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José Muñoz (13): The Clarinet Prodigy from Tarifa is Conquering Andalucía

Martín Serrano · Photos: Fran Montes

José Muñoz (13): The Clarinet Prodigy from Tarifa is Conquering Andalucía | Campo de Gibraltar

This kid deserves recognition… This is the resounding success story of the 13-year-old clarinettist José Muñoz Román who has taken a place in the Youth Orchestra of Andalucía (OJA), after coming 5th out of 90 people competing to take a place in it.

Pepe, as he is commonly know, is a child in the broadest sense of the word: A third-year student at ESO (and a good student at that), who was a little shy and at times had few words to say, but endowed with an exceptional talent in playing the clarinet. He continues improving his art, with beautiful melodies and great technical skill.

This comes as no surprise. His father José Muñoz is a clarinet teacher at the La Línea Professional Conservatory, where our young clarinettist studies in fourth grade, and performs in concerts. His mother, Mariluz Román, is a ‘mezzo-soprano’ and also a student at the ‘Superior Conservatory of Singing’ in Malaga.

We should not forget to mention eight-year-old Carlos, the youngest member of the family, who is already starting to get to grips with the oboe.

Quite an environment to be brought up in, right Pepe? “Yes, I was listening to music all day” says the child, and the father clarifies “for the record, we never forced him. Actually, he always warned us he would not be following our footsteps.”

And it came from him and him alone, the desire to play the clarinet. How so? “Because my aunt María Cana played and I loved it, so I said I wanted to play the clarinet.” The local marching band together with his teacher, Juan Jesús Domínguez, whose influence had a lot to do with it. Pepe Muñoz took his first clarinet class at the age of eight.

José Muñoz Román, la Orquesta Joven de Andalucía

His parents explained that their son is a true lover of the instrument, “it’s not like we have to push him to play; quite the opposite.”

When he was twelve years old, he decided to apply to the prestigious Orchestral Academy of the Barenboim Foundation. He wasn’t accepted due to his young age, but his qualities as a clarinettist did not go unnoticed.

This talented young man did not give up, and that same year he won first prize in the VI soloist competition of the ‘Muñoz Molleda’ conservatory in La Línea. Then he decided to take part in the selection tests for the OJA, encouraged by José Luis García Vegara, oboe soloist at the Radio Frankfurt Symphony Orchestra.

“He told me to sign up and now I’m part of the orchestra, and I’m going to play with them. I came out fifth out of ninety,” he calmly adds. He is probably the youngest candidate ever to have managed this in the history of the OJA.

José Muñoz Román, la Orquesta Joven de Andalucía

At the age of thirteen, the clarinettist from Tarifa appeared before a jury of professionals and performed Concert Number 1 for clarinet and orchestra by Carl María von Weber. The audience was enthralled and dazzled.

“I wasn’t that nervous,” he confesses, and his father adds, “he showed great maturity. They were looking for musicality and rhythm and they appreciated his technique despite his young age.”

Now, the youngest member of the orchestra – the average age is somewhere between 23 and 25 years old – will answer the call of the OJA directors and he will now take part in their concerts. “It’s a door opening, although the road ahead will be difficult.”

José Muñoz Román, la Orquesta Joven de Andalucía

What’s your target? “I would like to play at the Frankfurt Orchestra.” His parents smile.

He’ll do great!

José Muñoz (13): The Clarinet Prodigy from Tarifa is Conquering Andalucía | Campo de Gibraltar

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