Though there are thousands of languages and countless political differences across the world, people tend to come together through equally endless forms of music and dance. On THE SUITE, the Lowell Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Orlando Cela, focuses the lens on the Baroque dance suite as a method of expression that’s ripe for international flavor, artistic individualism, and human storytelling.

Today, Orlando is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our composers and performers. Read on to discover how living composers like Anthony R. Green and Jose Elizondo influence Orlando’s work every day…

What inspires you to write and/or perform?

I want to be a vessel for wonderful people’s wonderful stories. I live for the moments in which I am giving life to the creations of composers – good humans writing meaningful works of music; I’m the happiest when I am sharing their musical stories with the world.

Do you have any specific hopes about what this album will mean to listeners?

I just hope that Green’s and Elizondo’s works will be heard with the same seriousness as audiences usually listen to Bach and Telemann. Our living composers are living treasures, and their artistry is just, if not more important, than the other established composers in the album. And I hope that their works will be an inspiration to other composers as well.

How have your influences changed as you grow as a musician?

As I grew I realized that music cannot be insular. I rarely play music that has no deep meaning behind it, and those composers who have created works of music inspired by an important event, thought, or idea, have become my influences. Anthony Green’s work has become a guide to all my programming – am I doing enough good for the world when I perform?

What were your first musical experiences?

I remember when I was 13 and I performed flute for Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5. I was required to memorize it to show I was serious. I performed with a very famous harpsichord player, so I learned so much! And as destiny might have have it, I have performed with his grandson, and will perform with his son with the Lowell Chamber Orchestra.

How do you prepare for a performance?

The most important factor is knowing the music. Once I know the music, I become the means by which the rest of the ensemble can be efficient: I become the orchestra’s secretary, and I anticipate and attend to the needs of the ensemble and the musicians as we rehearse, in order for them to be at their freest and most creative.

What advice do you have for young musicians?

Be like rivers: flow in the direction of your dreams, no matter the obstacles – go around them, above them, etc. Like a river, allow people to float on you and go with you; like rivers bring water to flora and fauna, bring life to others along your journey. Rivers are sometimes a trickle, sometimes rapids, sometimes frozen, but even under the ice, they keep flowing forward, and young musicians should go thus in the directions of their dreams: no matter the season, sometimes it will be easy, sometimes almost impossible, but keep moving forward.

Explore Orlando’s Latest Release

THE SUITE - album cover


THE SUITE is available now from Navona Records. Click here to visit the catalog page and explore this album.