Ignacio Mañá Mesas is a Spanish saxophonist and composer who is currently based in the UK.
He started his musical studies at “Cristóbal Halffter” Intermediate Level Conservatoire in Ponferrada (Spain) in 2006. He has studied saxophone with Arno Bornkamp, Claude Delangle, Vincent David, Christian Wirth, Jean-Denis Michat, Marie-Bernadette Charrier, Andrés Gomis, Fco. Javier Rodríguez, Kyle Horch and Simon Haram.
He made his debut as a soloist in 2009 with the local Wind Band and later on, in 2014, he also played as a soloist with the Youth Orchestra of León (JOL). He took part in different chamber music groups, such as ‘Bierzosax’ saxophone ensemble, ‘Saxmobad’ saxophone quartet or ‘Templario’ saxophone and piano duet (which he founded himself), performing at some remarkable venues in Spain such as the Euskalduna Conference Centre and Concert Hall in Bilbao. He competed successfully in many competitions both as a saxophonist and a composer, winning the First Prize at the National ‘Intercentros Melómano’ Competition in Castilla y León in 2012, as well as the First Prize in the ‘Fac Quod Agis’ Competition in 2014, among others, and he was selected to perform in the Spanish TV musical programme ‘Pizzicato’ in 2013.
In 2015, he passed his LTCL Saxophone Recital Diploma with distinction and finished his musical studies at ‘Cristóbal Halffter’ Conservatoire with honours, obtaining the Extraordinary Prize in Castilla y León with the best mark in his region and receiving a nomination for the National Music Award. He also finished his secondary studies at IES Europa, a high school in Ponferrada, obtaining the Extraordinary Prize for his academic results. During his time at this school, he composed soundtracks, wrote scripts, and played leading roles for different short films coordinated by the teacher Javier Carpintero which received prizes from numerous national and international competitions.
He then received an offer and a scholarship from Chetham’s School of Music (Manchester, UK) to complete his academic and musical studies, where he studied saxophone and composition with Carl Raven and Jeremy Pike, respectively, during two years. At this school, he grew up as a performer and a composer, became very interested in conducting, and was awarded a High Merit in his Grade 8 piano. He offered solo recitals, premiered and conducted his compositions at some very prestigious venues, such as The Bridgewater Hall (Manchester), the Royal College of Music (London), The Arts Club (London) and The Stoller Hall. At the latter, regarded by many as Manchester’s finest new concert hall, he premiered and conducted his cantata ‘Sonetos del Amor Oscuro’ and performed as a soloist Glazunov’s Saxophone Concerto with Chetham’s Wind Band, in June and July 2017, respectively. During his time in Manchester, he performed with very important musicians such as pianist Leslie Howard and conductor Paul Mann, and he also premiered the piece ‘Aperture’ by Gavin Wayte for saxophone and electronics, as part of the New Music North West festival 2016. He was also successful in different competitions, becoming one out of six finalists at The Arts Club Karl Jenkins Classical Music Award 2017, winning the Second Prize at the ENKOR International Music Competition 2017 and being Highly Commended with his piece ‘Black Pictures’ at the BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers’ Competition 2017, Senior Category (17-18 years).
Despite receiving offers and scholarships from very prestigious institutions, such as the Royal College of Music, the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, he decided to read Music at the University of Cambridge, accepting a place at St John’s College. During his first year in Cambridge, he won the First Prize at Cambridge University Musical Society Concerto Competition 2018, and he reached the Semi-Final of the Bromsgrove International Musicians’ Competition. Furthermore, he performed as a soloist at highly-regarded concerts and events, such as the Combination Room Concert and the May Concert in St John’s College, the Madingley Concert at Madingley Hall, the Mary Bevan Recital in Wolfson College, and the Honorary Degree Ceremony 2018. He also performed with St John’s College Choir, with which he will make a recording later on in 2018 which will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. His compositions were performed at different concerts, and his recent work ‘Frozen Landscapes’ was recorded by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.