I began playing cello when I was 11 years old at “El Sistema” program in Venezuela. Since then, my cello has been my life and passion. I am currently studying for my second degree at West Chester University in Music Education. Since a young age, I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of various important orchestras and ensembles in Venezuela. I have participated in various tours, summer festivals, and masterclasses throughout Venezuela, Colombia, Mexica, Aruba, Panama, London, Italy, Puerto Rico, and the United States. Through these tours and masterclasses, I was able to study cello with Yeesum Kim, Mark Churchill, Natalia Gutman, Alisa Weilerstein, William Molina, Phillip Trivott, Jacob Koranyi, and Chris Fiore.
I studied cello performance at University of the Andes in Mérida, Venezuela under Horacio Contreras and belonged to various regional orchestras during my time there. While I lived in Venezuela, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to play masterworks under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel tour with the El Sistema Youth Orchestra.
During the past few years, I have been a part of various community orchestras throughout the East Coast of the United States as well as in Houston, Texas. In Houston, I maintained a studio of over 30 cello students and served as an itinerant cello instructor for the school districts of Katy, Houston, and Spring Branch. Most recently, I am pursuing my second degree at West Chester University in Music Education and study cello under Jesus Morales while building my cello studio in Philadelphia.
When did you begin playing Cello, and why?
I began to play cello when I was 11 years old in Venezuela’s El Sistema program. From a very young age my mom did her best to expose me to classical music and took me to many orchestra concerts.
What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?
In addition to cello I have been working on my piano skills during the past few years. I enjoy playing the piano because it allows me to create harmonies and use various voices at the same time. It has been particularly useful for me as a composition tool when I arrange for small ensembles.
What are your personal goals as a musician?
In terms of performance, my favorite part of playing the cello is making music with others. Because of this, it is my goal to play full time with my quartet using our own arrangements and creating a sound that is unique to us. As a music educator my goal is to lead a high school orchestra as well as have my own private students. It motivates me to be a better musician when I watch my students work hard to succeed in their own musical endeavors. Instructing students in a large ensemble as well as individually gives me the privilege of watching them grow as individual performers, people, and members of something bigger than their individual selves.
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?
My biggest challenge in studying music in the United States was learning the concept of “movable DO”. The music theory training I had received my entire life revolved around the concept of a “fixed DO” – or in other words, that the note “C” is always called “DO”. Learning this new system was intensely difficult for me, especially considering I had to learn it in my second language. Thankfully, I had a professor that was willing to patiently spend time with me during his office hours to help me shift my mindset to the American system.
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?
As a musician, you have to always be ready to perform. You never know when an opportunity will present itself.
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument
My most challenging part of learning the cello as a child was finding the time to practice between all of my other extracurricular activities. Eventually, many of the other activities faded away as I decided to focus especially on the cello.
What is your biggest musical achievement?
My biggest musical achievement was being accepted on a full scholarship into an American university. I was even able to take my pick as to which I was going to attend!
Favorite thing about teaching?
My favorite thing about teaching is when students understand a new musical skill or concept and show me a different way of thinking about it.
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?
Learning how to play an instrument takes time! Don’t get frustrated when you can’t play something right away. Learning is a lifelong process!
Personal music projects:
Right now I am working on my Music Education degree to become a High School orchestra teacher. I am also playing in a few community orchestras, as well as performing with small ensembles in the tri-state area.