Interview: Darwin Cosme - flutist and Artistic Director of the Puerto Rico Flute Symposium
Hi there Darwin! For starters, please tell us a little about yourself...
Hello Guilherme, thank you so much for inviting me. Well, where to start. I am a flutist and I have performed as a soloist, orchestral and chamber musician. Also, I’m the founder, Executive and Artistic Director of the Díaz-Del Moral Foundation and have been recently appointed to the board of directors of the New York Flute Club.
Where are you from, where did you grow up..
Well, I was born and raised in Arroyo, Puerto Rico . It is very hot but is full of history and I love it. I wouldn't change it. Currently I live in Hillside, New Jersey.
How did you start playing the flute? How did your passion for music start?
I actually didn't start playing the flute, my first instrument was the clarinet. I started music class in 7th grade at the insistence of my mother. As I was learning the clarinet my curiosity led me to the flute and the saxophone. It wasn't until 11th grade that I decided just to play the flute. My passion for music has always been there, I don’t why I’m so passionate about it, especially when you don’t come from a musical family. I want to think that music for me is very organic and it has chosen me since birth.
How many years have you been working as Artistic Director of the Puerto Rico Flute Symposium? What other festivals do you coordinate?
I have been artistic director of the Puerto Rico Flute Symposium for 2 years. Besides the PRFS I coordinate the Puerto Rico Summer Music Festival, and the Latin American Chamber Players which all operate under the umbrella of the Díaz-Del Moral Foundation.
What current projects have you been working on on a personal level and for the festivals you currently are the director of?
Recently as last week we ended a successful 2nd edition of the Puerto Rico Flute Symposium and the 3rd edition of the Puerto Rico Summer Festival which is an orchestral program. Other projects that are in the making are the new season of the Latin American Chamber Players, finishing the first phase of my flute catalog Flauta Latina and a few recitals coming their way in the fall.
What has been your most touching or amazing moment you've experienced as a musician?
I think one of the most touching experiences wasn't as a performer, but rather as a festival organizer. One night after an intense day of rehearsals and lessons a few members of the orchestra approached me and said Thank You. Not because they are in the festival, but for the feeling that they have a space where they felt loved, and encouraged. A place where they felt safe and where not judged by the color, gender, or religion. This for me is one of the most touching experiences.
What other musicians have been your inspiration?
I feel inspired by musicians that tell their stories of how they build themselves by the feeling that they don't belong but their perseverance, determination, and passion position them to where they are now.
Finally, what advice would you share with anyone starting in their career as a musician?
My biggest advice is to always have a vision of what you want to achieve, to always believe in yourself, and be determined towards your goal. Whenever you have an idea of a recital, chamber concert or soloist, and you think it's right, do it. One day a teacher told me, “you want to play with an orchestra? Write them an email, the worst thing that can happen is they would say no.” Never be afraid of rejection, let this be your fuel to keep thriving.
About the Artist
Award-winning Puerto Rican flutist Darwin Cosme has been an avid chamber musician, orchestra, and soloist. He has performed with the Philharmonia Symphony Orchestra, Amadeus Orchestra, Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, Casals Festival of Puerto Rico, and New York Chamber Players. He has been under the baton of Pablo Heras-Casado, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Helmuth Rilling, Carlos Botero, Maximiano Valdés, Victor Yampolsky to name a few. Motivated by his passion for chamber music and orchestras and the need to promote concerts, he created the Zafra Wind Quintett (2011) and Cosme-Zook Duo (2015).
In 2014, Darwin convened the summer orchestra "New Symphonic Project," conducted by Maestro Rafael Enrique Irizarry. After this year, Cosme organized this orchestra for the next two consecutive years, and it is from this event that emerged in 2017, the Puerto Rico Summer Music Festival. During the 2015-16 season, he completed a concert tour with Amanda Zook (Cosme-Zook Duo), performing in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and Canada. These concerts were sponsored by Project 142 and themselves. Darwin won 1st prize at the Toronto Latin American Flute Festival Chamber Music Competition with the Zafra Wind Trio and the Young Artists Competition at William Paterson University in New Jersey.
He has also been invited two consecutive years to the Toronto Latin American Flute Festival as a guest artist. In 2019, he was invited as an Artist in Residence by the Universidad Autónoma de Cuidad Juárez, Mexico, at the 1st Flute Week. During his residency, he presented recitals, lectures and performed with the Youth Symphony Orchestra of the university conducted by Maestro Lizandro Valentín García Alvarado. Darwin currently serves as founder, executive and artistic director of the Diaz-Del Moral Foundation, the Latin American Chamber Player in New York, Puerto Rico Flute Symposium and Puerto Rico Summer Festival. Cosme has also served on the board of directors of Project 142 and recently has been appointed to the New York Flute Club board. Darwin maintains a full concert schedule and is an artist from Celestine Flute Rexonator and Hernández Flutes.