Name: Giancarlo Guerrero
Nationality: Costa Rican
Occupation: Music director, conductor
Current events: Giancarlo Guerrero will give his debut with the San Francisco Symphony on April 7th 2022. He also recently recorded music by former rock musician C.F. Kip Winger for a future release on the Naxos imprint.
Recommendations: The Inextinguishable Symphony by Martin Goldsmith; Requiem in d minor, Luigi Cherubini.
If you enjoyed this interview with Giancarlo Guerrero and would like to know more, visit his official website. He is also on Facebook.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I started music when I was 12 years old. My parents signed me up to the Youth Symphony program in Costa Rica. I had no classical music background, so it was all very new to me.
Some people experience intense emotion when listening to music, others see colours or shapes. What is your own listening experience like and how does it influence your approach to music?
Music is always a moving experience for me. It provides a great range of emotions, especially joy.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
It is always exciting to revisit a particular piece that I haven’t conducted in several years. I am always amazed at how differently I approach its preparation because I’m a different person.
My music making is directly connected with my personal human experience.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
I am a very curious person by nature and this is especially true with music. I am comfortable exploring new musical languages and this has provided for a very rewarding musical career collaborating with artists both within and beyond classical music including artists like Béla Fleck, Vic Wooten and Kip Winger – whose First Symphony the Nashville Symphony will perform and record in March 2022.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
We need to keep discovering new ideas on the repertoire we perform. Music is a living organism and we need to evolve on how we approach it.
Every performance should be a new adventure.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
There is room for new ideas as well as respecting tradition. We have to understand the original ideas behind a particular composition and then apply them to our present realities. This is how we maintain relevance in modern times.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
I am always expanding my repertoire and avoid repeating pieces too often. This keeps my musical choices fresh as well as providing for interesting new musical experiences.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
I have no particular routine. Every day is different and brings different challenges.
I balance my personal, administrative and musical responsibilities to make sure I fulfill all my obligations. Balance is the key.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
It always starts with the score and its deep exploration. Trying to understand the composer’s original intent and transform them into clear musical ideas.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
I prefer to listen to music on my own. But I also enjoy the communal live musical experience.
Although I may be surrounded by many people during a performance, the experience is still a very personal one. I listen to music through the prism of my own personal background and perspective.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
I think we need music now more than ever. Music will be a great healing force after these last few traumatic years.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
Music is closely related to the human experience. Although it may not be able to provide answers, it is able to provide great comfort in difficult moments.
There seems to be increasing interest in a functional, “rational” and scientific approach to music. How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
Music architecture is very logical and mathematical. This is especially obvious in terms of rhythm and harmony.
It is impossible to approach music without understanding basic scientific facts.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
Moments of musical genius can happen at any time. We can get inspired by the most simple acts. Spontaneity is a big part of the creative process.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
How we are moved by a particular sight or sound is all related to our own personal journey. It is a great mystery how a particular piece of art is able to influence many people in so many different ways.