Interview by Paul Salfen
In addition to being a leading name in the field of music composition for film, theatre and television series, Fernando Velázquez is a multifaceted musician: orchestra conductor, concerto composer, cellist, arranger and songwriter.
He has composed award-winning and memorable soundtracks for films including all those by J.A. Bayona, such as El orfanato (The Orphanage), The Impossible and Un monstruo viene a verme (A Monster Calls), the latter of which was awarded the Goya for Best Original Score in 2017.
He also composed the music for some of the highest-grossing films in Spanish cinema’s history, such as Ocho apellidos vascos (Spanish Affair), Los ojos de Julia (Julia’s Eyes), El silencio de la ciudad blanca (The Silence of the White City), Contratiempo (The Invisible Guest), Mummies (Momias) and series such as Patria, El inocente (The Innocent), Alma, Ghosts of Beirut among many others.
His Hollywood experience includes films such as Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson peak and M. Night Shyamalan’s Devil. He was asked by Wim Wenders to score his 2017 film Submergence.
He has also enjoyed a significant and award-winning career as a classical musician and composer. Among his more than 250 symphonic compositions, the record release of ‘Viento’ is a particular highlight, which marks his first collaboration with the prestigious cellist Johannes Moser as the soloist of his Cello Concerto. Also of note is his Trombone Concerto, recorded by Ximo Vicedo and Euskadiko Orkestra in 2020.
It is also worth mentioning Humanity at Music, a cantata translated into several languages which has become the International anthem of Cooperativism. It is part of an inter- cooperative artistic project bringing together artistic disciplines such as music, storytelling, singing, illustration, theatre and dance. He also has extensive experience creating music for theatre projects. Among the most recent are El síndrome del copiloto by Vanessa Montfort or El Golem by Juan Mayorga and Alfredo Sanzol, the latter author with whom has collaborated on works such as El bar que se tragó a los españoles, La Ternura y Fundamentalmente fantasias para la resistencia.
As a conductor, he has led London’s Philharmonia, the London Metropolitan, the Czech National Orchestra, the Budapest Radio Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of RTVE, Bilbao, Euskadi, Extremadura, Galicia, Comunidad de Madrid, Navarra, Murcia, Principado de Asturias and Seville, among others.
As an arranger, he has worked on orchestral arrangements of pieces by other composers, such as a version of the famous Cántico espiritual by Amancio Prada, based on the poems of San Juan de la Cruz,or his collaboration on Jorge Drexler’s latest album, Tinta y tiempo, whose song El Plan Maestro was awarded with the Latin Grammy for the Best Arrangement in 2022.