Floristan Juan Perez Floristan Floristan pianist classical music solo Floristan Rubinstein Piano Competition Floristan Paloma O'Shea Floristan Santander
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Who am I?
My full name is Juan Luis Pérez Floristán, but to differentiate me from my father, also Juan Luis, at home I have always been called Juan (or Juanillo). But that does not answer the question of who I am, but what my name is. It is very complicated to say who one is, so I will try to get out of it by reviewing my main vital and academic milestones (we will leave the professional ones for later).
I was born in 1993, in Seville, a city in the south of Spain, which in itself is in the south of Europe. My father, Juan Luis Pérez, is an orchestra conductor, and from him I learned to conduct. My mother, María Floristan, is a pianist and pedagogue, and from her I learned to play the piano. My sister, Carmen Perez, is a pharmacist, but she cannot deny the music that runs through the veins of the Perez Floristan family, because today she plays percussion in a Batukada (maybe someday I will also learn that from her). Nata was our dog, an Épagneul Breton, who accompanied us for 15 years and made us the happiest family in the world.
When I was 15 years old I met Elisabeth Leonskaja, who changed my life completely with her artistic, pedagogical and human quality. In fact, it was she who gave me an advice that I followed to the letter: to go to Madrid. Leonskaja would continue to accompany me throughout my life with her invaluable advice and classes, but in the meantime I listened to her and left Seville (a city that would not be my place of residence for 12 years).
So at the age of 16 I moved to Madrid, where I continued my piano studies with Galina Eguiazarova at the Escuela de Música Reina Sofía for 4 years. It was probably the most important period of my artistic and personal formation, where I cultivated great friendships, attended unforgettable concerts and acquired more stage experience than ever.
t the age of 20 I decided to go a little further north, to Berlin no less, but for two important reasons: Eldar Nebolsin, who would be my last great Maestro; and the city of Berlin itself, an incredible and incomprehensible cultural microcosm in which I was integrated for 7 years. At the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler I not only broadened my piano training with Eldar's invaluable guidance, but also opened new artistic and personal horizons: I took drum lessons for two years at the Jazz Institut in Berlin with Mario Würzebesser, had my first experiences of theater and stage presence (under Kristin Gutenberg), attended even more unforgettable concerts, cultivated as many friendships, continued to deepen my love for film and the performing arts (I recommend any visitor not to miss the Babylon Cinema, where I was so happy), and was on stage for longer than I can remember.
But, sooner or later, the South always ends up calling all its children. With a priceless baggage behind me, many friends I had met along the way, and in the middle of the pandemic, I decided to return to Seville at the age of 27, not really knowing what to do, but with the conviction that, like at home, you are nowhere like at home.
Shortly after returning to my city, I undertook what is my last project to date, something that I owed to myself and that I had not been able to seriously consider due to lack of time, conviction and energy: my acting training. Without any professional ambition and with the sole intention of expanding my stage tools and investigating new forms of artistic expression, I began my training as an actor at the Laboratorio de Interpretación and La Colmena in Seville, under the guidance of teachers such as Consuelo Barrera, Andrea Haro, Javier Centeno, Joserra Leza, María Martínez... And currently I am very fortunate to have the guidance and advice of Vicente Fuentes.
And to this day.
Of course, I cannot end this section without mentioning other great masters who marked my life in a special way: Luca Chiantore, Eberhardt Feltz, Claudio Martínez Mehner, Daniel Barenboim, Ferenc Rados, Menahem Pressler, Nelson Goerner, Stephen Kovacevich, ...
What do I do?
I do a lot of things, some better than others.
Here is a list (incomplete but representative) of my many concerns, and a summary of my professional activity to date:
Oddly enough, handicrafts were never my forte, and even less so when it came to painting, but I did know how to do something useful in this life with my hands: play the piano. I started when I was 7 years old, not too much and not too little for what it is usual, and with the guidance of my mother, María Floristan, I went up steps. From a very young age it was clear to us that stage experience is the most important thing for a musician, so I took every opportunity to showcase myself in public and learn new repertoires. From there came my love for chamber music from a very young age, which has never left me, having formed a trio with Miguel Colom and Fernando Arias (the "Trio VibrArt"). I have also played with musicians such as the Casals Quartet, Andrei Ionita, Pablo Barragán, Pablo Ferrández, Kian Soltani, Dietrich Henschel, Jonian Ilias Kadesha...
