Appearances: Dalí Quartet International Music Festival, Summer 2015, Philadelphia; Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio, Summer 2016, San Antonio; Classical Music Institute, Summer 2017, San Antonio; CMI Chamber Orchestra Winter Concert, February 2020; San Antonio; Classical Music Institute, Summer 2021, San Antonio
What is your earliest memory of classical music? I’m not sure, but probably in Looney Tunes or other cartoons. My mom told me that when I was in her womb, she would listen to a lot of classical music. I guess I’ve been hearing it since before I was born!
When did you realize you wanted to pursue music as a career? It was when I was about 13 years old. A musician friend had recently invited me to a music program inspired by El Sistema, and from the very first day I loved the experience of it. That first day we didn’t even have our own instruments, but I just liked the idea of a group of people playing music.
How did you hear about TŌN? What inspired you to apply? I’ve been hearing about TŌN ever since the very beginning of my undergrad studies at the Bard Conservatory. Over the years, I met some of the TŌN bass players and the other TŌNers as well.
I applied because I want to be a professional orchestra musician. For the last 11 years I’ve been playing orchestra music, and I just want to improve and get better. I’m also interested in how music can be vehicle to connect and draw in the audience members. Music making should not be its own thing, but it should be involved in all aspects of our personal lives.
What do you think orchestra concerts should look like in the 21st Century? Orchestra concerts should become more and more accessible. The wall between the audience members and the musicians should continue to be dissolved. I think the element of musical education should be incorporated into the concerts. Besides the program notes, the orchestra members should give a small intro to the music that is being performed and explain why.
Who is your biggest inspiration? My biggest inspiration is my first professor, Pablo Santa Cruz. His encouragement and support still go as far as today after 11 years.
Which composer or genre of music do you feel you connect with the most? Definitely folk music
What is your favorite piece of music, and why do you love it? Johannes Brahms’ String Quartet No. 2. I think the piece embodies a feeling of friendship and care. Brahms wrote this piece for one of his close friends. One of the reasons why I play music is because I get to interact with and meet new people.
What has been your favorite experience as a musician? The fact that I can interact with different people and have personal relationships with them is
Favorite non-classical musician or band: Josh Garrels and Avishai Cohen
If you could play another instrument, what would it be? Definitely the piano!
If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing? Art Curator and Art History Scholar
Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to have dinner with and why? Josh Garrels, Avishai Cohen, and Bjork because their music is very compelling and unique.
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us: Right after my first year of music playing, I was already part of the juvenile symphony orchestra of Puerto Rico. In one of my first concerts, I played Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony, Dvořák’s Cello Concerto, and another small piece. I’m still shocked that I was able to play that music with only one year of playing my instrument.
Piece of advice for a young classical musician: Don’t be afraid and be patient. Just now that there will always be people to help you. If you get isolated, get help and support.
P.S. Don’t compare yourself to other people because we are not all the same. Also, never forget to enjoy your music!