Federico Ramos

Bass Trombone

Hometown: Alhama de Granada, Spain

Alma maters: Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Academia de Estudios Orquestales Barenboim-Said, Conservatorio Superior de Música de Granada, Escuela de Música de Alhama de Granada

Photos by Matt Dine and Jito Lee


Awards/Competitions: 1st Prize, 2013 Chicago Brass Festival Solo Competition; Honorable Mention, 2012 International Trombone Association; Edward Kleinhammer Orchestral Bass Trombone Competition

Appearances: Chicago Symphony Orchestra, substitute; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, extra bass trombone; Scottish Chamber Orchestra; Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla, substitute; Orquesta Ciudad de Granada; Orquesta Sinfónica Sinaloa de las Artes; Joven Orquesta Nacional de España

Musical origins: Although I have been involved with music since I was born, I started playing trombone when I was 17. I loved the way the instrument looked and I thought it was very elegant.

Favorite composer fact: Shostakovich was a perfectionist not only in music, but in his personal life; according to his daughter he was “obsessed with cleanliness.” He synchronized the clocks in his apartment, and he regularly sent cards to himself to test how well the postal service was working.

Favorite musical memory: Listening to my grandfather practicing is my favorite musical memory. Even though he was not making a living playing music, he practiced a lot!

Which composer would have had the best social media: Rossini

Favorite fact about your instrument: I love the fact that the bass trombone is very versatile. Most of the time our job is to be the bridge between the trombone section and the tuba; but sometimes we have to act as a tuba, the third tenor trombone, or even the fifth french horn!

Favorite non-classical musician: I love the Spanish guitar genius Paco de Lucía; he could scratch your soul with a single note of his guitar.

Musical guilty pleasure: Despite playing trombone, I started on the guitar and soon after I moved to electric bass. I love to play some bass with my childhood friends or with my brother during my summers in Spain.

Best album to have on repeat: Paco de Lucía, En vivo desde el Teatro Real

What recording would you take to a deserted island: A recording with precise instructions of how to make boats or how to get off of deserted islands

Proudest accomplishment: Although I have been really lucky to play with wonderful people and orchestras, subbing with the Chicago Symphony was a dream come true—especially after being a student in Chicago for three years. Playing with my musical heroes and teachers has been my greatest musical experience so far.

Favorite non-musical hobby or activity: I love running. Cooking is also a passion of mine, especially when I can learn from great cooks such as my mom.

Last book read: For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

Favorite painting: The Scream by Edvard Munch

Piece of advice for a young classical musician: Be curious! Curiosity has been a great tool for me and still is.