Introducing Jorge Luis Zapata Marin

What is your name?unnamed

Jorge Luis Zapata Marín

 Where are you from?

Medellín-Colombia, “the city of the eternal spring.”

How are you connected to the UNT Viola Studio?

I went to Green Mountain Chamber music festival because of the recommendation of my undergrad Professor Dr. Sheldrick. She suggested that I attend and have lessons with Dr. Dubois and all of the faculty members like Sheila Browne and Karen Ritscher, who are related to the legendary Karen Tuttle. I had an incredible time there doing the Karen Tuttle workshop, where I learned about the coordination between the body and the instrument, and how to feel comfortable playing the viola, an instrument that can give you hard moments. The enthusiasm, love,  and teaching ability of Dr. Dubois were  the main  reasons why I decided to apply to UNT, where I am  currently doing a GAC (Graduate Artist Certificate).

Did you choose the viola, or did the viola choose you?

“La Red de Escuelas de Música de Medellín” is a social program from my native city, which helps many people with low economic resources, (something similar to “El Sistema” in Venezuela).  Once, my mom took me there because I was really interested in playing the violin, but they even gave me the chance to say what I wanted, and they said “You are very welcome to be here, but you have really big hands so you must play VIOLA!!” Anyway, I wasn’t sure what they were talking about, but they just said “it is almost like the violin” so I started with Viola and here I am, really in love with my instrument, who chose me to dedicate my life to her.

Tell us about your viola! Who made it? How did you come to play this instrument? Does it have a name?

My Viola was made by Kenneth Edward Sullivan in 2001, and I got her one year ago in Rochester-NY on a special trip that I did from Colombia just to get her. I really like her deep and charming tone, and her name is VIOLINDA, which is a compound word that means beautiful Viola.

What is your favorite piece to play?

I had so much fun playing the Brahms F minor Viola Sonata. I think it has some many characters and emotions on it, each movement has something different to offer…

If you could play any non-viola piece, what would it be and why?

I really like the Bach’s sonatas and partitas for Violin, and I know there is an arrangement for viola but I have not played it yet.  I just think, it is beautiful and celestial, and it sounds better on viola to me, of course…

Do you come from a musical family?

My family says that I come from a musical family, but just because some of my uncles like to sing, and some of them play the guitar but only a few chords… so I guess I am not sure about it.

 What made you want to pursue music as a career rather than as a hobby?

I have always thought, that if you want to be good at what you do, you have to do what you really like, and for me that is music. I cannot see myself doing something else instead of music.

 Who has been the most influential musician in your life?

For me, the most influential musician in my life is my undergraduate viola professor, Dr. Braunwin Sheldrick, who took care of my developing as a musician and as a human being. I must say my mom as well– she is not a musician but she encouraged me to do what I really wanted to do, no matter what.

Do you have any pre-concert rituals?

Yes, I do. I always try to wash my hands before a performance, because I think if I have my hands dirty, the music is going to be dirty as well.

What is your favorite memory, thus far, of being a musician?

I must say, my best and favorites memories that I had as a musician, are from all the travels that I did with my old quartet. We had fun times in Brazil, Perú, USA and in many cities in our country, Colombia, where we learned not only about a musical life, but also about the culture and beauty of the world and its diversity.


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