the most part of my works I never expected that one day they will be played by any other more, except, perhaps any friend or close accordionist… But now, when I see the expansion that my works have had I feel a great joy in the depths of my being.
There are various influences in your music, mirror of your open and interconnection between different styles. Is there someone you like more?
I like very different kind of music. In all styles we can find good and not music… When I was younger I loved Bach (he is still my God), Messiaen, Berio, Gubaidulina… but also punk rock music as The Clash, The Ramones or even The Doors or Rage Against the Machine. After I discovered the world music mixed with jazz as Paco de Lucía, Egberto Gismonti, Hermeto Pascoal… and minimalist music as Wim Mertens or Michael Nyman.
As a composer, what have been your bigger “example” to follow?
Perhaps Piazzolla, ‘cause he tried to mix his own music (tango) with classical and jazz music and I also have tried to do it. Of course, I love other accordionists as Richard Galliano (I really love his music) Gus Viseur, Luciano Biondini, Vicent Peirani, Jean Louis Matinier, Sivuca, Motion trio… Other accordion composers as Wladislav Solotarev, Petri Makkonen or Franck Angelis have influenced a lot of my works.
If you speak about classical accordion… I think that there is one part of the accordionists so concentrated in contemporary music. I think that is very good to have them between us, cause thanks to them we have the works of Gubaidulina, Berio, Nordheim, Mossenmark, Lorentzen, Jokinen, Nigel Clarke, Jesús Torres… that I really adore and who put us into the world of the big auditoriums and classical or contemporary festivals. We have a lot of people playing Piazzolla that is also a good way to play with great musicians. But I don’t like very much the Russian repertoire of the 70s and 80s that we play so often (of course there are some nice exceptions that I like in this music). Between all of them we don’t have so many people composing tonal music for accordion, that’s perhaps the reason because so many people plays Makkonen, Angelis or my music.
You are often member of the jury in various competition. What do you mostly search in the candidates? Today do the competitions prepare the young accordionist to deal with music world, or is there something to change?
I try to appreciate specially the talent of the candidates and how many good things they do. I’m not so hard with their defects if they show me good things. So I say to my students before they play, not to be worried about do`t do mistakes, but to be worried to show all the good things that they are able to do.
You play also in a lot of concerts. Have you some chamber ensemble? What repertoire do you play mostly?
I play a lot of different programs. I have a duo with one harpsicord player (Silvia Márquez) and we play contemporary music, one duo with piano (Francisco San Emeterio) playing music for free reed instruments of the 19th century, another duo with one pianist (Juan Fernando Moreno Gistaín) playing American music, a project with Spanish flamenco guitarrist José Luis Montón (“Flamenco Etxea”, which can be a duo or quintet depending on the place we play) mixing the tradition of the south and the north of Spain, a trio with trumpet and double bass (“Malandro trio”) with which we play our compositions mixing classical, jazz and traditional music… and, of course, I make every year some concerts playing solo, last years specially playing only my compositions for accordion solo.
Have you compose also music for children?
I have composed a lot of music for children that perhaps it’s not so known as my concert compositions. I like specially my 2nd Children Suite or my 12 little compositions (12 idazketatxo). These compositions and most of the rest of my compositions can be download and listen for free in my website www.gorkahermosa.com.
Without accordion would your music be the same?
No, of course… hahahaha!!!
Pablo Zinger (Piazzolla`s former pianist) said: “Gorka Hermosa`s music impressed me for his originality, his atmosphere and his virtuosity: makes of the word crossover an intense reality. He`s a very talented musician to look very close“. Born in 1976 in Urretxu (Basque Country), he is a very multifaceted musician: accordion player, composer, teacher, writer, publisher…
Gorka Hermosa was the first Spanish accordionist to play as soloist with an symphonic orchestra (the Spanish National Radio and TV orchestra and after more than 12 times with other different orchestras), he often appears in Spanish TV and radio shows and gives concerts all around Europe (Finland, Norway, Estonia, Germany, Slovenia, Switzerland, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain). He has played first time more than 20 works for accordion of Spanish composers. He has also played varied musical styles including flamenco, fado, folk, pop-rock, jazz, techno, fusion… playing with musicians as Paquito D`Rivera (Grammy Awarded), Javier Peixoto (Madredeus), Pablo Zinger, Ara Malikian, La Mari (Chambao), Luis Auserón (Radio Futura), Carmen París, José Luis Montón, Germán Díaz, Baldo Martínez, Carlos Soto (Celtas Cortos), Nacho Mastretta, India Martínez…
As classical composer, his works are very often played by musicians of the five continents, including some of the winners of the most important accordion competitions (Grayson Masefield, Xu Xiaonan, Dorin Grama, Alexander Veretenikov, Iñigo Aizpiolea, Martinas Levickis, Julien Gonzales…) and other known players such as Alexander Selivanov, Yulia Amerikova, Helmut C. Jacobs or Renzo Ruggieri. His works have also been played in the graduation exams of famous conservatories of the world (Moscow, London, Pekin, Shanghai, Trossingen…). He composed the music of shorts films and of some documentaries for the Spanish National TV (TVE). His work for accordion and Symphonic Orchestra “Picasso`s Guernica” was premiered in Washington by Grayson Masefield and Spokane Symphony Orchestra.
He published four own CDs, mostly with his compositions, and made more than 30 discographical collaborations. He has written four books about the accordion and has given conferences about the history of the accordion in Macedonia, Italy and Spain. At the present he is the accordion teacher of the “Jesús de Monasterio” Musical Conservatory of Santander.
This article is available also in: Italian