José Vicente - profile

José Vicente Castelló



When and where was your first concert with the MCO? It was in 2007 in Ludwigshafen, an unforgettable concert with Claudio Abbado playing Brahms Serenade no. 1 and a chamber music concert playing Schubert and Widmann’s Octet.

What’s the best thing about playing with the MCO? It is all about chamber music… that reflects the philosophy and the spirit of the MCO. Even the personal relationships are like chamber music!

What is the best thing about being a musician? You travel, you meet people, you share experiences and you always improve yourself. You make people enjoy and feel music! That makes it the best profession in the world.

If you could play another instrument what would it be? Maybe cello or voice. Who knows?

What would you do if you weren’t a musician? I’m not sure what I could be, but music would always be in my life for sure.


Born in Alicante, Spain, José Vicente Castelló is one of the most prominent horn players of his generation and is currently Horn Professor at the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Germany and the ESMUC in Barcelona, Spain. He is the principal horn of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.

He studied at the Alicante Conservatory of Music and later at the Reina Sofía School of Music in Madrid with Professor Radovan Vlatkovic. It was at the Reina Sofía where he was awarded the most outstanding student by Her Majesty Queen Sofia, in two consecutive years. In parallel with his musical studies, he studied Hispanic philology at the University of Alicante.

José Vicente has received several international awards, including the Baerenreiter Urtext Prize, awarded to him in 2005 at the International Music Competition of the ARD in Munich, and Honorable Mention in 2007 at the International Music Competition Prague Spring.

He was principal horn of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra from 2001-2006 and he currently performs with Orchestra Mozart in Bologna, and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. He considers these three orchestra’s, all founded by Claudio Abbado, influential in his musical and humanistic training.

He also collaborates frequently with and appears as principal in the Galician Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Concertgebouw Orkest Amsterdam, Staatskapelle Berlin, Tonhalle Orchester Zurich, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic and London Philharmonic, and NDR Hamburg. He has played under great conducters, including Mariss Jansons, Pierre Boulez, Daniel Barenboim, Lorin Maazel, Bernard Haitink, Daniele Gatti, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Vladimir Jurowski, Andris Nelsons, Neville Marriner and Sir John Eliot Gardiner. And he has performed as a soloist with the OSRTVE, the Galician Symphony Orchestra, and the Sochi Festival Orchestra.

In the field of chamber music, he regularly performs at important festivals in the United States, China, France, Norway, Germany, Italy and Spain, playing with renowned artists, such as Tabea Zimmermann, Leif Ove Andsnes, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Mitsuko Uchida, Yuri Bashmet, Igor Levit, Kim Kashkashian and members of the Emerson, Guarneri, Casals, Juilliard and Tetzlaff quartets.

Since 2010 he is the Artistic Director of the festival Musics en Residencia in Alella in Barcelona.