Sofia Ros González
“My name is Sofia Ros and I am a classical accordionist, I am 18 years old and currently studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with the Serbian accordionist Djordje Gajic. I was originally born in the Canary Islands in Spain although I grew up most of my life in Santander, a small city in the north Spanish coast, where I begun my musical education at the age of 6.
I come from a family full of musicians, both of my parents started teaching me music since I was very small and there was always a musical atmosphere at home. At the age of 6, I started playing accordion at the conservatoire in Santander where I stayed for 7 years. I went to my first international accordion competition in Castelfidardo (Italy) at the age of 9, where I was awarded 3rd prize and started giving concerts and attending other competitions in Spain, Germany and Italy. When I was 12, I finished my musical studies in Spain and attended the accordion summer course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where I met my current accordion professor. He suggested I should audition to St. Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh to continue my musical education, and so I did and gained a place in 2016. My parents couldn’t afford to move to Scotland, so I moved to the boarding house and studied at the school for 4 years, wining the 2020 annual Directors Recital Prize. Attending this school was a huge motivation for me as we were constantly surrounded by inspiring teachers and students who were passionate about music. While studying at the school, I got awarded 1st at various National and international competitions. I was also lucky to get the chance to perform twice as a soloist with orchestra in international music festivals in 2018 and 2019. I am now finishing my first year at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and I have been playing accordion for nearly 12 years. I continue to study with the same teacher and I am so grateful to have received the 1st prize at online competitions throughout the year including the Grand Prix at London Young Musician of the Year 2020/21.
I decided to start playing the accordion as it has always been a popular instrument in my family, my mum used to play when she was small and my grandfather also loves playing folk Spanish music on the accordion. At the moment, I am living in Glasgow and so I have to attend online and in-person lessons in the conservatoire which consists on different lectures in music history, musicianship skills, harmony, improvisation, music technology and recording etc., but also accordion lessons, rehearsing chamber music and performance classes. Last year, in St. Mary’s music School in Edinburgh, I also received violin lessons with Ruth Crouch and piano lessons with Elena Fisher-Diskau and I was part of the school orchestra. Before the pandemic, we used to attend at least a concert a week with the school to watch unmissable performances from really incredible musicians such as Nicolas Altstaedt, Nicola Benedetti, Anna-Sophie Mutter, Joshua Bell, Pekka Kuusisto, Maxim Vengerov, Robin Tciatti.., often playing with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra or the Royal National Scottish Orchestra as well as other international orchestras. We were also very lucky to attend various Opera performances as well as having lots of performing opportunities almost every week. I normally practice 3/4 hours a day although if I have a competition or concert coming up I would practice up to 7/8 hours a day depending on the situation. Outside of my musical studies, I really enjoy going for walks and exploring different places in the city and traveling abroad as well as meeting friends outdoors.
Apart from musical activities, I am also really passionate about art in general. I have been taking drawing lessons since I was 5, I also did ballet for 10 years and I really enjoy reading books and modern art.
I started playing golf even before I started playing the accordion and although I don’t train as much now as I used to, I was part of the Spanish team back at home in Santander and we used attend competitions and had a training program.
Music has always meant everything to me. I grew up surrounded by a musical atmosphere and I can’t imagine myself doing something different. I love learning new things and getting inspiration from other artists and being able to express myself through my instrument, and I would like to keep working to find my own ‘voice’ in the future. After the pandemic, lots of plans that I had prepared in terms of concerts had to be cancelled or postponed so I decided to start working on my recordings but also to find different ways of being heard by other musicians abroad. I did some research online and decided to apply to London Young Musician and entered the Musician of the Year 20-21. It is quite funny with recording preparation, because things never go fully as planned. I was really lucky to have the chance to record at the ‘Palacio de La Magdalena’ in Santander, a really well-known palace where the Spanish Royal family used to stay for their holidays, but on the recording day, I was playing through the whole program and in the gap in between pieces, my mother thought it was the end of the program and stoped the recording, which meant I had to run through everything again. After this happened, I run through the program again and I had to stop in the middle as they had to show the room around to some tourists who were visiting the palace. When you are recording, you have to be really patient, it is a process which you can’t rush and you have to be fully prepared and full of energy. Recording this performance for the competition was a learning experience and it will for sure help me in the future.
For the competition final (London Young Musician of the Year) I played 2 contrasting pieces; Sonata k.141 in D minor by Domenico Scarlatti and Cordoba by Isaac Albeniz. I feel really attached to both of these pieces and although they were composed at completely different periods there is still a connection between them somehow. Scarlatti was an Italian baroque composer who lived most of the his life in Spain, working in the court, and he was passionate about flamenco, the Spanish tradition and culture which can clearly be seen in his compositions. This can be recognized in his sonata k.141, and I think it links really well to the second piece, Cordoba which really exposes the Spanish harmonies and rhythms. Performing this program feels really natural to me and it feels like I can just let the music flow and enjoy the performance.
I strongly think that recording nowadays, specially after the pandemic is really important for any performing artist. More and more, music is now being delivered through online concerts and online competitions are not only a way of remaining motivated to learn new repertoire but also an opportunity to improve your recording and performing skills. It was an amazing experience to take part in London Young Musician competitions, and I specially enjoyed the warm and friendly atmosphere there was between the organization and contestants, but also from jury members and audience. I hope to meet them all in person sometime!
Winning London Young Musician of the Year has given me an extra push to keep practicing and working hard everyday day but also to think about new projects for the near future. Being a musician takes a lot of hard work, many hours of practice, dedication but most important of all, support. I am so grateful to everyone who has supported me these past years, specially my accordion professor Djordje Gajic, and I really look forward to the rest of my time at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, it has been an amazing journey!
At the moment I’m working on perfecting new solo and chamber music repertoire for the end of year recital at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and also preparing for various future competitions. Looking ahead, I am really looking forward to future performance engagements in Spain and the United States, where I will be performing Piazzolla’s Aconcagua Concerto with the Irving Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Hector Guzman in Dallas, Texas February 2022. For the CD project, I think it would be very interesting to record various contrasting pieces by composers like Domenico Scarlatti, Isaac Albeniz, Enrique Granados and Joaquin Turina, which were all composed n Spain. Although Scarlatti was a baroque Italian composer, his music has clearly been influenced by flamenco as he spent a big part of his life living in Madrid. As I grew up in this country, I naturally feel really attached to its culture and tradition, and the same happens when I perform. I feel these pieces would make a good contrast in the recording and it would be a good way to share Spanish music and transcriptions for accordion into the world of classical music.
It can be quite overwhelming to have a settled date where you have to perform your program to a jury/audience or a recording session, but instead you can think of it as a chance to practice towards a goal and give your best at the performance. Music is not about wining competitions but you should see them as a motivation to give your best, a way of meeting other musicians who are in the same position as you are, getting constructive feedback from the juries and sharing what you have to say with the audience.
I just want to say thank you to everyone who has been involved in the London Young Musician competition; the juries, organization, contestants etc. It has been an incredible experience and the musical atmosphere has been really inspiring and energizing. My very best wishes to everyone!”