There are many ways to understand a résumé, you can find the most common one in my profession by clicking in the “Biography tab”. Here, I decided to share my life experience in a different tone.
I was born in Madrid in 1984, it was a Tuesday right after my mother’s churro’s sudden craving.
I did my first tour when I was six months old, with my parents’ company named Agada. The sheet of technical requirements included a very special specification: someone to look after the baby during the show.
When I was born, my parents already lived in Arenas de San Pedro, Ávila, “a microclimate”, people say, where in winter rains a lot and snows little, in summer days at three o’ clock in the afternoon not a soul can be seen on the street but, on the other hand, you sleep very well at night; and where springtime and fall are absolutely delightful.
I was very lucky to live there until I was fourteen, since that was a time in which kids used to have already some freedom: there were not so many fears. We used to play in the street, without the oversight of adults, until it was dark; and made expeditions to unknown places investigating, discovering…
Arena´s Music School was a test program in Spain. It had a very enthusiastic and pioneer in child education teaching staff, which managed to convince many families so that music became a very important part of our lives. It was an everyday thing, on-going meetings of a community that devoted a lot of time and love to our learning.
I attended to violoncello, cello group, piano, piano group, musical education, choir, chamber and orchestra since I was very little. It may seem a lot but this school was next to the Town Hall Square, where playing ball was still allowed, so in the middle of a catch-up for: -“Raquel, Iris, Isa, Jara, time for group now! -we ran into our classrooms. There were no negotiations with children as there are now. It was great, music was another way of playing between us, although sometimes things got very serious, like everything in life.
My parents spoke French and they wanted us to study languages so they signed us up in English classes with Richard, a native friend, as people say now. I was three and the youngest in class, of course. It seems I spent one year under a chair. Richard told my father what was happening so my dad said that classes were meant to learn and if I was not learning, I would not attend anymore. -¡Nooo!- So he asked me: “let’s see, how do you say dog in English?-Log-I said- and with such irrefutable answer as that, I managed to keep under my chair in English lessons.
In summer, besides going to the sea, swimming in the area rivers, rest, be bored (something that seems very important to get to know yourself), celebrate our birthdays in style (my mother used to organize treasure hunts all around the neighbourhood); we took summer courses. All the families in cars, sometimes in caravans, went to music courses to France and Barcelona, they were even organized in Arenas, being us proud hosts and, foreigner teachers and friends, visitors.
I started teaching when I was eleven years old. My first student was Elena, who by that time was nine. Nowadays she keeps playing cello. I loved teaching her, lessons lasted forty five minutes, but for me, represented days of work, since I prepared everything well in advance: I wrote it, posed diverse difficulties for each exercise, rehearsed my possible answer to each situation, discussed it with my mother, and I always prepared material for ten more lessons. And thus each new week. My next student was María Elena, an actress and dancer who worked with my father. During the second lesson, I saw she was very uncomfortable, something was happening, it took me a while to realize… I placed the cello in the wrong side!
Little by Little, the number of students started to grow, both kids and adults.
At present I have my own school “La Tortuga Catalina” where I keep sharing, learning and enjoying. By the way, all the tortoises we had, (many of them) at home were called Catalina; it seems these reptiles have an amazing rate of marriage, since they all married their boyfriends and left without saying goodbye.
When I was fourteen years old, my parents got divorced and we moved to Madrid with our mom, the street was “Corredera Baja de San Pablo”, right in the heart of the city, it was a huge change.
My mother explained us that in that house didn’t live a mother with two kids but thee professionals.
Piano and cello lessons, the ones I took and the ones I gave, upper secondary night school, trips to Arenas, the music conservatory… But, undoubtedly, the most significant thing in this period was my mother’s death. I was eighteen years old and she was forty nine. There were lots of changes, a lot of pain, much more work and responsibilities but in the other hand the beautiful strengthening of my brothers and I bond as siblings. We started living together, as three professionals. I think my mother would have loved that.
I was twenty when I got the chance to move to Germany, I had saved money to study there for one year, it was yet to see how I was going to develop there.
I went to Detmold, a small city with a great university. My teacher was called Xenia Jankovic. She was a big impact on me because of her strength, her nature, her constant change, her love and absolute devotion to music, this art which always demands so much of ourselves. I spent many years by her side learning and discovering from music as well as from life and myself.
In Detmold you risk your career, five years of your life pass in two days. A 45 minutes concert in the night and the next day in the morning, you can call that risky. It demands a lot of rigour, especially because you must play a wide repertoire when you haven’t slept a wink all night.
But everything went great and I had an excellent grade with which I got to apply to every possible post-graduate education. So with this characteristic hunger of mine, I did it all at once: master in orchestra musician, master in chamber music with my quartet and soloist master.
I long for this stage of my life, during that time you are so overwhelmed and want so many things that you can’t realize it is one of the greatest moments of your life.
In 2010 my quartet and I held auditions to study in the Reina Sofía College of Music along with Günter Pichler, founder of the Alban Berg Quartet. We made it! During that time I realized I wanted to come back to Spain, so for the next two years I kept on traveling between Detmold, Dortmund and Madrid until I finished all of my masters.
When I finally decided to come back, everyone told me that I was crazy, that Spanish economy was agonizing, that there were no supports for culture, no opportunities and that in Spain it was not possible to have a music career.
And it’s true, even though, I am a little crazy and in Spain they make it frankly hard, after a year of really very hard work I found my place, actually I didn’t find it but created it. And here I am, enjoying my life in Madrid center, giving concerts, music appreciation courses, with “La Tortuga Catalina” to the max and still learning.
Throughout these stages there have been many people which helped and accompanied me. Thanks to all of you who witness my life, to the ones that love me, those who support me by coming to my concerts, courses, listening to my record and giving me smiles, words and hugs.
Thanks to make my life possible!