Side by Side 2020: Orchestra member & alumnus Hugo Rodriguez Artega

Bassoon player and alumnus Hugo Rodriguez Artega participated in nearly all editions of Side by Side, from the very first concert with Frans Brüggen seven years ago, when he was a young student and the project was first introduced, until this year on March 6-8, when it will be his second time participating as an orchestra member. We asked him about his experiences.

How are you experiencing the project Side by Side now, as an alumnus and professional member of the orchestra? As you remember well what it’s like to participate as a student, does that influence the way you approach the students, now sitting next to you? Can you share a bit about your approach?

"Well, the experience changes in every sense. As a student I was so happy and nervous at the same time! I remember the first project with Frans Brüggen, for me that was the event of my life. Many dreams that are coming true altogether and a great amount of preparation my colleagues and me had to face. I was completely honoured and opened up to the learning process and advices from the orchestra members. As a member I am as happy to participate, but less nervous about it. I think being on both sides made it easier to understand the concept of the whole Side by Side project goal, it is the best opportunity for students to learn how to play in orchestra by playing surrounded by great professionals. We, as more experienced musicians, have to carefully guide them around the little tricks and loops of the orchestral life, trying to make things as good as possible but easy at the same time."

What do you expect to learn from the students, or rather what are you looking forward to learning from them?

"Every student is a complete different person so you never know what to expect. Musically, I would like them to inspire me with their preparation and knowlegde on the repertoire and instrument. I want to see many music lovers that approach the music seriously and personally, I love identifying the musician's own voices through their instruments."

Have you had the privilege of playing with Hidemi Suzuki before and if so, can you share some insights into your experience? Or if not, would you like to share some thoughts on this year’s programme of Mozart, Haydn and Schnittke?

"No, I did not have the opportunity. But I know his work and I am really looking forward to make music together. About the programme: I think it is well thought and that it contains some pieces we play often. About Schnittke, I find curious the enlarging of the early musician's repertoire although, I think it could be even more realistic to work on real contemporary pieces for the whole orchestra (he died last century and there are no winds in the instrumentation). I can see the connection with early music, but I think if we are playing newer music we should work on 21st c. whole orchestra pieces."