An Interview with Wharton Arts faculty member Valdemar Castillo
Born and raised in Jersey City, Valdemar Castillo is a dedicated and passionate trumpet player with a Bachelor of Music degree in Classical Performance from New Jersey City University, a degree he pursued while completing the requirements for teaching credentials for the state of New Jersey. He continued his studies under trumpet pedagogue Joe Burgstaller, former Canadian Brass member and faculty at Peabody Conservatory and Arizona State University. Castillo received a Master of Music degree from Arizona State University and was recently the runner-up in the Naval Academy Band audition, one of two premiere United States Navy ensembles.
Q: What do you enjoy most about teaching?
A: Seeing the student’s progress. Nothing compares to seeing a child’s face light up from their own accomplishments. I’m just happy to be able to guide them to it.
Q: How has the pandemic changed teaching for you?
A: Music is such an in-person experience that it can be difficult to hear properly and listen properly online. It’s required me to listen to students 100% harder and make sure that they are always heading in the right direction. Upgrading my mics has been a lifesaver. As long as the student has a good sound model, that’s half the battle!
Q: Favorite work for the trumpet?
A: My favorite work for the trumpet has always been Centennial Horizon by Kevin McKee. It’s a gorgeous work with beautiful lyricism and flashy technical passages. What more can a trumpet player ask for!
Q: How are you keeping sane during COVID-19?
A: I miss playing with others and playing in halls for sure, but my twin babies at home are keeping me sane during the pandemic. Being home with them during this time is really a blessing. So the pandemic is really bittersweet!
Valdemar can be heard on the upcoming virtual Salon Series concert on Sunday, November 8 at 7:00 p.m. EST performing works by Pennuquin, Marcello, Gershwin, and Kevin McKee, among others. Tune in to the free livestream on WhartonArts.tv.