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An extraordinary flutist

  • Portrait of Cristina Santirso dressed for a concert and with her flute in her hand.

When you meet a young person who exudes strength and joy, it naturally arouses special interest.

By striking up a conversation and discovering a deep passion backed by remarkable effort and iron discipline, there is an additional incentive to want to learn more about their life and career path. This is precisely what I experienced when I met Cristina, which is why this interview is particularly appealing to me.

Cristina Santirso was born in Avilés in 1997 and is a young, but talented Spanish flutist. His passionate musical journey began at the early age of 6 at the "Miguel Barrosa" Municipal School of Music in Carreño, where he received his first Flute lessons with the outstanding teacher Begoña Vázquez Rodríguez. Progressing in her training, she continued her studies at the Municipal Professional Conservatory "Julián Orbón" in Avilés, where under the tutelage of the same educator, she managed to stand out obtaining honors in her specialty.

At the astonishing age of 7, Cristina joined the Children's Choir of the "Golden Lion", directed by Elena Rosso Valiña, with which she garnered prestigious awards both nationally and internationally, participating in renowned musical competitions in Toulouse, Italy, Hungary, France and Bulgaria, among many others. Her talent has also led her to collaborate with renowned orchestras such as the Principality of Asturias Symphony Orchestra, as well as in different tributes in which we highlight the one made to the Moscow virtuoso Yuri Nasushkin and performances as special as the one made with Woody Allen.

In addition to her flute skills, Cristina entered the world of piano in 2007, receiving lessons from the talented Elena Rosso Valiña at the "Miguel Barrosa" School. This instrumental duality led her to obtain the title of Elementary Degree in piano.

Cristina has not stopped in all these years participating in chamber groups, events, musical productions (highlighting "Kodama", "Jesus Christ Superstar" or "Company" by Antonio Banderas) ... her versatility has also led her to play as a soloist with the "Julián Orbón", interpreting Cécile Chaminade's Concertino.  In 2010 he received classes at the "Carnegie Hall Academy" in the United States.

Starting your musical training at such a young age, how did your family environment influence your musical development? Did you already have the firm determination to become a musician from such a young age?

I was a very restless child and a friend started teaching dance and my parents decided to get me in too, but I didn't pay attention to the teacher or the dance. Then my parents changed their strategy and signed me up for music lessons and it was a success because the melodies calmed me down and that's how I started to fall in love with the flute. Of course, the support of my family has been instrumental in developing my music career. It is very hard to combine school, high school and leaving class to continue studying what you really like. Arriving at the conservatory at nine o'clock at night and studying for the next day's math exam... Without the support of my parents it would have been impossible.

What is your day-to-day life like as a musician?

Of course, every day you have to practice to maintain musical ability. My routine is to do a warm-up, long notes, chops (instrumental technique) and I almost always end with paganini's C.5 for flute. For the last three years I have been in the orchestra of the Teatro Príncipe Pío and how can I say no, if I can combine it, in the multitude of collaborations that they offer me. For example, from December 2nd I will be at the Teatro Real performing Verdi's opera Rigoletto with the company. With all this, I try to make the normal life of a girl my age. It is very clear to me that in order to transmit with music you have to live; laughing, crying, socializing... and thus be able to share those feelings through the melodies.

As I talk to Cristina, I reaffirm my first impression, it's a whirlwind!! His travels, his teachers, the importance of making classical music attractive in order to attract new generations. The projects at the Teatro Príncipe Pío, "Callas Holograma" or "Cineman" with Daniel Diges, he also tells me that a year ago he bought an apartment in the center of Madrid (I mention it because I think it is important that at only 25 years old you can buy your own apartment in the capital, without a doubt. it means that he is doing things very well). He talks to me about the Excelencia Foundation and his work with the Madrid Symphony Orchestra and how essential it is to go to the gym, take care of body and mind... It's no wonder that you need to prepare, physically and emotionally, with this hustle and bustle of life you lead, right?

Can you share any memorable or funny anecdotes from your experiences in the world of music?

You're going to laugh, she tells me with a smile, I was all over the news thanks to Queen Letizia. At that time I was taking part in the summer music courses of the Princess of Asturias Foundation, I don't know if it was always like that, but that year on the opening day Doña Letizia was present at the event. Logically, the students had to play a piece to demonstrate our skill and liven up part of the event, and being outdoors a blow of air revolutionized my scores. I don't understand how, but I found La Reina next to me holding the lectern and helping me with the scores. I think he must have quite a few notions of music because he gave me the feeling that he was reading the notes at the same time as I was. At the end of the performance he stayed for a few moments talking affectionately with me, the journalists made countless recordings and photos that appeared in all the press. Look who has helped your daughter? They told my parents, nothing more and nothing less than a queen, and it really was.

You are still very young and have a long way to go, where do you want to go with your profession in the future?

I would love to continue my career as a flutist, but I would like, within this world, to do other kinds of things. I have a passion for management, maybe organizing an orchestra or a musical, good musicians with our type of training can also stand out outside of classical music... Maybe do something so different that concept doesn't even exist yet. Of course, we will continue to learn and evolve.

Thinking even more that you are an example considering how old you are, what advice would you give to boys your age?

The most important thing, surrounding yourself with the right people, people who complement you and support you, is the way to go on the right path and achieve the goals you set for yourself in life.

Cristina also has a particular ability that not all musicians, by the mere fact of being musicians, have or acquire, called "perfect pitch". A skill related to auditory memory that allows you to identify a particular note without having any kind of reference. I'm sure that this circumstance enhances even more the success in his musical career, but I think it has nothing to do with his lively and decisive character. 

I'm really curious to keep in touch with her and see how she evolves and see where she's able to go. I hope that in a few years I will be able to do another interview with him to tell you about all the successes that I am sure he will have. But not too many, I'm the one who's already at an important age!