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Seven fellows and multiple CMPI staff members traveled to Cincinnati from March 16-19 for the Equity Arc Annual Convening and National Pathways Festival Orchestra. The orchestra included CMPI fellows Ella Saputra (violin), Javier Irizarry (violin), Leo Dubravko Rodriguez (viola), Mateo Estanislao (bass), Zachary Allen (oboe), Jonathan Martinez (trombone), and Wanye Williams (percussion). Participants spent a weekend preparing repertoire, performing mock auditions, attending seminars and panels, and networking. CMPI staff members and parents also attended the National Convening, held at the same time. Panel presentations, small group sessions, student panels, and several large group sessions discussed the critical issues facing musicians from underrepresented groups as they attempt to become professional musicians. 

Wow. Just wow.

Mateo at National Pathways FestivalIf you’d asked me a year ago how I felt about my future and, more specifically, my future in music, I would have been so uncertain. I had tendinitis in both of my elbows and wasn’t able to pick up my instrument for months. I was terrified that my career in music was over before it could really begin.

If you’d asked me a year ago what I thought I’d be doing now, I would have never expected to be where I am. I recovered from tendinitis, pulled my college repertoire together in a few months, and got accepted into music school. Most importantly, I auditioned for and won the opportunity to play side-by-side with members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra with my colleagues from all over the country.

I had the privilege of working with two other great bass players last weekend on Dvořák Symphony 9 and Brian Raphael Nabors’ Pulse for Orchestra. Under the guidance of Dr. Pung at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, we transformed from individual musicians to a cohesive ensemble.

It was an absolute pleasure to sit with and perform with my stand partner and Assistant Principal of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Stephen Jones. Stephen was so welcoming and dispelled any of the nerves I had about performing with the orchestra. It was amazing to play so in sync with such an amazing musician.

Something clicked into place after working with Stephen and led to the best performance of my life. I’ve never experienced anything like the euphoria and complete satisfaction of immersing myself within the music. I felt like I was truly a part of the music, and not just a musician playing the music.

I am so thankful to Equity Arc, the Cincinnati Symphony, and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music  for hosting this year’s National Pathways Festival and Annual Convening. Thank you for providing the opportunity for BIPOC and other underrepresented communities in music to play along with such amazing musicians who want to change the future with music.

Most importantly, I am beyond thankful for my student navigators from CMPI for giving me the resources to get where I am today. This opportunity is only one of many that I’ve come across due to my fellowship with CMPI and I have never felt so grateful for all of their help.

parents and staff at national pathways convening

A note from Lorie, Mateo’s mother: The parents that attended the Covenning sessions on Saturday and Sunday had an opportunity to share their thoughts, concerns and questions with their children’s journey after CMPI. NIMAN is now Equity Arc. This is an exciting new venture of following and supporting fellows to their professional careers in a professional orchestra. This will be a fantastic opportunity for Pathway Fellows. I had the opportunity to chaperone with Kenya Williams and meet other parents on the trip. My take away from this experience is: how do we support parents in their journey when they start CMPI and throughout their time with the program? We come from all over the city and suburbs. Seeing my son Mateo on stage playing side by side with his professional partner Stephen was phenomenal. They were so in sync with each other! It was something they will alway stay with me. Thank you everyone for this opportunity! 


Provided by Mateo

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