Garcia earns admission to prestigious London conservatory

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Carlos Gomez Garcia, a Colombian exchange student pursuing a degree in music performance with a minor in business at Northwestern State University, has been accepted to pursue an advanced degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, one of the top 10 music conservatories in the world. Located in London, England, the school is a global leader of creative and professional practice and promotes innovation, experiment and research for musicians, actors, stage managers and theatre technicians as they develop as artists and professionals.

Garcia, a double-bass player, will pursue a Guildhall Artist Master in Performance degree, a two-year program in which students gain technical facility and musical flexibility while providing professional exposure. Students study with world-class professors, work with internationally renowned conductors and artists and perform in some of the finest venues.

Guildhall has more than 900 students in higher education drawn from nearly 60 countries around the world.

Garcia will graduate from NSU in May. Meanwhile, he is preparing for his senior recital as well as an important competition sponsored by the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) in which he advanced from the state and regional competitions to qualify as one of seven musicians competing at the national level in the String Young Artist category. The competition will take place in Baltimore, Maryland in March.

Garcia, 21, has been playing the double bass since age 13. He began preparing for the Guildhall audition, held last November, two semesters in advance.

“I knew it was something that required a considerable amount of time to get ready, so I started recording the music needed for the audition,” he said. “Normally auditions are held in different parts of the world such as New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul or Tokyo. But I asked for a special permit to submit a DVD audition instead, since I could not afford traveling to New York with a bass, to play the live audition.”

Going to London will be a new experience for Garcia, who will be travelling to Europe for the first time. He auditioned in 2011 to join NSU’s School of Creative and Performing Arts, so when he came to the United States in 2013, he already knew some of the students and staff at Northwestern State, such as Dr. Marcus Jones, who has worked to facilitate recruitment of international students and smooth their transition into NSU.

“This time it is going to be different because I do not know anybody there,” he said. “It’s going to be a new place, a new school, a different education system, new country, new continent and I am honestly very excited about it. The only thing I know for sure is that I have very high expectations for the future to come.”

One of Garcia’s inspirations, Rinat Ibragimov, is a professor at Guildhall and Garcia is hopeful to have him as a teacher.

“He is one of the best and finest double bass players alive, his music is very passionate yet so focused, that allows him to play with so many sonorities achieving his desired sound,” Garcia said. He is also a fan of Dominik Wagner, a young and accomplished rising star in double bass.

As for his future as a professional musician, Garcia would like to perform with the London Symphony Orchestra and have a career as a teacher, soloist and global performer.

“I think of music like wings,” he said. “It allows you to do many things and go to so many places, as long as you are willing to fly.”

He credited Paul Christopher, associate professor of cello and music theory, a well as Peter Haas for guidance as mentors at Northwestern State.

“NSU was crucial element for my developing as musician and more importantly as a person,” Garcia said. “It really opened my eyes for the possibilities beyond my education. The environment is really suitable for people who want to improve on their instruments, people who like to push themselves to be better everyday, who like to go beyond what is expected and do the unexpected.”