Francisco “Pacho” Flores, principal trumpet of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and founding member of the Simón Bolívar Brass Quintet, has been achieving worldwide recognition as a soloist, captivating audiences with his energy and the bell-like beauty of his tone. His playing integrates jazz and Latin American influences with his classical training. “Music is music,” he has said, “whether it comes from South America or Europe. In my view, Venezuelan popular music is no less serious than classical music.”
Born in 1981 in San Cristóbal, Venezuela, Pacho was eight when he began studying with his father, Francisco Flores Díaz, a trumpeter and band director who told him: “Pachito, you have good lips. You will be a trumpeter.” A product of Venezuela’s groundbreaking system of youth and children’s orchestras (El Sistema), he later studied with Orlando Paredes at the Escuela de Música Miguel Ángel Espinel, Eduardo Manzanilla at the Instituto Universitario de Estudios Musicales in Caracas and with Eric Aubier in Paris, where in 2005 he earned a conservatory diploma with a unanimously awarded Prix de Virtuosité. He has won no fewer than four international competitions, including, in 2006 in Paris, the most prestigious of all: the Maurice André Competition.
As a soloist, Flores has appeared with orchestras in France, Russia, Ukraine and Japan, as well as with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra. In recital, he has performed at such venues as Carnegie Hall in New York, the Salle Pleyel in Paris and the Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall. With the Simón Bolívar Brass Quintet, he has toured extensively in Europe, South America, the US and Japan. In addition to his post in the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, he has played first trumpet in the Saito Kinen and Miami Symphony orchestras, and has performed under the baton of such distinguished conductors as Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle, Seiji Ozawa, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and Gustavo Dudamel.
A founding director of the Latin American Trumpet Academy in Caracas, Flores mentors budding musicians and he is a frequent guest at conservatories in Finland, Spain, France, Japan and Latin America. As an avid champion of new music and the impetus for important innovations to trumpet performance and fabrication, he has premiered works by composers such as Roger Boutry, Efraín Oscher, Sergio Bernal, Giancarlo Castro and Santiago Báez. Flores performs on instruments tailored for him by the renowned Spanish maker Stomvi.
In 2012 Francisco “Pacho” Flores became an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist. He appears on the summer 2013 release, “Adiemus Colores”, an album of new Latin American-influenced compositions by Karl Jenkins. On his first solo recording, “Cantar” (Sing), planned for international release in 2014 (with a 2013 pre-release in Japan), he performs on nine instruments in different keys from his large collection, choosing the ideal one for each work in a largely Baroque programme – it also contains a new work, Soledad, composed for Flores by Efraín Oscher – that showcases the exceptional range and beauty of his tone and phrasing. Pacho says: “None of the works is originally for trumpet. All are for other instruments: violin, oboe, guitar, piano, organ, soprano or contralto. Each piece is recorded with a different trumpet that gives a distinct nuance, a different colour.”