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The Gaita and Orchestra Commissioning Project

The Gaita and Orchestra Commissioning Project

The GAITA (Galician Bagpipe) doesn't have YET a broad repertory for Gaita and Orchestra. My challenge: new commissions to make history.


May 12, 2016New Video for the Project!

Posted by: Cristina Pato

And premiere of Octavio Vazquez in Galicia!!! 




Posted by: Octavio Vazquez

Hello everyone! A little over a year ago, Cristina Pato and the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra conducted by maestro Andrew Grams premiered Elas, the 3rd movement of my Galician Bagpipe Concerto, in Detroit. The piece was very well received and went on to air on PBS nationally (check out the video!)

This coming June, Cristina will premiere the whole concerto, Widows of the Living and of the Dead, with the Galicia Royal Philharmonic in Santiago de Compostela, Vigo, and Ourense (Galicia, Spain) – More info coming soon!

October 1, 2015: US Premiere

Posted by: Emilio Solla

Hi everybody! Just realized we had not updated (this crazy non-stop NY artist life!) about the US Premiere of Galician Voyage, our Concerto for Bagpipe, Piano and Orchestra, which took place last February at the Chicago Symphony Hall by the great Chicago Sinfonietta, brilliantly conducted by Maestro Mei-Ann Chen. 

It was a pleasure and honor to be able to assist, and we look forward to more concerts in the US with this so special piece. 

February 2, 2015: Octavio Vazquez’s “Elas” World Premiere in Detroit

Posted by: Cristina Pato

Yesterday February 2nd, “Elas“, the Third Movement of Octavio Vazquez’s concerto Widows of the Living and of the Dead, was premiered in Detroit with the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra.

You can watch a video of the performance at the link below (starting at 38’30”):

Part 2 – 18th Annual Sphinx Finals Competition Concert


December 9, 2014: Interview for TV3

Posted by: Cristina Pato

Here’s a short video with the interview for catalonian channel TV3, on occassion of the concerts in Barcelona with the Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès.

November 28, 2014: Pictures from the Concert at the Palau de la Musica

Posted by: Cristina Pato

Just a quick follow up to the last update, here’s a little collage with pictures and press coverage from the concert at the Palau de la Música in Barcelona. 

You can see more at my website here.

November 26, 2014: Video Update from the Premiere at The Palau de la Música Catalana

Posted by: Cristina Pato

Here’s a quick video Emilio Solla and I recorded just before the world premiere of his Concert for Pato and Orchestra at the storied Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, with the Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès.

October 1, 2014: Octavio Váquez Concerto and a little teaser from Emilio Solla

Posted by: Cristina Pato

Octavio Vázquez, one of the composers crazy enough to accept my challenge, has already finished most of the movements of his concerto for gaita and orchestra. Here are a few words from Octavio, describing the project:

The Gaita (Galician Bagpipe) is the national instrument of my homeland, Galicia, in Northwestern Spain. Fostered by a long tradition of male pipers, it has been a woman-piper, Cristina Pato, who has finally brought the instrument to international attention. Dr. Pato is a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, has had pieces written for her by composers such as Olvaldo Golijov and Emilio Solla, and has taken the Gaita into the hitherto unexplored territories of Jazz and Brazilian Bossa. I have collaborated with her for more than a decade in different projects, and I am subsequently very familiar with her playing style, unique technical abilities, and of course all aspects pertaining the instrument itself. The proposed composition is a Gaita and Orchestra concerto, lasting approximately 15 minutes, that will become part of Cristina’s orchestral repertoire. It will be deeply rooted in the rich Galician music tradition, while exploring the many expressive, chromatic, and alternative-tuning possibilities of the Gaita. It will particularly connect with the traditional role of women in Galician society, a role that, often as a result of very harsh historical circumstances, has not been second to that of men. Galician history abounds with examples of woman leaders, even when it comes to politics and warfare. But more dramatically, women have often taken upon themselves to provide for entire families in a pre-industrial environment: from running farms to building gravel roads with pickaxes. These were the “widows of the living and of the dead”, resulting from the massive emigration suffered during most of the 19th and 20th centuries.

So we are now looking forward to premiere Vazquez’s piece next Spring, since Solla’s world premiere is happening in NOVEMBER!! And as a little teaser, here are the first pages of the A Galician Voyage: Concerto for Bagpipes, Piano & Orchestra music sheet.

