"I fully connect with the music I am playing to reach the audience directly and honestly"

Photo: Edgar Lled
25/04/2017
Anna Torres
Laia Puig, professional cellist and UOC graduate

 

A whole life dedicated to music. This could be the description of cellist Laia Puig's 37 years. Her training began at the age of six and she spent nine years at the universities of Graz, Basel and Berlin. Throughout this time, she achieved her place among the virtuosos who play this instrument. She has been a soloist with the Orquestra Simfnica del Valls at the Palau de la Msica Catalana and the Orquestra de Cambra del Garraf at the Pau Casals International Music Festival, among others. Her concerts have earned her awards on numerous occasions, such as those from the Germans Claret and Ciutat de Xtiva contests, to name but a few. She is currently a member of the cello quartet Les Mademoicelli and a teacher at El Liceu and Cervera professional conservatoires. In 2012 she completed the master's degree in Cultural Management at the UOC to train in another field that interests her.

 

Has training in other countries enriched you culturally?

I think that living abroad is enriching in all respects, not only culturally, as it gives you a perspective through which you can question many aspects of your individual and collective identity. I would recommend that any student should experience training abroad.

How do you feel when you are a soloist? Do you think about the audience watching and listening to you or are you so immersed in the music that you are unaware of them?

Playing solo makes me feel privileged. Each concert is a unique event, where you experience all kinds of emotions with great intensity. Personally, when I perform I fully connect with the music I am playing because I think it is the most direct and honest way to get the message to the audience.

"Each concert is a unique event, where you experience all kinds of emotions with great intensity"

 

What does winning an award mean to you?

Awards have never been very important to me. What I find interesting and stimulating is the personal challenge of participating in a contest, as it involves great effort, discipline and commitment, and that can only make you grow as a musician and a person. Obviously, awards are very gratifying and the recognition is important, but this cannot be the only goal.

How can we introduce children to classical music? At home, at school...?

You have to find creative ways in all environments. Children need to have fun and be excited about classical music, and children's concerts must be intelligent and have quality musicians. We must not forget that a child's imagination is unlimited and the more creative the message we send, the more interesting it will be to them.

"Children's concerts must be intelligent and have quality musicians"

 

You combine concerts with teaching at El Liceu and Cervera professional conservatoires. What makes a good teacher, someone who shapes the education of children and youths?

For me, a good teacher is capable of understanding the psychology and needs of each student and can help them grow personally, while guiding them in learning their instrument and their overall education as a musician. A good teacher has to teach much more than technical resources.

Five years ago, in 2012, you completed the master's degree in Cultural Management at the UOC. What has this contributed to your personal and professional life?

Studying the master's degree and having worked as a cultural manager has enabled me to get to know and value all the tasks necessary to complete a project. I think it would be very positive for the whole cultural sector if there were more managers from the artistic world and more artists with knowledge of management.

Why did you choose to study this subject?

Because I knew I had artistic concerns and wanted to initiate my own projects, and I lacked the resources to develop my initiatives. In fact, my final master's degree project focused on managing a chamber orchestra and led to the creation of the Camerata432, the resident orchestra of the Schubertada in Vilabertran, of which I was artistic director until last year. And I am now continuing with my own new projects, such as the cello quartet Les Mademoicelli.

What surprised you most about studying online?

The freedom of being able to go on learning from anywhere in the world and at a time that suits me. I still remember when I was touring and, after the concerts, I shut myself in my hotel room to finish the ongoing assessment tests on time!

How do you combine concerts, chamber music, teaching and cultural management today?

I now devote three afternoons to teaching and use my remaining time I try to find the right balance to develop my own projects, participate in the initiatives that I find more artistically interesting and continue growing as a musician and a person. It is not easy to find this balance but I think I am learning over time!