Mabel Millan, classical guitar master

The young guitarist and soloist from Cordoba, Mabel Millán, considered internationally as one of the best classical guitarists, has an excellent career and musical education. She studied at Conservatorio Superior in the Balearic Islands with renowned teachers such as Pedro Mateo, María Esther Guzmán or Gerardo Arriaga.

At fifteen, she debuted as a soloist. Since then, she has played on famous stages like Palau of Catalonian Music, the National Theatre of Oslo or the London Guitar Festival among others. Moreover, she received the prestigious scholarship from David Russell Foundation and gave master lessons in different International Festivals. She shared the stage together with her pianist sister, Celia, leading to the Millán duo.

Throughout her artistic trajectory she has received many awards, among which it stands out the Latin Grammy for Best Classical Contemporary Composition thanks to Sonata del Decamerón Negro, composed by the Cuban master Leo Brouwer and included in her fist album Gran Recital (2017).

She combined her musical career with her law studies, graduating in 2015 and later passing the judiciary public examination. Nowadays, she is a public prosecutor and has just released her second album, The Devil´s Caprice.

Why did you decide to learn how to play classical guitar instead of another instrument? What is classical music for you? Why did you study classical music instead of a different music genre?

It is the instrument that always accompanied the songs I used to listen to every day when I was a child, in every music genre. Then the fundamental reason for my interest in the guitar was born.

What is… for me, classical music is part of my life, it runs through lots of aspects, there are plays associated with memories, without forgetting the importance it has in films, commercials, trains, planes…

I studied classical music because it was an option. To start learning classical guitar I had to gain access to the conservatory, and there you are taught in classical music.

Who are the musical idols you identify with artistically?

I have many idols, for example David Russell among others. I also have models in pop music, like Laura Pausini. All my idols have worked on their careers and have made a place for themselves in this world.

What can we find in The Devil´s Caprice? Which are the apparent similarities and the differences between your new work and Gran Recital?

In my second album we find more famous music for all kinds of public. Grand Recital includes more contemporary plays but The Devil´s Caprice is the opposite.

Along with your sister, Celia, you have created a musical duo composed of guitar and piano. Will we enjoy both in this new album?

This second album is also a solo work, for the moment I haven’t recorded any CD with Celia, but I anticipate that this will be my next project.

Of all your concerts and performances, do you have a special affection for any of them in particular or do you remember it specifically?

All of them have something special, I could highlight those in Baku, Azerbaijan, and Bogotá. Representing the Embassy of your country makes you lunch with local authorities, meet ambassadors, share lunches with them, I lived moments that made me feel so lucky.

But I will never forget guitar festivals and fans that sent me texts, words or details that have been the best reward for my work.

After all these years of studies and experiences, which advice from masters and musicians do you currently keep in your artistic career?

No matter the difficulties you have along the way, you have to carry on and fight for your dreams. No matter how tired and difficult the moment or the situation may seem, you have to gather strength to carry on. Determination is always important.

Was it difficult to combine your law studies with your artistic job? Do you think it is possible to make a living from music? What is your opinion about the current musical stage?

They were very hard years. I always say that I gave up my social life in favour of the profesional one, but now I am very happy and I have the best reward I can ever have for my work and effort of all these years.

You could make a living from music, whenever you work as a teacher of it. I opted for another means, without giving up my soloist facet or letting up transmitting my technique through conferences and masterclasses, although I do it now in a selecter form.

Nowadays, classical music is one of the sectors more affected by the current pandemic. We are talking about concerts that previously didn’t have a buoyant situation, financed by institutions and depending on aids in many cases. Now everything has become even more complicated.

Cultural industry is one of the most injured sectors because of Covid-19, despite restrictions. Will it be possible to see you on stage this year?

All my concerts are undated, waiting for the pandemic development. By now, I have just released my second album and I have hope and illusion that the public will embrace it with the same affection with which I have recorded it.

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