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Cristóbal Halffter

  • Cristóbal Halffter © Javi Martínez / EL MUNDO

    Cristóbal Halffter © Javi Martínez / EL MUNDO



Music, Opera



Date of birth

Mar 24, 1930

Date of death

May 23, 2021

"Avant-garde composer and conductor. He belongs to a family of musicians and is a member of the movement known as the 'Musical Generation of 51'."

He was born in Madrid in 1930, and studied at the Madrid Conservatory with Conrado del Campo. He began his career as a composer in the scholastic tradition, from an academic criterion. His avant-garde inclinations steered him toward electric-acoustic techniques. He conducted the Manuel de Falla Orchestra between 1955 and 1963, and in 1969 he moved to the National Orchestra where he gave the first performance of his cantata 'Yes speak out, yes', commissioned by the UN. He has conducted internationally prestigious orchestras in Berlin, France, London and in Spain, among others. In 1983 he was elected member of the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts. After having assimilated serial music, he has evolved towards other more personal forms of musical composition. He died in Villafranca del Bierzo (Leon) in 2021.


Gold Medal for Fine Arts (1981)
National Music Award (1989)
Guerrero Foundation Music Prize (1994)
Madrid Region Culture Award (1997)

Essential works

  • 'Don Quixote' © EFE

    Don Quixote

    The composer Cristóbal Halffter wrote his first opera when he was nearly 70 years old, so it is a completely mature musical piece.

    More info
  • Strange Voyage. Photo courtesy of the Spanish Film Archive

    Strange Voyage (music)

    A black comedy, praised by critics, notable for its daring nature and fine interpretations. 

    More info

Other highlighted works

  • Yes speak out, yes
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