“Imagine a bagpiper playing with the passion and emotion of John Coltrane on sax and you’ve got this incredible band and its leader in focus. This concert was nothing short of a revelation.”
“She played some fluid piano, but mainly performed on her primary instrument, the Galician bagpipes. An excellent improviser whose musicality explodes with energy and fire, Pato commanded the stage and roused the audience to a rapturous and rowdy ovation”
New York Classical Review
“Cristina Pato enlivened the drama, or unreasonable facsimile thereof, with small talk, sexy choreography and otherworldly solos on Galician bagpipes.”
The Financial Times
“Even in an age when the mainstream is full of all kinds of esoterica, Cristina Pato has a particularly individualistic choice of axe: the Galician bagpipe. Her sound is wild, feral yet virtuosic and breathtakingly fast.”
Musician, writer, educator and producer, Cristina Pato has been hailed as “a virtuosic burst of energy” by The New York Times. Her professional career is focused on exploring the role of the arts in society through teaching and producing. Cristina has served as artist-in-residence at New York University (NYU), Harvard University, and the University of California, Santa Barbara. Apart from collaborating for over fifteen years with Silkroad, the non-profit organization founded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Since 2017, Cristina writes a weekly column titled “The Art of Restlessness” for Spanish newspaper La Voz de Galicia for which she was awarded the XVII Afundación Journalism Prize: Fernández del Riego. Cristina divides her time between New York City and Galicia and shares her life with photographer Xan Padrón.
During her professional career as a musician, Cristina Pato has published six gaita recordings and two as a pianist. She has also collaborated as a guest artist on various albums, including the Grammy Award winners Yo-Yo Ma and Friends: Songs of Joy and Peace (SONY BMG 2008) and Sing me Home: Yo-Yo Ma & Silk Road Ensemble (SONY Masterworks, 2016), the jazz album (Miles Davis tribute) Miles Español: New Sketches of Spain (Entertainment One Music, 2011), and the documentary film The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble (HBO, 2015), directed by Morgan Neville.
Since 1999, her musical and cultural interests lead her to collaborate with world music, jazz, classical and experimental artists, including her mentor Yo-Yo Ma, Chicago Symphony and New York Philharmonic, Osvaldo Golijov, Arturo O’Farrill, and dancers Damian Woetzel and Lil’ Buck. Cristina’s unique and powerful style has been acclaimed in numerous occasions by The New York Times and praised by The Wall Street Journal and Downbeat Magazine.
During her prolific career as a performer, she led the Cristina Pato QUARTET (USA), the Cristina Pato GALICIAN TRIO (Europe), and co-created the SOAS Duet (with singer Rosa Cedrón) and the Invisible(s) Project (with Mazz Swift). Apart from commissioning more than a dozen works for Galician bagpipe and different ensembles, including the concerto for Gaita and orchestra “Widows of the Living and of the Dead” composed by Octavio Vázquez and recorded by Real Filharmonía de Galicia in 2018 (Odradek Records, 2021).
Cristina has collaborated with Silkroad, the organization founded by Yo-Yo Ma, since 2006. With the Silkroad Ensemble (2006-2020) she has toured China, Korea, Australia, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Europe and the USA, performing in iconic stages such as Carnegie Hall, Hollywood Bowl or China’s National Center for the Performing Arts. With Silkroad she has also served as Learning Advisor (2014-2019) collaborating closely in planning residencies and learning activities, including the multi-year partnership with Harvard University, serving also as faculty member for The Arts and Passion-Driven Learning Summer Institute for artists and educators, designed in collaboration with the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
In her career as an educator, Cristina has developed her own path to use the arts as a collaborative bridge between the humanities and the sciences in academic institutions. Since 2012 she has worked with different universities developing collaborative projects between departments and disciplines. In 2016 she began an on-going collaboration with University of California, Santa Barbara as the Arnhold Distinguished Artist in Residence with her pilot class: “Memory: An Interdisciplinary Exploration” co-created and co-taught by Cristina Pato, and professors Kenneth S. Kosik (Neuroscience), Kim Yasuda (Spatial Art) and Mary Hancock (Anthropology). In 2017 she served as Blodgett Distinguished Artist in Residence at Harvard University (with Kay Shelemay and Michael Uy at the Department of Music) and in 2019 she was appointed Chair of Spanish Culture and Civilization at the King Juan Carlos I Center at New York University (NYU). In 2021 Cristina collaborated with Dr. Lisa Wong at Harvard’s Mind Brain Behavior Interfaculty Initiative, co-creating and co-teaching a seminar named “Creativity at the Edge: Health, Music and Community”
As a writer and columnist, in 2015 she began her press collaborations writing a biweekly column for El Correo Gallego, and since 2017 Cristina writes a popular weekly column for Spanish newspaper La Voz de Galicia titled “The Art of Restlessness”for which she was awarded the XVII Afundación Journalism Prize: Fernández del Riego. In 2022 she published her first novel “No día do seu enterro” (“On the Day of His Funeral”) with Editorial Galaxia (Colección Literaria, 2022).
As an independent producer, Cristina specializes in events and projects developed at the intersection between art and society, including the ESENCIAIS 20/50 initiative (in collaboration with CUNDE and Xaime Fandiño), The Galician Connection Festival, and two days of culture in action for Yo-Yo Ma’s global Bach Project.
During her career Cristina has received numerous awards, including the Committed Artist Award granted by the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation, the Castelao Medal (the greatest honor presented by the Galician Government), the Premio Trasalba and the Galician Culture Award. She serves on a number of advisory boards including Americans for the Arts’ Artists’ Committee and the Consello da Cultura de Galicia.