Inspiring Artists Stories
Today we'd like to introduce you to Victor Gutierrez
Current Location: Anaheim, CA
Victor, thank you for taking the time to share your story. Could you start by telling us a little about yourself?
I grew up loving music! I started music at a young age playing the flute. After a while of playing the flute, I got pretty bored and decided to switch my instrument to oboe! I immediately fell in love with music all over again! I was the principal oboe player for the Canyon High School band and orchestra for 3 years, plus I was principal oboist for the Irvine Classical Players Orchestra, ICPO, in Irvine. I felt the happiest during my final years of high school, but I felt like there was something missing. During my last semester of my senior year, I decided to stop trying so hard in the high school band and auditioned for the new a capella group directed by choir director Ariel May. I had never sang in public before so I was a nervous wreck during auditions. After my audition, I got a callback. I was incredibly surprised. I didn’t know how to sing, let alone maintain a steady pitch. After the audition process was over, I was fortunate enough to get a spot as a tenor. My whole musical world came to a sudden stop. My heart was racing.
After a short time of being a member of the a cappella group, I auditioned for my very first musical, Once On This Island. Going into my audition, I had the same mindset as my a cappella audition. I generally thought I couldn’t sing. After the audition process was over, I got a spot as an ensemble member for my very first musical! During this time, everything changed for me. I was a part of the high school musical, the very first a cappella group, and was still principal oboe player for the high school band and orchestra. Upon graduation, I continued auditioning and acting for many shows and went off to study Flute and Music Theory/Composition at Santa Ana College.
During my time at Santa Ana College, I wrote a couple pieces for chamber ensembles. I was in the Santa Ana College production of Heathers. I went off to write music for an original play titled One, directed by William Mittler. I also scored two student films produced by Santa Ana College, directed by Christopher Cannon. After completing my studies at Santa Ana College I transferred to Cal State University, Fullerton to major in Flute Performance.
I really loved performing but after two years, I transferred into the Music Composition program. Within my first year in the music composition program, I worked on two student films and got an incredible opportunity to write music for the Brightwork New Music Ensemble, where they read and premiered an original work. I am currently finishing up my last year at Cal State Fullerton along with finishing up repertoire for my senior graduate recital. With all my acting experience in musical theater, my focus as a composer was to be a musical theater composer. But I also have a soft spot for film scoring, So ultimately I decided to switch my focus and become a film composer.
Can you tell us a little more about what you've been working on recently?
I am currently working on three major projects. My first project is a saxophone quartet titled “Hero’s Journey.” This piece is about a hero who is battling his inner demons and finding ways out of his dark thoughts. The hero is battling depression and anxiety. The hero goes on a quest, not to save a princess, but to fight his mental illnesses. There is a moment where my hero theme and my anti-hero theme are battling each other, and this battle symbolizes my hero fighting and wanting to survive. The piece concludes with my hero going home happy and becomes a better person than when he started.
My second project is a musical that I am working on with another composer at Cal State Fullerton. This musical is about the Virgin Mary and Jesus during the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy. It is still in the works so I can’t really talk too much about it. My last project is a full orchestra piece titled “Last Breath.” This piece is inspired by the death of George Floyd. This piece is going to talk about the police brutality and the social injustice that is rooted within our society. This piece will talk about the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and will support the BLM movement.
I also have one small project that I’ve been working on. That project is working with a flute quartet to premiere my original piece titled “Lost Memory.”
The road of the artist is a sometimes long and bumpy road. Have you had to overcome any on your journey?
One of the biggest obstacles I’ve ever had to face is working 2 part time jobs while going to school full-time, in addition to that, finding time to compose. I get stressed very easily so the only way I was able to overcome this stressful time was to create office-hours for myself and schedule literally everything I did. On top of that, I had to financially support my family. I felt guilty that my mom was paying for everything. The least I could do is get another job and help in any way possible.
Are there any lessons that you've learned along your journey so far? Something that you'd want to tell your younger self?
Be patient with yourself. This is the biggest lesson that I have learned. I would want to tell my younger self to relax a little bit and to choose your own path because you are the author of your own story.
What inspires you? Can you tell us about a moment in your life you found to be inspirational?
My inspiration comes from socializing with other actors, dancers, performers, composers, musicians, and film creators. Talking with them, laughing with them, and crying with them inspire me to create. Socializing with all types of artists inspires me to tell the stories that I feel that need to be told.
What do you consider your proudest moment?
I feel like every accomplishment I’ve had up until now would be considered my proudest moment.
The mission of The Rose is to make the arts accessible in the community. What purpose do you think the arts or artists play in today's society?
Artists and the arts play an important part in our society. They create music, they create TV shows, they create movies, they create books, and allow us to escape our daily problems and live in a world that they have created. They allow us to express things that words necessarily can’t. Tharts is truly a wonderful thing.
CSUF School of Music
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