From a young age, Isabel Dobarro has adapted to each curveball that her music career threw at her; from moving to New York, to bringing classical music into a more contemporary spotlight, to overcoming the challenges placed by the pandemic. She learned that success takes a lot of work and many failures. It’s never a straight line. But one thing’s for sure; her ability for adaptation manifests in the evolution of her music, turning her art into something more meaningful, more powerful, each time she gets onto the stage.
WHAT EDUCATION HAVE YOU COMPLETED?
I started playing the piano at the age of 3. Although none of my relatives is a professional musician, my sister played the piano very well, so we had a piano at home. In Spain, I completed the Grado Elemental and Medio before entering the bachelor’s degree at the age of 15 at the Real Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid. I started my master’s at New York University when I was 18 and began teaching at the university as an adjunct instructor a year later. I also obtained a Professional Studies Certificate at Manhattan School of Music. My Ph.D. dissertation is about Spanish composer Luis de Pablo’s piano works.
HOW DOES YOUR MUSIC CAREER USE YOUR SKILLS AND TALENTS? WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON?
Any music performance career trains several skills such as discipline, teamwork, communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, work under pressure, empathy, and creativeness. I hope to bring all these to my work. I am currently preparing a project on the great French composer Pauline Viardot, linked with my research and promotion of women composers’ pieces, and finishing the recording of a CD with cellist Antonio Martín. I am also developing a project on Music and the Sustainable Development Goals.
WHAT OBSTACLES HAVE YOU OVERCOME TO GET WHERE YOU ARE TODAY, BOTH PROFESSIONALLY AND PERSONALLY?
Well, I think the whole music sector and the world is confronting a considerable challenge with COVID. This experience is teaching us to be resilient and learn new valuable skills. I think I have learned that success takes a lot of work and many failures. It is not a straight line. How you manage both successes and missed opportunities shapes who you are as a person and as an artist. Bringing all this to your music-making turns your art into something more meaningful and powerful.
HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR TIME OUTSIDE OF WORK?
I love movies and traveling, although I have not been able to do the latter lately for obvious reasons. One of the advantages of being a professional musician is traveling worldwide, discovering new cultures, and their extraordinary artistic heritage.
WHAT WOULD YOU BE IF YOU WERE NOT A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN?
If I were not a professional musician, I would be doing any job that has a positive impact on society. I think my family and friends would say I am a committed, creative, and positive person.
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