Iván Bragado Poveda is the new principal harpist with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra. Held May 15 in Tallinn, 15 harpists competed over two rounds. In addition to 10 orchestra excerpts, harpists were asked to prepare both the Spohr Fantasie and the Debussy Danse sacrée et danse profane. “They basically heard the entire excerpt list, and I have to say that the selection was very smart, very specific, and very contrasting,” says Bragado Poveda.
Fresh on the heels of his first prize win at the first Pratté International Harp Competition in Norrköping, Sweden, he mentions that he was feeling full of energy and motivation. “I think it was very nice that during the days before the audition I was focused on the competition program, so I let the orchestra program settle in my head, and I kept going physically with slow scales and basic technique during the busy days of the competition.” This was Bragado Poveda’s 11th orchestra audition, and with this win, he came full–circle: his first orchestra audition was also in Tallinn in Sept. 2015.
Currently based in Helsinki, he shares that Finland has been a fantastic place to be a freelancer. “This stage of life has taught me how to be a flexible person, how to play with different instruments, with different people, and different orchestra styles. But it has been a dream of mine to have a permanent position, to have more stability, and maybe to have a more relaxed life!” He adds that he is delighted to have the opportunity to live in Estonia, saying, “Tallinn is amazing city, full of colors and different nuances, and I cannot wait to play my first program with them in August performing one of my favorite composers, Strauss!”
In addition to winning first prize at the 2019 Pratté International Harp Competition, Bragado Poveda won first place in the 2017 International Harp Competition in Porto and second in the Stockholm International Music Competition. He has been principal harpist with the European Union Youth Orchestra since 2018 and was just selected to perform in the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan this summer. As an orchestral harpist, he has performed with many ensembles, including the Finnish National Opera, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Helsinki Philharmonic. He studied at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Castilla y León with Marianne Ten Voorde, and is currently finishing his master’s degree at the Sibelius Academy where he studies with Päivi Severeide.
For more information about the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, please visit http://www.erso.ee/.