Rebecca Masalles:

Winner of first place in the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) chamber music competition, with her Red Hills Quartet, Rebeca Masalles, only 22 years old, has forged her path in music with firm and constant footing. This young classical music violinist has become a promise of young Dominican talent and she has managed to stand out both inside and outside the country.

After having completed her music studies at Florida State University, with one of the most prestigious scholarships offered by this university, Rebeca will bring her graduation recital from Tallahassee to Santo Domingo, along with pianist Galen Dean Peiskee Jr, today Friday the 30th. June at 8:30 pm, in the Aída Bonelly room of the Eduardo Brito National Theater.

“This Friday, June 30, I will be playing with the pianist who normally accompanied me at Florida State University, Galen Dean Peiskee Jr, who is a man who has an incredible talent for the piano. He and I are going to be playing works by composers like Debussy, Clara Schumann among others. This presentation is going to be at 8:30 p.m. and we are super excited to bring that repertoire that was my graduation recital, there at the university.”

Rebeca expressed that now that she does not have the pressure of another approaching semester, she is anxious to bring to her land the recitals that have accompanied her throughout her life and her journey in music.

the beginning

From an early age, the violin became Masalles’ passion. The first contact he had with the violin arose by chance and pure instinct at the age of just 4 years.

“I started with the violin, specifically at the age of four, that was the age that I began to take my first classes, but before that I was in early musical stimulation classes. Those were my true beginnings in music, when I was still months old, and well, there came a time when one was old enough to choose an instrument. They took me to an academy, I saw some violin, piano, cello, and all the instruments that were there, and I decided on the violin. I just saw it, heard it, it caught my attention and that’s what I decided to choose.”

The young artist tells that the director of the school at that time had to talk to her father and convince him to let her study the violin, since her father was more inclined towards the piano for various reasons.

“The director of the academy, who was Jacqueline, told him: -Look, when a child decides on an instrument that caught his attention and points it out like that without having had any previous experience, you have to leave it, because you don’t know how far can he go with it,” he said.

In this way, a brilliant career in music began for Rebeca. However, she confessed, to the surprise of many, that despite loving the violin, she also had dreams of dedicating herself to medicine, more specifically pediatrics.

“Yes, there was definitely a moment or rather a stage, because since I was little, I really wanted to be a pediatrician, because I love children! That was what I wanted to do…

He also told how, at the age of 12, he had certain experiences that gave him the certainty that the violin was, in short, the profession he wanted to carry out for the rest of his life.

“At the age of 12, when I had the opportunity to audition for the National Youth Symphony Orchestra, they accepted me into the orchestra. I started rehearsing with them and I entered into a life dilemma at the age of 12: I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, because I wanted to be a pediatrician, but I wanted to be a musician, because I really liked music. So that was the dilemma of my life…”.

After that “there were things that guided me, little by little, like music was what I was going to leave for, for example my entry into the Gabriel del Orbe violin program of the Fundación por la música directed by Margarita Orfan, where I began to take classes with American teachers and, of course, my teacher Mercedes Ariza, who shaped me and helped me prepare to audition at the university and well, the Lord was guiding me there.”

HIS LIFE IN MUSIC

Music became what would be the best adventure of her life for her, since it has opened the doors to new experiences and great achievements, which, beyond academics, have also transcended to more personal areas of her life.

“I think music has helped me in many, many ways. Apart from how beautiful it is and what I like to play, it also helped me with what it is to learn discipline, to be disciplined. The sense of autonomy, because practicing depended on me, that is, from the many values ​​and work ethic that represents me at this moment, it has been through this study of the instrument.”

It is not surprising that this young violinist has as references great artists who have inspired her and who have served as a guide for her in music. Her father, the prominent architect and jazz player Jordi Masalles, instilled in her a taste for classical music from an early age, among other genres such as jazz or the pachambiques of the legendary Juan Luis Guerra.

Together with his father, he has participated in events such as the Santo Domingo Jazz Festival and the Sajoma Jazz Festival in 2022. Getting out of his comfort zone, which has always been classical music, has been essential in the development of her abilities as a musician, as she explained that this has been useful to her, and has inclined her towards new perspectives.

