Prof. Huáscar Barradas
Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Musician, Professor at the University Institute of Musical Studies (IUDEM), Caracas
DAAD Scholarship 1990–1991
When the Venezuelan flautist Huáscar Barradas gives a concert in Germany, critics go into raptures. They praise his technique, the thrilling interpretation of his play and, above all, his artistic diversity. Barradas is a full-blooded musician, pigeon-hole thinking is completely alien to him, and his interpretational range extends from Bach to the Beatles. He is just as successful as a soloist as he is as an orchestral musician, he plays chamber music and contemporary music alike, is at home with traditional customs just as he is with flamenco, jazz or African music.
My flute and me, me and my flute – we're inseparable.
He himself describes his relationship with his instrument as a kind of love at first note which began as early as at the age of nine. His fascination with the sound of the flute has never left Barradas, who enjoyed a broad and diverse musical training. "My flute and me, me and my flute – we're inseparable," he says. In 1993 – at a time when he had long gained his academic orders – he and other Venezuelan musicians founded a group called Huáscar Barradas and Maracaibo, which has already published several CDs of contemporary Venezuelan folk music. Their music is considered to like experimentation, to be full of life and modern and, nevertheless, to be rooted in the tradition and culture of Barradas' home town: Maracaibo. But as a musician, Barradas is equally at home on the stages of the world: he has played in the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Turkey as well as Colombia, Peru, El Salvador, Aruba and Martinique. Barradas, born in 1964, has a very special relationship with Germany: "Germany is my second fatherland," he says. He was in Germany from September 1989 to November 1994. First of all, he spent six months learning German at the Goethe Institute in Göttingen, then he studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Frankfurt am Main. After his DAAD scholarship, the Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Berufsbildung junger Künstler (Society to promote the professional training of young artists) helped him get solo performances and orchestra concerts throughout the country. "I think I must have played in at least 40 different towns and cities," remembers Barradas.
"I have much to thank my studies in Germany for," he says with conviction. Because despite successful studies in Venezuela and the United States as well as an engagement as a solo flautist with the Symphony Orchestra of Maracaibo, the young musician knew full well that he wanted to deepen and extend his artistic training. Germany, the home of Bach and Beethoven, a country with a great musical tradition, with "the world's best orchestras and the best teachers" was his No. 1 choice. "I wanted to study under one of the 'stars' of Baroque music and historical performance practice, under Michael Schneider," says Barradas. Schneider was, he says, his "great master" from whom he learnt much. Even after his scholarship, he still performed several times in Germany, gave concerts and master classes.
As a professor at the University Institute of Musical Studies in Caracas and a professional musician with over 100 concerts a year, he is a very busy man. Nevertheless, his contact with Germany has never been broken. "I feel absolutely at home there," says Huáscar Barradas.