Carlos Ibarra is pursuing his D.M.A. degree at the University of Kansas, where he studies under Dr. Sam Um. Carlos also manages a private studio based in Oklahoma teaching beginning through advanced percussion students. Carlos has been invited to perform at the National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy in Memphis, Tennessee with the Colour Me Crimson Quartet and has presented masterclasses and concerts in Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and California. Carlos earned his Bachelor in Percussion Performance degree from Southeastern Oklahoma State University studying under Dr. Marc White and his Master of Music degree from the University of Oklahoma studying under Dr. Andrew Richardson and Dr. Emily Salgado.
R!S: How do you find new pieces that you are interested in playing? What factors do you consider when seeking out and/or choosing new solo or chamber repertoire?
Carlos Ibarra: One of the most efficient ways I look for new music is by going to as many concerts and recitals as I possibly can. A few factors I take into account are the date the piece was written, the diversity of my program in terms of instrumentation, diversity considerations of the composer, and the length of a piece.
R!S: What changes about the way you play a piece as you “live” with it for a while? Do you typically perform a piece once or multiple times?
CI: The longer I keep a piece in my hands, I find myself not only finding new ways to phrase certain passages, but I also find myself wanting to perform it in front of people more often. I believe that you won’t truly know what you want a piece to sound like without performing it at least a handful of times in front of various audiences.
R!S: In what ways is your instructor involved in your repertoire selection?
CI: While studying with Dr. Salgado and Dr. Richardson during my master’s degree, they really let me have my own choice of repertoire, which helped me a lot because it allowed me to choose pieces that I was truly passionate about.
R!S: Do you finish every piece that you start to learn? If not, why not? If a piece seems like a poor fit or you struggle with a piece, how do you proceed? Do you “bail” on the selection, or what changes do you make to allow yourself to complete it?
CI: I don’t finish every piece I start because sometimes I only want to play a couple of sections of a piece just to test it out. If I’m practicing a piece for a couple of days and I lose interest, I allow myself to choose something else, so long as I follow through with that next choice.
R!S: What is one particularly favorite piece of repertoire you’ve performed and why?
CI: One of my favorite pieces is “Variations on Lost Love” by David Maslanka. This piece has always been a favorite of mine because of the wide range of emotions that the composer presents through the work, and it is also written by one of my favorite composers!