Born in Havana, Sheila del Bosque Fuentes is a Cuban flutist, composer, and conductor. Her music features contemporary and traditional Afro-Cuban music with the influence of European, electronic, and jazz ingredients.
What are 5 of your biggest career highlights?
- Recently when I won the 1st prize in the Jazz Artist category at the 50th Annual NFA Convention.
- When I won the Artist Career Development grant to organize a multisensory concert merging music and visual arts to empower women in society.
- When I got accepted at Berklee thanks to a full tuition scholarship to study Jazz performance and Film Scoring with a minor in Conducting.
- When I got accepted into professional orchestras such as the Orchestra of Lyceum Mozartiano from Havana adjunct to Stiftung Mozarteum Salzburg, the National Orchestra of Cuba, and the Cuban European Youth Academy and Orchestra.
- When I started performing and touring with my band playing my compositions.
What do you like best about performing?
That I have the power to give the gift of music. The flute is an extension of my voice and has been in my life since I was 10 years old. The music speaks, vibrates, and breathes inside me. It is, and it was the way of communication when words weren’t enough.
Any upcoming CD releases?
I have two singles on all the music platforms: Si mi Isla Fuese Niño (If my Island were a child) and my most recent one Promesas (Promises). They are a result of who I am: this mix of traditional Cuban music, European ingredients, and a fresh jazzy harmonic language. The most important thing: they all tell a story about who I’m, where I come from, and where I’m headed.
What does your schedule look like for the next 6 months?
Pretty busy and exciting! I would say 4 important things will happen:
First, I’ll start my master's degree in Fall at the Berklee Global Jazz institute, thanks to a full tuition scholarship. This is a Jazz performance program where you connect your creative self with a strong social activism vision. I’ll have mentors like John Patitucci, Danilo Perez, Joe Lovano, and Terri Lyne, among others.
I’m producing a very special concert on October 15th, where I’ll perform and conduct my own orchestra. It will be a multi-sensory concert focused on living women composers from all over the world. It will have free admission and reinvents stereotypes and old-school concepts of classical music.
I’ll also start my journey as a Jazz Flute professor at the prestigious Wellesley College, one of the top colleges in the US. Notable alumnae and affiliates include U.S. Secretaries of State; the first female nominee for President of the United States from a major party; and recipients of Emmy, Tony, Academy, and Peabody Awards, the Nobel Prize, and the Pulitzer Prize.
Finally, I’m traveling to Valencia in January for the International Conductors Guild, where I’ll have the opportunity to participate in workshops, masterclasses, performances, and much more.
What inspires you the most in life?
Love and the possibility of spiritual growth.
What has been your professional greatest challenge?
When I came to Berklee to study Jazz and Film Scoring. I’m a classically trained musician, so having to start a completely new musical and personal journey in a new country by myself was very challenging.
Regarding flute performance, I think adding Jazz to my life made me a better musician and human being. Starting from scratch with a new language challenge your ego. Improvising makes you more creative, exposes you to a world of being in the moment, and makes you trust yourself and your bandmates. I feel that as I go deeper into music, I go deeper into knowing myself. That’s something I’ll have room to grow for the rest of my life.
Can you give us 5 quirky, secret, fun (don't think too much about this) hobbies or passions?
Writing poems, painting, watching good films, being in nature, bathing in downpours, hiking, swimming in the ocean, mamey milkshakes, and malanga fritters. Oh wait, I said more than 5! :)
What 3 things would you offer as advice for a young flutist?
Work on your technique passionately. Not as a tedious process but as a way of giving you freedom for greatness.
Be kind to yourself. Fall in love with every process you are going through.
Music is a gift and a superpower we have. Use it for healing humanity, yourself included.