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Cotham School

10 Questions: City Waits Award Winners​

The City Waits Awards from the Guild of Guardians of Bristol in association with Bristol Plays Music, are £750 bursaries awarded annually to young musicians who demonstrate outstanding musicianship and contribute to the good name of the city. The name dates back to medieval times when Bristol employed four minstrels to provide entertainment on key state or civil occasions.

Below we speak to recipient Carlos Rodriguez:


Carlos Rodriguez

How long have you been playing, and what made you choose the violin?
I have been playing the violin since I was six years old. I had been fascinated with music since I was a baby, but when I was walking with my grandfather and we saw a violinist on the street I became obsessed. My grandfather bought me my first violin for my sixth birthday – musically speaking, I owe him a lot because of this.

How often do you practice, and what do you enjoy practising?
I try to do as much practice as I can, fitting it around schoolwork, chamber rehearsals, orchestral rehearsals and music lessons. It never feels like enough! Sometimes practice can be tiring, but I always find it rewarding to practise the solo music of Bach, and learning new pieces is always exciting.

Who is your biggest inspiration?
There are a few musicians who really inspire me. Leonard Bernstein is an important figure to me because of his absolute all-round musicality and his passion for education, which I admire. The unique and wonderful musicianship of Carlos Kleiber and Ivry Gitlis also excites me.

What ambitions do you have as a musician?
As a musician I would say that my ambitions are to carry on exploring and discovering music, whether it be through teaching, performing, composing or academia. I definitely want to do all of these in my life. Music has such expressive potential and I would like to learn more about this both for myself and for others. My next step is to read music at university and then we’ll see where it goes from there!

Are you from a musical family?
Both my parents are very keen on music, and my mother plays the guitar and sings. Nobody in my family has studied music, however.

What is your best memory as a performer and why?
I would say that an amazing moment as a performer was when the quartet I was in performed Shostakovich’s eighth string quartet by candlelight. The work is so deeply moving and it was like rediscovering the work after months of practice – we did it in a beautiful church as well and it was our last concert all together, so it’s a lovely memory for me... Read more