Senior Ruiz conducts Mexican Orchestra in Mexico City

Maija Anstine

Senior Rodrigo Ruiz conducted his orchestral debut with the Mexican Orchestra of the Arts Feb. 6 at a concert in the Sala Nezahualcóyotl in Mexico City.
Ruiz, who will return to Lawrence spring term of this year to give his senior piano recital and to graduate, has been on leave from Lawrence for fall and winter terms.
The concert included three works by Beethoven: the Leonore Overture No. 3, the Fifth Symphony and the Emperor Concerto, which featured Mauricio Nader as the piano soloist.
“It was a blast. the hall was almost fully filled; we had 1,850 people there!” commented Ruiz.
A piano performance major originally from Baja California, Ruiz approached Professor of Music and Director of Orchestral Studies David E. Becker two years ago, interested in a private conducting tutorial.
“I do think that Rodrigo has great potential to grow in the art of conducting,” commented Becker, calling Ruiz’s time spent studying in Mexico this fall “a most unusual and incredible opportunity to get his feet wet as a student conductor in the country he’s from.”
Ruiz explained that he has been practicing piano and conducting independently during his time away from Lawrence. “I am enjoying my time over here in Mexico, and I have learned a great deal in these past months.”
Becker cited Ruiz’s love both for music and humanity as traits that serve him well as a conductor. “He loves sharing [music] with people.”
“This experience in Mexico he’s going through is teaching him how much commitment it takes in this profession that we’re in,” Becker continued.
Ruiz was invited to have his debut through the Talentos Artisticos: Valores de Baja California, a program offered through the Cultural Institute of Baja California. “It is a huge thrill to work with an orchestra like this, especially in the Sala Nezhualcóyotl, which is the most important hall in Mexico,” he said.
Ruiz’s future plans include more orchestral concerts featuring music of every era with the Mexican Orchestra of the Arts as well as student and youth orchestras. He explained, “I will keep doing what I’m doing, in short, but more, and better.”
Added Ruiz, “I hope to soon go back to Lawrence and conduct some more over there, too, though. I enjoy working with the LSO so much. Becker and I are seeing some possibilities for this.”
Becker agreed that he looks forward to meeting with Ruiz to discuss “his present experience and what his future will hold.