Pablo Balaguer (Alfarp, 1995) is one of the recipients of our grant to study at the Reina Sofia School of Music, specifically the faculty-led oboe course. In 2023 he was singled out as the top student of his course, receiving a diploma to that effect last June presented to him by Her Majesty Queen Sofia at the graduation ceremony for the 2022-2023 academic year.
We had a chance to speak with him to find out more about his personal background and how he has benefited from this grant, which we at the Banco Sabadell Foundation have promoted since 2017 in order to foster talent, reward excellence and recognise hard work.
Please tell us a little bit about your relationship with music and your experience with it. Why did you decide to study music and what attracted you specifically to the oboe?
I was raised in a small town in Valencia. All towns in that region have a strong musical tradition and they generally have their own local bands, so it’s something that you get into almost without realising it, because it’s something that many of your friends and acquaintances do as well. I was drawn to the oboe because of its dark sound and expressiveness, as well as its melodic depth. The very first time I heard it I knew it was a special instrument.
How would you describe your time at the Reina Sofia School of Music?
It was wonderful. In my mind I think of it as two stages. The first stage was one of adaptation and discipline, so that I could deliver what my new professors required of me and where I developed a solid technique with the instrument, while in the second stage I focused more on artistic development, with the activities organised by the School and the position I secured with the symphonic orchestra.
And on a more personal note, what are you taking away from the experience?
It has been a three-year journey during which I have been able to meet many colleagues from various nationalities and develop close and long-lasting friendships. It was also great to be with young people who are so professional and have such promising futures ahead of them; I learned a lot from them either by playing music with them or by listening to them play. Madrid is a city that I have fallen in love with and where I will be staying, for now at least, because of the job opportunities and because I like living here. I have also been lucky enough to travel to different countries in Europe thanks to music, and the memories and anecdotes from those experiences will stay with me forever. Coming to Madrid to study at the School has been really worthwhile.
What has it meant for you to receive the Banco Sabadell Foundation grant?
I have been so lucky to receive the grant from the Banco Sabadell Foundation. It has given me access to first-class education, with the best professors who, in many cases, travel from other countries to come here and teach us. I am very grateful to the Banco Sabadell Foundation for its support.
And how does it feel to be recognised as the top student from the course?
I think it is a really lovely way to recognise the work I’ve put in over the year and it’s a very special memory both for myself and also for family, who came to the ceremony to see Her Majesty Queen Sofia present me with the diploma. I also think that all of my fellow students on the faculty-led course worked really hard and were equally deserving of that recognition, which is why it really means a lot to me.
Where do you see yourself in the future? What is your biggest ambition?
That is quite a difficult question to answer, because we never know what will happen. I see myself making a living doing what I love, which is music, I guess playing the oboe at an orchestra like I’m doing now in several professional orchestras in Madrid, but without knowing specifically what the future holds beyond the next few years. For me personally, my ambition is to achieve a balance between my professional life and my personal life, where I have time for my family and friends, to do sports and to enjoy nature, which is something I love. I think having that balance will be very important for my happiness in the future.