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Ensembles and Entrepreneurship: an interview with Carlos Felipe Silva

The music business is all about seizing opportunities when they arise. Nothing is given, and everything is earned. Many proficient musicians and composers have their own creative vision, but in order to make those visions a reality artists need to climb the music industry ladder, from networking to gaining performance experience to working long hours in the studio. Carlos Felipe Silva is one such musical talent who has taken his experiences playing with symphonies in renowned venues such as Carnegie Hall and Boston Symphony Hall and applied them to new ambitious endeavors. Recently recording original compositions with a symphony of over 60 musicians at Bridge Recording Studio, Silva has gone from being a small piece of the band to leading the band itself. We had the opportunity to ask Silva about his rise through the music industry as well as where his career goes from here.

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What would you consider to be your most challenging or successful works, and how were those projects received by audiences? Did any notable names in composing have any comments in regard to these works of yours?

Silva: Recording my music compositions with a Symphony Orchestra at the Bridge Recording Studio in Los Angeles was certainly a challenging experience. There are a lot of technical aspects that have to be in place for the session to be successful. Having a professional music team is a must in order to cover all the different tasks needed, such as score preparation, midi mock-ups, music editing, mixing and so on. The results of the session were fantastic. Notable composers such as Oscar winner Mychael Danna and Grammy winner Heitor Pereira have spoken highly of the scores, and these recordings opened many doors for my career.

What have been the most acclaimed venues you have performed in over the course of your career, and what were those experiences like? Do you have to alter much as a violinist depending on the venue?

Silva: As a violinist I have been lucky enough to perform at some of the greatest venues in the world such as Carnegie Hall in New York with the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, The Royal Albert Hall at The BBC Proms in London, Boston Symphony Hall with A.R. Rahman, and at the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas for The Latin Grammys. These were all amazing experiences and a dream come true. Every performance is different, the acoustics and the feel on each venue is different, but in the end we always try to do our best every time we get to perform at the highest level.

Your project at the Bridge Recording Studio consisted of over 60 musicians. How were you able to effectively manage this endeavor and keep it organized through the process in order to create a great finished product?

Silva: It was a collaboration process. I was able to make it happen because I had the opportunity to work with amazing professionals that are at the top of their field. There was a lot of preparation that went into it, and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

Being the lead violinist for the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra would appear to be quite a nervous but exciting experience. Did you gain any particularly valuable lessons from your time with SMSO that you have applied to other work?   

Silva: Being concertmaster on a symphony orchestra is always a big responsibility. You have to lead the whole ensemble, prepare the bowings, and give the cues to your section. I had a wonderful experience serving as concertmaster with the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra. Every time I get to lead the orchestra I learn about myself as a musician and as a person. The most important lesson is to always be open to suggestions, and have the capacity to inspire others to give their all on each performance.

What propels you as a creative mind to stay inspired and motivated given the mentally draining nature of your work?

Silva: I believe music is a gesture of love. There is so much culture and joy around it. If we really listen, if we actually let it play its role, one will find the answers to life’s most important questions. It’s all there, and that’s what keeps me motivated. The opportunity to experience those magical moments we live as artists and creators.

What to you are you most important qualities a musician/composer needs in order to create a lucrative niche for oneself?

Silva: The music industry today is constantly changing, and we all have to be able to adapt quickly. I think it is very important to be versatile. As a musician if you are able to perform, arrange, and write music at a high level you will find a lot of work. It’s important to hone all these different skills and try to collaborate with as many people as possible. Once you do a great job for someone usually this work leads to more opportunities. There are many possibilities and ways of making a living. I think it’s a great time to be a professional musician.

Are there any specific orchestras you aspire to perform with?

Silva: I would love to see the Berlin Philharmonic performing one my pieces.

Looking forward, what personal music projects, or compositional endeavors, are you most excited about this year?  

Silva: I’m really excited about all the projects I’ll be doing with Jeff Toyne at his music studio. We will be producing music albums for different artists, and creating and recording music for different platforms such as advertisement, YouTube series, TV, and video games.

by Giorgio Chang

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, play guitar, music geek, movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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