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How this upcoming graduate ‘scaled’ into her future in piano

Gianluca Cuevas
Lauren Martinez finds a way to express herself through playing the piano.

Any artist or individual with a creative outlook knows that being recognized for their craft is the ultimate goal. To be seen for all their hard work and extensive amounts of trial and error is what most dreamers and achievers desire. Upcoming graduate student Lauren Martinez achieves her successes by staying true to herself and her music. 

Martinez will be obtaining her Master of Music degree in piano performance this spring. Within the last five years, Martinez has been studying and researching the works of Cuban pianist, Ernesto Lecuona. Lecuona’s work comprises of Latin, jazz and classical repertoires, influencing Martinez to follow the path her muse did, allowing her to dive into an immersive musical experience.

Martinez performed 18 works that featured her own arrangements and even debuted a composition at her most recent recital.

Martinez has been playing piano since she was 7 years old. It all started after visiting her grandmother, who owned a piano. Martinez reflects on growing up learning Lecuona’s craft. 

“When I was younger, (my grandmother) would always tell me that one day she’d like for me to play the music of Ernesto Lecuona. I’m now doing a whole lecture recital on his work. It’s crazy to see how full circle everything’s come.” Martinez said.  

Martinez says she was even able to meet Lecuona’s family and they have travelled to see her play. 

She says building her talent over a course of 16 years has been beneficial to her as she grows connections with the one who inspired her the most. 

“I wasn’t exactly sure what route I wanted to go with, the performance route or the teaching route. But by being here at UTEP and being inspired by so many excellent professors that we have in the department, I’m now looking at going down the research route of musicology.” Martinez said.

As graduation approaches, Martinez shares her goals after commencement. 

“What comes next is probably just more research in the field of music,” Martinez said. “My number one plan would be to write a biography that is accessible on this composer. Just to spread awareness of his life and his beautiful works that he’s composed, and it’s so important here too in El Paso because we’re right on the border of Mexico.”

She said working creatively is liberating but sometimes motivation can be hard to find. To stay motivated, Martinez said she has the ability to connect with people without saying anything verbally. 

“What keeps me so motivated is being able to touch people’s hearts no matter what language they speak or anything,” Martinez said. “At the end of the day, the music, it’s so universal and I get to play a part in that is really just the most amazing thing.”

Any student who is graduating soon, Martinez shared some advice with those starting out on their journeys.   

“It comes down to two things,” Martinez said. “You have to be prepared, preparing as best as you can because it’s not an easy degree. Another thing is just to really stay true to who you are.”  

In music, it is easy for an artist to get lost in their mind and contemplate their craft, but showcasing self-identity through the music performed can touch and inspire many people.

Marco Hinojosa is the audience and engagement editor and may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Marco Hinojosa
Marco Hinojosa, Audience and Engagement
Marco Hinojosa is the audience and engagement editor for The Prospector. He is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring multimedia journalism with a minor in criminal justice. He plans to broaden his horizons as a journalist and work for a major broadcast company.
Gianluca Cuevas
Gianluca Cuevas, Photographer
Gianluca Cuevas is a staff photographer for The Prospector. He is a senior majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in mathematics. He plans to work in the automotive industry designing cars/mechanic in the F1. He also has his small photography business 365elements which he plans to continue to grow.
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