Ernest Martínez Izquierdo was born in Barcelona in 1962. He is the Honorary Director of the Navarre Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Barcelona 216 ensemble. In 1985, after studying in Barcelona and Paris, he founded the Barcelona 216 ensemble. Specialising in the performance of the contemporary chamber music repertoire he and the ensemble have appeared at many major international festivals.
In 1988, he was appointed Assistant Director of the Spanish National Orchestra and, the following year, Pierre Boulez invited him to become assistant director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain. From 1997 to 2013, he was the Musical Director of the Navarre Symphony Orchestra and, from 2002 to 2006, the Musical Director of the Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra and then, until 2009, its principal guest conductor. At the same time, he conducts some of Spain’s most renowned ensembles as well as the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Kyōto Symphony Orchestra, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Norway’s Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestre National de Lyon, The Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, the Gulbenkian Orchestra, the Porto Sinfónica, the Sinfónica Municipal of São Paulo, the Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra, Montreal’s Ensemble Contemporain, Frankfurt’s Ensemble Modern, the Trondheim Sinfonietta, the Vienna Klangforum and the Helsinki chamber orchestra Avanti!
He conducted the Peter Sellars production of Kaija Saariaho’s Adriana Mater in Helsinki and Santa Fe, Emilio Sagi's production of The Marriage of Figaro, Carmina burana (La Fura dels Baus), Robert Lepage production's of Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour de loin at the Quebec Opera in Canada and Jorge Lavelli's production of Martin Matalon’s L’Ombre de Venceslao in Rennes, Avignon and Marseille. He has made recordings for several record labels including Deutsche Grammophon, Telarc, Harmonia mundi, Col Legno, Ircam, Stradivarius and Naxos. He has received numerous prizes, including the Ojo Crítico (1995), awarded by Spanish National Radio’s SNE Classica, the Roland Prize for Catalonian Classical Music Journalism (2000), the Latin Grammy Award (2006) and the Diapason d’Or (2012). He has been a member of the Reial Acadèmia Catalana de Belles Arts de Sant Jordi since 2006.
Ernest Martínez Izquierdo is making his Paris Opera debut.