All Classical Portland’s AMPLIFY is a response to the industry’s inequities in classical music recordings. The works of five contemporary composers are brought to light in this album, each infused with recollections of stories, cities, and movements that have made an impact along the artists’ journey. Featured on the album is Keyla Orozco’s Souvenirs, a piece inspired by places she has visited or lived in, and the music and rhythms typically heard in those cities.
Today, Keyla is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner-workings and personalities of our composers and performers. Read on to learn about the places that inspired her piece, and the feelings and imagery she associates with them…
Who was your first favorite artist(s) growing up?
There were many. Growing up, I was listening to music from all over the world. I could mention Miguel Matamoros, Pablo Milanés, Bach, Mozart, Simón Diaz, and Lionel Richie, as some examples.
When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?
I guess shortly after I started to study music at the age of 8 at Esteban Salas Conservatory in Santiago de Cuba, my city of birth.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Watching too many of Netflix’s series.
If you could make a living at any job in the world, what would that job be?
Having my own music education business focused on helping children to discover their creativity and strengths through composition and improvisation.
If you could spend creative time anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
All over Europe, because I know how culturally inspiring it is. I lived there, and it was in Europe that Souvenirs was born.
If you could instantly have expertise performing one instrument, what instrument would that be?
The Violin, without a doubt.
What does this album mean to you personally?
An unexpected reward to all my years of efforts and struggles.
Is there a specific feeling that you would like communicated to audiences in this work?
I hope the audience can capture the feelings and experiences I had on the cities I represented here: The bohemian spirit of Paris, the rain from Amsterdam, the astonishing architecture of Barcelona, the violence of Caracas, the spirit of New York’s jazz night clubs, the Washington DC that feels like “home” today, the destructed and hopeless Havana that tourists don’t know, the Cuban music roots in Santiago de Cuba, and the way my soul felt when I wrote this work.