In the same way, she assured that she is not closed to exploring new musical genres and that she understands that each genre has its own value: “I really don’t close myself off to anything. I believe that all music has value and I am willing to explore any type of genre”.

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Within the framework of her musical career, Masalles, in addition to standing out for her technique, is also distinguished by the quality of her performances on stage, but for this to happen, she also needs certain previous preparations that help her before going out to play. .

“Before I go out to play I always have to have a moment of personal meditation, praying and asking God to help me and when I go out I feel a little shaky at first, but when the music starts to flow…you feel a bit like floating.

The audience that listens to you is not paying attention to what you are making a mistake, but to what you are transmitting. I want to convey what the composer wants me to convey, there are many times that the pieces come with a description of what the composer wanted to say.”

Her focus on what she wants to convey to the public that listens to her, goes beyond the stage and entails a subsequent conceptualization, as she left reflected when talking about her next recital.

“For example, in the next recital I have, I’m going to play a piece by Piazzola called historia del tango. It is basically that each movement is a year, that is, the evolution of tango through the years. In 1900, then in 1980 and so on, so what do I want? that they see that presentation and that the public listen and understand how tango has evolved. In pieces where they are more emotional, sometimes I create a story for myself and I even write it and I am very clear about the feelings that I want the audience to feel in what I am playing. I try to imitate using technique and other aspects of playing that help me convey that, but there are many things, it depends a lot on the piece, definitely.”

Likewise, just as she prepares for each performance, understanding and delving into the pieces and the sentimental nuances they possess, Rebeca enjoys maintaining a good physical shape and keeping her body active.

“For me it is extremely important to keep exercising, because you spend hours and hours playing an instrument and what we do depends on our body, if our body is not healthy, then what we do we will not be able to do either. good”.

their challenges

Despite having dedicated her entire life to the violin, Rebeca went through difficult and uncertain times in her career. She felt overwhelmed when she had to face a new phase as a university student. She tells that she was surrounded by virtuoso musicians and hundreds of students who followed the same dream as her.

Masalles confessed that during his university process he had doubts about continuing his studies and he found himself faced with moments in which he did not know if it was worth continuing in his career.

“I have had moments in which I say wow! I am doing this and there are so many people doing the same as me, what is it that is going to differentiate me from those people? I have had moments, for example, in which there has been this doubt as to why one is going to do this if there are already so many people who do it so well? … ”, he said.

She, she added, has realized that it is not about that. “First it is about what I enjoy and that I also have things that other people do not have to offer and that is also important to know that each person has something different to contribute.”

Beyond the challenges that life itself has given her, when choosing her proposals to take to the stage, the interpreter chooses pieces that represent a challenge for her in terms of their complexity and style. For her, keeping learning new works has been key to her growth as an artist.

“The other day, a person asked me: – When you read the pieces, do you choose something that you can do very well or something that gives you work? – And I told him, well, I always choose and always, with my teacher, I have debated pieces that are and will be a challenge for me. They have things and elements that I don’t overcome, that I still can’t do, because that’s how you practice and perfect it, doing it… Sometimes it’s scary because you take exactly that, what scares you…

You say – wow, that has all that I don’t know how to do, well that’s what I’m going to play to be able to work on those elements that I have to perfect.-”

for youth

“Parents are the most important figures for a young person who wants to develop in music. If there is no support from the father, it is very difficult, it is possible, there are people who have done it, but more than young people, it is like telling parents that it is not about what is going to leave me more money… but that it be a source where one knows that one is going to create”.

This is how the violinist described it when she spoke about what she believes is most important for young Dominicans who want to venture into the world of music or any other discipline. Encouraging parents to support their children in whatever they choose to do.

Also, he emphasized how crucial it is to prepare in English and the opportunities that this language can give you: “It is extremely important, if you want to study professionally and if you want to leave the country, what you often have to do is English. Definitely, that they learn English is the most important thing for them to continue”.

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