Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows are known to be explorers, pushing through doors, and starting conversations to enhance societies in America and abroad, and it’s difficult to find someone who embodies this spirit more than Cellist Christine Lamprea, who recently completed a Fulbright Specialist Program award to teach cello through Fundación Nacional Batuta in Colombia.
For Christine, whose parents emigrated from Colombia, returning to the country is about more than simply instructing local students—it’s also about creating a dialogue.
“I've always wanted to connect more with that heritage,” Christine says during a conversation in the midst of her stay. Further into our chat, she notes, “I've been in contact with various musicians so that's been a real pleasure.”
During a phone call, Christine is apt to mention the small moments of wonder and novelty created by the new connections she’s making with individual musicians in Colombia, which led up to a late June performance at Bogota’s National Museum. In this way, Christine has kept her ears to the ground, listening as well as teaching, as she’s contributed to the nation’s cross-generational community of music enthusiasts.
Christine, an instructor at the Longy School of Music at Bard College, was approached to teach by Fundación Nacional Batuta, a national organization that supports music education throughout the country. When talking about the distinctions that exist between Western countries and other nations, Christine reminds us to move past what we think we know about music education and culture in Colombia and to reconsider the possibilities of pedagogy and instruction.
To acclimate her teaching style to this new environment, Christine has relied on developing new linguistic metaphors and ways of communicating music theory to strengthen her practice. Indeed, when she mentions the joy of working with her students, her attitude is one of complete reverence: “They persevere with such a beautiful spirit— it gives you so much more of an understanding beyond the theoretical.”
One gets the impression that respect is not a concept Christine approaches haphazardly, given her classical training and immersive education. Although she had many interests as a child, Christine committed to playing the cello as an adolescent and hasn’t looked back. She attended the undergraduate cello performance program at The Juilliard School, where she studied under famed cellist Bonnie Hampton, before receiving a 2012 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship to continue her studies and obtain a master’s degree in the music program at the New England Conservatory.
Since then, Christine has been in step with Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows across the globe by developing her career with vigor and enthusiasm while performing at esteemed musical and cultural institutions like Carnegie Hall and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She has performed with the Costa Rica National Symphony and symphonies across the US, and in 2018, she received the Sphinx Medal of Excellence. In addition to her current Fulbright Award and her work at Bard College, she has been a guest instructor at Julliard, Texas Christian School of Music, and music festivals all over.
Though born in New York City, Christine was raised in San Antonio Texas. Her parents didn’t necessarily know the ins-and-outs of the classical music world, but they wanted to give their daughter what Christine refers to as a “sense of urgency,” a sentimentality that she feels connects her to other Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows. When Christine speaks of other Fellowship recipients, she fondly mentions this intrinsic bond they share with one another. For her, it is a community that transcends origin stories and backgrounds, just like music. ∎