Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director shares personal journey as Hispanic Heritage Month comes to an end

Published: Oct. 16, 2023 at 12:04 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - As National Hispanic Heritage Month ends, Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director is bringing the sound of his culture to the Old Pueblo.

Jose Luis Gomez is the music director of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. He tells 13 News he discovered his love for music as a boy growing up in Venezuela.

“My journey has been filled with a lot of great people around me,” Gomez said. “I’ve been very lucky not only as a violinist but also as a conductor to have the chance to work with different orchestras.”

Gomez started as an assistant conductor in Germany and then became a music director in Italy all before taking on his role in Tucson.

“I always look at it as more about being in the middle of everybody,” Gomez said. Rather than being on top of anyone and trying to dictate something specific. It’s just about trying to help and create together a wonderful result.”

Gomez, who is also a violinist, said he feels at home in Tucson’s Hispanic-driven community and is inspired by the city’s diversity.

“It comes from inspiration and passion and all of those things, charisma,” Gomez said. “Mostly has to come from a clear or at least clearer idea of how you want to present this piece of music.”

He believes having an input beyond music-making helps Latino culture to be represented in a professional musical setting.

“For all of us that come from different places in the world and then we find ourselves developing out a career not in our hometown,” Gomez said. “It’s always special to bring something to the table that is not only part of your personality but also part of your heritage and background.”

According to Gomez, music is just one way Latin cultures come together and embrace one another.

“It’s part of your own breathing system. It’s all part of a very well-established, unspoken system that goes beyond borders,” Gomez said. “I think we find so many similarities with Colombians, Venezuelans, and Ecuadorians. Even far south, with Chileans and Argentians. It’s music that unites us a lot.”

Gomez has this message for others thinking about picking up an instrument.

“I would say not only the Latinos or the Hispanics,” Gomez said. “I think for everyone music is there for all of us. It’s been always there. It’s more present than we think sometimes.

Gomez encourages the community to embrace and enjoy the sounds of not only your culture but others as well.

“It just feels like another language that you have always heard, and now you are getting the ability to speak,” Gomez said.

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