Competitions have been an important part of my development as an artist and as a human being having participated in over 30 competitions during my youth. I grew up and did my music studies in Rioja, a relatively small community in the north of Spain, so competitions in my early teens brought my very first opportunities to experience a taste of international travel and to meet fellow competitors from all over the world. Every competition was a stimulating experience and a rich fertile ground to sense different visions of the world and approaches to music.
The Christopher Parkening International Competition was particularly a memorable one, not only because it was and still is the top competition, but also because of its many unique attributes. It takes place in Malibu and back then was my very first time in California. I still remember my sense of excitement as I caught sight for the very first time of the Pacific Ocean. Pepperdine University where the competition is hosted has a truly breathtaking view of the vast ocean from across the campus which is a fantastic inspiration for music making accompanied by the warm, sunny weather.
The competition also promoted that we all spent time together as a community by staying at dorms and organizing community meals at the cafeteria which fostered an exciting cultural exchange between all of us competitors promoting opportunities to learn from each other and make new friends throughout the trial.
Today, now in my forties, I return as a judge and I am excited to be a part of what I know will be a memorable experience for young talented competitors from all over the world.