Flamenco-meets-jazz pianist and composer Ariadna Castellanos has been wowing audiences around the globe with what has been called “a brutal technique and a wild intuition” on the piano. Find out more at ariadnacastellanos.com.
HOMETOWN: Madrid, Spain.
INSTRUMENTS PLAYED: Piano, violin, harp, and drums.
DESCRIBE YOUR SOUND: “Flamenco music mixed with a classical background, plus jazz harmonies and improvisation.”
MUSICAL TRAINING: “I studied classical piano at the Guildhall School of Music in London, as well as the Berklee College of Music in Boston. But Flamenco music is really learned from people in the street—from guitarists and singers in Spain—and from many, many records.”
FIRST GIGS: “Classical concert halls when I was six years old. My first Flamenco shows were in Spanish tablaos in Madrid.” [Tablaos are cafés, nightclubs, and less formal venues where flamenco is performed. —Ed.]
MUSICAL INFLUENCES: “Paco de Lucía, Tomatito, Jerez, Debussy, Ravel, and Calle 13.”
FAVORITE KEYBOARDS: “I’m a fan of acoustic pianos, especially Bösendorfer.”
WHAT I’M LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW: “Silence. I use music to change my state of mind, so when I’m feeling down, I play energetic music. When I feel sad I play aggressive music to give me strength, and when I’m extremely happy I allow myself a soft, romantic song.”
BIG BREAK: “Meeting Javier Limón, the eight-time Grammy award winner who has recorded many famous flamenco, jazz, and modern artists such as Paco de Lucia, Alejandro Sanz, Wynton Marsalis, and Bebo Valdés. He recorded my first album Flamenco en Black and White. This year he was nominated for the Latin Grammy as Producer of the Year for my album. Another big break would be winning the Presidential Scholarship at Berklee, as I’m the only Spanish musician to ever receive it. I’ll always be extremely thankful to them for allowing me to come to the United States and open my mind and music up to a whole new world.”
WHAT’S NEXT: “I’ll tour Spain in March 2014. I’m also recording a new album entitled Flamencool with producer Javier Limón.”
ADVICE: “Always be humble, yet never let anybody pull you down. Nobody knows everything, yet we’re all special. Also, always love the music more than yourself onstage.”