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Interview with Ana Catalina Ramirez Castrillo

1. Could you tell us first of all some words about your beginning with classical music-when did you get interested in it, why exactly the clarinet, which schools. 

  Most of the answer is in this video.
 I got interested in classical music from an early age, and I started singing in a children's choir when I was about 8 years old. I started my musical studies at the National Institute of Music of Costa Rica. I moved to the US in 2000 to continue my studies with Frankie Kelly at Southeastern LA University. A year after I transfered to the Longy School of Music in Cambridge MA, where I completed my undergrad. I did my masters at University of Massachusetts in Amherst. 

 2. You are not only playing with MSO, you also teach in MC-is the teaching attractive profession on your ages? 

 If you mean to ask if teaching is attractive to me, then the answer is yes. I really do enjoy teaching and helping others achieve their goals. 

 3. Are there any differences between the system of teaching in your country and in USA? 

 Yes, there are differences for sure. I think what strikes me the most is the very different emphasis on solfege and rhythm teaching. In Costa Rica I had to take one or two years of solfege and rhythm classes before they would let me play an instrument other than recorder. In the US I have found these aspects are not as emphasized. Even thought Costa Rica has a bit of the American band program style in its schools, it works slightly different, and most students that are really interested in music will go to a conservatoire or University to get proper training. Most of music teaching in Costa Rica is based on a more European conservatory style.

  4. Do you have preferred music styles, composers, pieces?

  Well I really do like a bit of everything. Of course classical music in its broad sense is one of my favorites. But I also enjoy latin music and folk music from different countries. Preferred composers I would have to say Brahms is one of my favorite ones, the clarinet sonatas are just absolutely beautiful. The Mozart clarinet concerto is one of my favorite pieces as well, I think very few will disagree that it is just an amazing piece. Well, I can probably name a lot more things I like I really do enjoy a lot of the clarinet repertoire and I am so luck to have so a wide variety of pieces to chose from. Other composers that I like are Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Rachmaninov, Bartok, Chopin.... well I really do like a lot of things. I enjoy piano music and listening to famous singers, and I also enjoy to once in a while listen to early music with voices specially. The early voice can be so beautiful, with it simplicity and purity, I really enjoy that. 

 5. The clarinet is an inseparable part of every jazz orchestra in USA-do you have any interest in this music? 

 I really like the way clarinet is used in jazz and I have some pieces in my repertoire that flirt with the idea of jazz. So, I do try to imitate it a little bit but I am by no means a jazz player. I recently heard this dixie band in New Orleans that was amazing, the clarinet in it was just wonderful. It would be amazing to be able to play that style, but you know, it is like learning another language which is not always an easy thing to do. 

 6. Can you tell us a little bit more about the story with the World Online Orchestra, YouTube Orchestra and your participation with it.

 The You Tube Symphony Orchestra was an amazing project uniting talented people from all around the globe ages 14 and up for a 4 days summit in the heart of New York city, which culminated with completely sold out concert in Carnegie Hall. It was really beautiful thing, and I am very happy that I was able to be part of it. 

 7. Some plans for the future -professional and personal?

  My plans are to continue to better myself as a person and musician, therefore, to continue to look for opportunities that will help me grow. 

 8. What does Ana Catalina do in her free time? 

 Practice! read, walk\run, do yoga, salsa dance, cook, chat with my family on skype, travel. I also watch movies, lots of movies - comedy, action, adventure, fantasy, drama... I don't like scary movies, or too bloody movies, other than that I will watch just about anything.

  9. Do you like to cook?

  I like to cook for the most part. Specially if I am not going to eat by myself. 

 10. What kind of food do you like, your favorite dish? 

 Costa Rican food of course, lots of rice and beans, fried plantains, tamales, dishes with corn and lots of vegetable dishes. I also enjoy italian, Mediterranean, indian chinese, and mexican food. 

 11. Pop music? What group or singer?

  Oh yes for sure... well I grew up listening to just about everything... being the youngest of 5 I heard from Enya and classical music, to Guns and Roses and Kiss.... I don't enjoy all of them, specially the heavy rock, that I am not a big fan of, but I do like latin, american and middle eastern pop. One of my favorite latin singers are Gloria Stephan and Ruben Blades, I also like some Costa Rican groups like Editus, Malpais, and Son de Tiquizia. 

Ana Catalina Ramírez Castrillo