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 tuesday, right after my mother’s churros’ 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 teaching staff, pioneer in child education, which managed to convince many families that music should become 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 young. 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, I managed to keep under my chair during English lessons.
In summer, besides going to the sea, swimming in the area rivers, resting, being bored (which is very important to get to know yourself), celebrating 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, with us as proud hosts and foreign teachers and friends as 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 I had thought about each lesson for many days, since I prepared everything well in advance and I wrote different exercises for each possible difficulty, rehearsed my answers for each situation, discussed them 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 had placed her cello on 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 it wasn’t a mother with two kids who lived together but three professionals.
Piano and cello lessons, the ones I took and the ones I gave, upper secondary night school, trips to Arenas, music conservatory… In the midst of all that, my mother suddenly died. I was eighteen years old and she was forty nine. There were lots of changes, much pain, many more responsibilities and work, but on the other hand, there was also a beautiful strengthening of my bond with my two brothers. 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 everything would go afterwards.
I went to Detmold, a small city with a great university. My teacher was Xenia Jankovic. She made a big impact on me due to 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 from myself.
In Detmold you risk your career; five years of your life pass in two days; a 45 minutes concert in the evening and the next day in the morning: you can indeed 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 that 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 at 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 travelling between Detmold, Dortmund and Madrid, until I finished all my postgraduate degrees.
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 develop a music career.
And it’s true, even though I am a little crazy, and in Spain they make it really hard, after a year of extremely hard work I found my place. Actually I didn’t find it but created it. And here I am, enjoying my life in the center Madrid, giving concerts, music appreciation courses, with “La Tortuga Catalina” to the max and still learning.
Throughout these stages there have been many people who 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 for making my life possible!