June 13, 2024

Music appreciation is a crucial part of our culture. While walking through campus, students typically have earbuds in their ears, listening to their favorite tunes. However, nothing compares to live music, especially when CBU’s own professors perform. CBU presented its first Artist Faculty Series, which featured a piano performance by Dr. Andrés Jaramillo, director of Keyboard Studies. 

The recital consisted of various works by Bach, Haydn, Rachmaninoff and other composers, as well as Colombian works from Jaramillo’s home country.

Gabby Vivona, junior instrumental performance major, attended the recital to show her support for Jaramillo as her professor. 

“I’m always surprised by just how many lives Dr. Jaramillo has touched. He had family, friends, students, mentors, peers, and faculty in that recital,” Vivona said. “It was a packed house, so much so that there had to be chairs set up behind him on the stage used for another rehearsal so that more people could fit in the room.”

To prepare for the Artist Faculty Series, Jaramillo had to play complex pieces by memory for almost two hours. 

“I tried to prepare all three things: body, mind, and heart in different ways,” Jaramillo said.

As expected, he practiced for a few hours every day, but his heart preparation had a unique element to it.

“When you are an artist and you have Jesus Christ as Lord, you have a double advantage,” Jaramillo said. “He is my creator, but he’s the creator of the composer as well. So I can talk to him on that level, like, ‘Lord, what was Beethoven thinking when he wrote this, or Chopin, or Bach?’ So that’s how I prepare my routines usually.”

The second half of Jaramillo’s recital featured “Pictures at an Exhibition” by M. Mussorgsky, which lasted 35 minutes. Jaramillo decided to showcase this piece because it reflected aspects of his life.

“Those pieces that I chose describe very well my journey of life with my wife and kids, and all the struggles that they had when they were babies with their health,” Jaramillo said. “My own challenges in life, the fact that I am an immigrant, a Colombian person coming to the US to live here and develop my career and studies here — each piece has a little bit of that.”

Ten years ago,  Jaramillo was teaching at two universities in Colombia but moved to the US to complete his master’s at Eastern Washington University. He then earned his DMA degree n Piano Performance at the University of Southern California. In addition to teaching at CBU, Jaramillo has performed internationally in South America, South Africa, Spain and China, as well as throughout the US. 

“I always share with my students that I’m not at the center of the concert — I’m just one instrument,” Jaramillo said. “The center of the concert is the creator of the music. He pours below his spirit through the pianist or the artist, and I just give to the people what they need to hear. In other words, I’m the spoon and he’s the soup.”

Jaramillo chose to combine both of his passions — performing and teaching — and it paid off in how students and non-students alike came to the recital to enjoy a powerful live performance.

“His love for his students is shown through his music,” Vivona said. 

Marissa Norheim, senior biology major, attended the Faculty Artist Series since she enjoys listening to classical music performances in her free time. 

“Anyone who is looking to broaden their horizons or their likes for music would enjoy it, or even just to go for the free hang-out on campus with good music,” Norheim said.

There will be a total of five performances put on by professors in the Faculty Artist Series this year. 

The second performance will be Nov. 4, and other dates are to be announced. These upcoming recitals will consist of different instruments, which is the perfect opportunity for students to become more well-rounded in the musical world.

“Every time I play for students, I feel that I’m teaching as well as sharing,” Jaramillo said. “I like to demonstrate all those elements of music that I try to teach in the classroom, but in real life through music, not through words only. And that’s the best reward for me — observing them, how they enjoy the recital, their feedback and their comments afterward. They make me feel I’m living my purpose.”

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