My orchestral activity also began at a very young age, playing Mozart's Concerto 12 with my father Juan Luis Pérez at the baton. Since then, I have played with orchestras such as the RTVE Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Spain, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Jerusalem Camerata, the National Radio Orchestra of Poland, the Monterey Symphony Orchestra (USA), the Malmö Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Symphony Orchestra of Seville, the Orchestra of Barcelona, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Gran Canaria, the Symphony Orchestra of Castilla y León... And with conductors such as Lahav Shani, Jesús López Cobos, Juanjo Mena, Pablo González, Ben Gernon, Marc Soustrot, Leopold Hager, Lorenzo Viotti...
I have also conducted Beethoven and Mozart concertos from the piano.
As for the halls in which I have had the privilege of playing, I cannot forget the Royal Albert Hall (with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra at the Proms Festival), Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Herkulessaal in Munich, the Charles Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv, the Tonhalle in Zürich, the Philharmonic Orchestra of St. Petersburg, the Béla Bartók Hall in Budapest, the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, Schloss Elmau, the Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, the Palau de la Música in Barcelona, l'Auditori de Barcelona...
Probably the biggest milestones of my professional life have been winning in 2015 the International Piano Competition "Paloma O'Shea" in Santander and in 2021 the International Piano Competition "Arthur Rubinstein" in Tel Aviv. In both I also won the public prize, and to all this must be added the Gold Medal of the City of Seville and the First Prize at the Steinway Competition in Berlin in 2015. But I never forget the saying that goes "Wearing a prize doesn't depend on you. Deserving it does."
Since 2020 I am also a piano teacher at the Barenboim Foundation in Seville, and since 2021 I am a teacher of Rhythm Applied to Performance at the acting school "La Colmena" in Seville.
In addition, since 2021 I am also an Official Yamaha Artist.
Changing the subject, cinema has always been my great passion, although I don't know whether to put it here, because I don't do "filmmaking" (although I study it on my own: the only thing in which I am self-taught). But here it is written, in case someday it happens. In the meantime, I write screenplays, theater plays, stories to keep me awake at night... Let's call it for now a "hobby" that I love.
And speaking of writing, I also write a section for La Ventana de La Ser with Carles Francino. The section is called "Tócala otra vez, Juan", same title as... my YouTube channel. I'm reluctant to mention it, because running a YouTube channel requires time and a lot of energy, which I don't have in abundance, so let's just say that from time to time I post videos in which I talk about a little bit of everything (and a lot of music).
When I was a child I loved card tricks and origami. Today I can't even play mus or fold a napkin correctly.
What do I think?
Being and doing are not the same as thinking, so here are some reflections that assail me from time to time:
-Legacy is not enjoyed. You only enjoy what happens to you during your lifetime.
-Social networks exist. To deny them is to deny the 21st century. To play the game of the algorithm that governs them is to accept them uncritically; but to use them against the algorithm is to go against the current. The Artist tries to move between these two positions.
-Text is always open to new possibilities and horizons. The composer never finishes the perfection of a work, he simply edits and publishes it. Editing and publishing is not the same as finishing. The performer is only confronted with unfinished works, which not even he himself can complete: only the audience, in the live concert, completes them (for a single instant).
-Not every artistic performance has to be recorded and/or broadcast in streaming. Perhaps most of them should not even leave the four walls of the auditorium and the memory of the audience.
-The interpreter is not a walking museum.
-Art is not born in a neutral vacuum. Artistic expression is marked by its time, its geographical location and its society. The performing arts are both the place where a society puts into play its values and beliefs, and the mirror where it sees those same values and beliefs reflected. There is no such thing as an uncritical performing art.
-Art is the most human expression that exists. Art is politics.
-To claim that classical music is universal is to deny its specificity, that is, to deny that it is music composed mostly by white Western men between the seventeenth and part of the twentieth centuries, and for very specific instrumental ensembles. However, no one denies that it is an artistic production of incalculable value and that it must be preserved at all costs.
-The hyperspecialization and compartmentalization of the arts should not be an indisputable dogma. The complete (or at least multidisciplinary) artist is a figure that could return sooner rather than later.
The so-called "musical genres" (classical music, pop, rock, jazz, folk, world music...) say more about the ideology and the socioeconomic structure in which that music is framed than about the music itself and its characteristics. The concept of "musical genre", although tremendously practical, is anything but a musical concept.
-Never stop asking the same question over and over again: what is an artist good for?