This artist profile was written with DoubleBassHQ 2021 intern Eli Somersett.
Rodrigo Mata is an extremely creative upcoming double bassist, composer, and band leader from Guanajuato, Mexico. He has an amazing passion for the double bass community that everyone should keep an eye out for.
Recently, Jason Heath had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Rodrigo Mata and talk with him about his career so far, how he has achieved his goals, and discuss the myriad of projects he has going on right now. Currently Rodrigo is studying in Oslo, Norway at the Norwegian Academy of Music. In the interview Mr. Mata had this to say about what the current situation is like in Norway right now during the pandemic:
“In different moments, but right now things are slower, once more, and I say once more, because during the summer it was almost normal. Especially concerts, classes, but now it is slowing down again. We hope to come back next week. I hope so, but regulations are changing every time. So we don’t know what’s actually happening”.
Although, the world may be going through a pandemic right now, that hasn’t stop Rodrigo Mata in any way, shape, or form. He is constantly working on new material, and helping organizing events for the double bass community at large. He had this to say in the interview:
“This last year, 2020. It was my best year for composing. It is Corona time but I really got deep into the composition, and I’m very delighted because I won the first prize in the big competition. I am very happy with that”.
The competition that Mr. Mata is referring to in the quote that he won is the International Society of Bassists’ David Walter Composition Competition.
Mr. Mata truly is a community organizer in the double bass world, and has many projects going on right now. He is the founder of the bass ensemble group known as Mushamukas. Their main goal is to highlight new talent in the double bass world, as well as help train musicians in becoming more proficient in chamber music, and double bass technique.
If you also wish to learn more about Mushamukas you can follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
Latin Orchestra of Europe
Mr. Mata is also working with the Latin Orchestra of Europe. Mr. Mata stated this when talking about working with this group:
“I’m also working on another really important project this year. You know this project as the Latin Orchestra of Europe. Yeah it is an interesting project, it is in Germany, like the main office, but it is open to every musician that wants to work with Latin American soloists, and with Latin American conductors, and this year it will be the first international online competition in the double bass version”.
Mr. Mata is the composer in residence for this competition and has written a piece of music that will be used in the semi-final round.
Learn more about the International Online Competition for Double Bass hosted by the Latin Orchestra of Europe and how you can participate here.
Mr. Mata also talked about what is was like growing up, and how he moved towards this path in life. Mr. Mata said this about his early childhood:
“When I was a little kid I didn’t compose absolutely, but my mom tells me that I always used to sing any melody. It seems like I sing whatever I got in my mind. So music has been present in my life since I can remember, but I started to compose formally I must say in the last ten years. So I started to compose for Double Bass when I noticed we do not have enough music to play in Double Bass Ensemble. So I just said why not?”
Mr. Mata continued, stating that:
“My Father played guitar, and in a simple way I started to play. It was just a compelling way to make a sound and also I had an affinity to play something and to know the music and the melody but not just that but to know the notes, know the scales, and in a formal way I started after high school, but when I was young I played in rock bands; this is really funny, but I played, you know this, Korn, and Nirvana”.
Discovering His Passions
Even through Rodrigo Mata is an amazing double bassist, and composer, he actually hasn’t been playing double bass along as some of his colleagues, as he states:
“So I didn’t start with Double Bass until the age of 18 maybe a little late in the normal way, but it is the way I had to arrive at this career so I am happy to have this kind of career. It is so interesting to discover music when you are not in a musical environment, and you have to look for the academics, looking for the teachers, looking for if there is any music career to start. Because I didn’t know about musical studies before I started. So in Mexico it is not a very, or it is maybe not a very common career, the music. The arts are not easy to study. So it is interesting to discover it this way, the music”.
Mr. Mata is a hard-working individual who although may have started later into to this career than others in the profession. He has already shown what he can bring to the table. Mr. Mata also is a great example of the idea that anything is possible if you set your mind to it and to be never be discouraged to start something new that you always wanted to try.
As stated before Mr. Mata is an amazing composer of music for double bass, and really tries to show his Hispanic and Latin influences in his music. He has regularly been commissioned to write for solo double bass, and has stated this about his foray into that realm,
“So the first piece I wrote for Double Bass solo is celebrating his (David Heyes’) 60th birthday. It is a very short piece named Zephyr. After that I started to compose in different projects for example the tribute to Tony Osbourne and the celebration to Franco and Teppo Hauta-Aho’s 80th birthday and this year there will be two more projects. I will premiere tomorrow one of these project compositions. One is celebrating Francois Rabbath’s 90th birthday and the other one is celebrating the 80th birthday of Gray Karr. So this piece for Gray Karr I will premiere together with Mushamukas.”
As you can see Mr. Mata really never stops doing what he loves to do; from playing, and learning about double bass to composing for it, and leading a bass ensemble. It is amazing to see someone so early on in their career do so much already. It is exciting to see what the future holds for Mr. Mata and the works of art he plans on sharing with the rest of the world.
Mr. Mata had this one last thing to say in the interview:
“I want to say thank you because it is a great opportunity to get my music in your store, in your music store; and try to share my music with people, and more bassists, and I’m looking for ensembles too. I’m looking to hear others play my music”.
Purchase Rodrigo’s Music in our shop
About the Author
Eli Somersett is completing his degree at Appalachian State University with an internship with us. We’re so thrilled to have him on board for the semester!