July 9, 2014: A Galician Voyage: Concerto for Bagpipes, Piano & Orchestra Premiere Dates

Posted by: Cristina Pato

The writing of the new concerts for gaita and orchestra is well underway. So much so, that in fact, Emilio Solla’s A Galician Voyage: Concerto for Bagpipes, Piano & Orchestra is already scheduled to be premiered this fall in Barcelona with the Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès, and next year in Chicago, with the Chicago Sinfonietta.

Below you can find more information regarding both events:

Barcelona (November, 2014):

Chicago (May, 2015:

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My name is Cristina Pato and I am a world music bagpiper and classical pianist who feels like home in jazz, in classical and contemporary music...a migrant bagpiper! 

I love the gaita, my Galician bagpipe, not just because of the beautiful and heart rending music that it makes for me, but because of the musical history that it represents. Bagpipes have travelled throughout history, culture and time taking a different shape, color and sound in every region where it has come to settle.   Although the precise origins of the bagpipes are unclear, they were likely used, at first, as a shepherd instrument in the Mediterranean, and then spreading northward to the Celtic lands, south to the Romans and east to the Persians.  


The Gaita doesn't have yet a big repertory for Gaita and Orchestra and in the last years in the US I have already had many offers from orchestras to do something, so I have decided to start a round of commissions in order to create a repertory that would  combine my two passions: world music and classical music and my expertise in both fields...

 The composers I have chosen to do so are: Octavio Vazquez, Emilio Solla and David Bruce....in a period of 2 years I will, hopefully, have three new and contrasting pieces to record and tour. Although I am already touring one of them next year! 


Cristina Pato 

Hailed by The New York Times as “a virtuosic burst of energy”  and by The Wall Street Journal as “one of the living masters of the gaita” Galician bagpiper, pianist and composer Cristina Pato enjoys an active professional career devoted to Galician popular and classical music and jazz, and her dual careers have led to performances on major stages throughout Europe, USA, India, Africa and China.

Cristina Pato was the first female Gaita (Galician bagpipe) player to release a solo album (1999) and has since collaborated on world stages with Yo-Yo Ma, Arturo O’Farril, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Osvaldo Golijov, World Orchestra and Paquito D’Rivera.

A pop star of the gaita in her native Spain, she moved to New York to attain her Doctorate and push her career in an entirely different direction. Cristina has combined her love of the gaita with an extraordinary blend of jazz and Latin sounds and her touring life includes a passionate commitment to education and cultural exchange.

Pato is a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble and a founding member of its Leadership Council, collaborating closely in tours and planning residencies, including the multi-year partnership between The Silk Road Project and Harvard University.

Cristina Pato holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Collaborative Piano from Rutgers University, where she studied with a fellowship from Fundacion Barrie de la Maza. She is the founder and artistic director of Galician Connection, a world music forum celebrated annually in Galicia.


Project-related Media

Who I am and what I do...and meet Emilio Solla

This is a video of my last album in which composer Emilio Solla and I worked together as producer and composer. His unique language combining Latin jazz, tango, roots and classical music has always inspired and invigorated me. This video will also give you a better idea of what I do, which sometimes is difficult to explain :-)

David Bruce and The Silk Road Project

On my other life I also play bagpipes in the amazing Silk Road Ensemble...and that work with them made me discover the music of David Bruce. The music you hear on this video and this album was actually the first time David and I worked together and I knew, from that moment, that a piece written by him for my instrument would make history...let's hope I can commission it!!!

Octavio Vazquez, piano and Galician roots

This is a video of the other me, the pianist, premiering a piece by the amazing Galician composer Octavio Vazquez. The music of Octavio Vazquez transports me to Galicia but also to our common education as classical musicians. Having a Galician composer on a list of commissions for the national instrument of Galicia it is almost essential, and Octavio Vazquez has proven to be THE Galician composer!!!

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Project Details

Start and End Date

09/25/2014 - 07/26/2015


Worldwide, New York

Updates (9 RECENT)

Last Updated May 12, 2016

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Project Created By

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Cristina Pato

New York, New York

Cristina Pato  Hailed by The New York Times as “a virtuosic burst of energy”  and by The Wall Street Journal as “one of the living masters of the gaita” Galician bagpiper, pianist and composer Cristina Pato enjoys an active professional career devoted to Galician popular and classical music and jazz, and her dual careers have led to performances on...


David Bruce

Role: Composer 1 piece

Emilio Solla

Brooklyn, New York

Role: Composer 1 piece

Octavio Vazquez

New York, New York

Role: Composer 1 piece

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