Mario Castello Cordoba, MMus Cello

Do you have a favourite type of music?

I like Latin, Pop, Afro-Cuban, Jazz… everything! To perform myself, I like all styles but particularly baroque music. I’ve been able to borrow a baroque cello and bow from the College and get involved in historical performance ensembles here – which has been great.

Why did you decide to study at the RNCM?

I completed my undergraduate studies at the Conservatorio Superior de Música in Valencia. My teacher there, Ivan Balaguer, studied at the RNCM 20 years ago and recommended the College as a great place to study. He also studied with Eduardo Vassallo, who is my current teacher, so there’s a nice connection there.

How has it been settling into life in the UK?

It has been culturally a little bit different; life is very different in the UK compared to Spain. But I think I’m adapting. I’m used to Manchester but perhaps I prefer Spanish weather *laughs*. The RNCM also makes it quite easy meet people. During Freshers Week there are lots of events to make friends, and the College café is always full of familiar faces.

Manchester itself I really like; there are lots of good venues in the city and tickets are often quite cheap. For me, being a student here is not only practising cello and being involved in things in the College but also trying to go to as many concerts and gigs in the city because these things are what enhance your musical personality. I think exposing yourself to different types of music helps you grow as a musician.

What are some highlights from your time here?

I performed in a baroque concert before Christmas here at the College, and again at the Chamber Music Festival. Last year the RNCM Symphony Orchestra performed The Rite of Spring and I was lucky enough to be principal cello. I also love the range of visiting artists that come to the College to give masterclasses. I’ve been able to participate in some and always get a lot of out of them.

What do you have planned after graduation?

I really enjoy teaching. I’ve taught in the past and it’s always interesting to see how you have to adapt to each student and change your approach to get the best out of them. And if I have the opportunity to play in an orchestra I would love that as well. Ideally I’d like to move back to Spain but I’m also open to staying in the UK – we’ll see what happens!