OCSA Senior Rodrigo Rodriguez is a YoungArts Finalist!


This picture is of Rodrigo Rodriguez practicing at Carnegie Hall in 2019.

Emilyanne Richart, Reporter

To OCSA Senior and Band Major, Rodrigo Rodriguez, “art is a means to connect with people and influence them to become better humans.” This dedication to his art is apparent in his numerous accomplishments within the music scene. Whether it be receiving the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award or being featured on a National Public Radio (NPR) show, Rodriguez is always searching for ways to pursue his passion for music. His newest accomplishment is his finalist position in the National YoungArts competition in the area of classical music. YoungArts is a prestigious national foundation that helps musicians, such as Rodriguez, advance their careers while providing them with an opportunity to work will their art-oriented peers.

According to its website, “YoungArts identifies the most accomplished young artists in the visual, literary, and performing arts, and provides them with creative and professional development opportunities throughout their careers.” After hearing about the competition from OCSA alumni and friends at the National Youth Orchestra, Rodriguez decided to research the organization. He states that after being moved by the performances on YouTube, he was influenced to audition.

It is obvious that Rodriguez has been very busy, where he has spent the past few months practicing the flute daily (for about 3 hours), balancing school and art life, and completing audition materials for colleges. But now, after winning this award, it is clear that his years of hard work is paying off. Rodriguez states that practicing for this competition “has been a long way of hard work, but [is] very rewarding… I can say that when you are disciplined and believe in the impossible, nothing will stop you.”

But the question is raised, what are Rodrigo’s next steps? Luckily, this organization doesn’t simply recognize talent of young artists, but instead, aids them in the advancement of their art. Finalists attend National YoungArts week in January, where they have the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded artists to develop their artistic skills. Furthermore, Rodrigo sees himself pursuing art as a career in the near future. At the moment, he is in the process of college auditions and hopes to “get into a great [college] that will keep contributing to my artistic growth, and guide me towards my goals being an orchestral musician, and having a group of Latin music which I would tour with around the world.”

Rodrigo has a few words to say to young artists: “Finally, I would like for the young artists to believe in the impossible and believe in themselves, because that’s one of the greatest things you can do. I never expected to be selected as a finalist, specially while looking at previous participants, however I knew it was not something impossible. It was by putting all the hard work, and thinking of what can I do to make myself stand out that I was able to achieve. So I encourage other[s] to find their own voice, and find what makes them unique, because by taking advantage of that, it will take them very far, and most importantly always staying humble.”