Ramón Negrón Pérez
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, ABS violist Ramón Negrón Pérez began his musical career at the age of nine. Continued studies led to his graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Music degree in viola performance from the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music and a busy international performance career.  

Ramón was a member of the American Bach Soloists 2014 Academy, and joined ABS as a full member of the ensemble only a few months later. He has since performed in nearly 30 different programs with ABS including recent recording projects of Bach’s Orchestral Suites. He has performed with symphony orchestras and at music festivals throughout the world, and maintains a dedication to teaching both privately and at institutions that have included Puerto Rico’s Conservatory of Music and School of Fine Arts, and the Department of Music at the University of San Diego. 

ABS audiences always enjoy his impassioned performances, and he has shared his love for music with his children. His commitment to supporting his family life is something that has brought him even greater joy in recent months during the pandemic. Ramón tells us about those recent family activities below. Get started by clicking on his greeting…
Q: Would you tell us something about your pre-ABS life that most of us don’t know?

I have my very own sculpture by artist Jan D’Esopo. Janmari and I celebrated our wedding in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. We collaborated with the Rejimiento Fijo de Puerto Rico (Fixed Regiment of Puerto Rico) to have a historical reenactment of an 18th-century wedding.

Our ceremony took place at Castillo San Cristobal in the Santa Barbara Chapel. Ours was the first Catholic ceremony to be celebrated in the castle since the late 1800s. We had to apply for special permission from the National Park Service and the Archdiocese, who made an exception due to the historical accuracy of the event. We made our way down the blue cobblestone streets by horse drawn carriage and canon salute to the historic bed and breakfast, the Gallery Inn, for the reception festivities.

In the photo, I am holding a salmon-crested Moluccan cockatoo named Campeche, whose peach plumage was the inspiration for the color of my wife’s wedding dress. My sculpture was made especially for the occasion, you may notice that I have a bit of a ponytail, as I let my hair grow to be more historically accurate. Janmari has a sculpture too. They were a gift from her grandmother, the artist. 
Q: How have you coped with sheltering-in-place?

My days are filled with helping my children to continue their studies via distance learning. Kindergarten and fourth grade have their challenges in a virtual setting. But we have adapted and learned a lot together. 

I have used this time to instruct my children and develop their musical skills on the viola, piano, and even drums. My daughter enjoys painting and I have set up a mini studio for her to fill her canvases while not spilling paint all over the floors. They sure keep me busy while my wife works from home. 
We enjoy grilling and dining outdoors. S’mores are a must, as we set up the tent in the yard and try to count the stars between the city lights. My wife and I have been learning about cacti and succulents, in an effort to make our garden drought resistant. We were rewarded with a spring bloom. 

The kids have a vegetable and herb garden that they are tending. It is a fun endeavor as we search for caterpillars and slugs with flashlights in the night hours, so that our plants are not devoured by morning. We even have a neighborhood opossum that scales the fence and peers in through the windows much to the kid’s terror and delight.

Q: So many musical performances have been canceled recently, but have you been able to take on any new musical projects? Have you delved into repertory that you hadn’t had time to work on before? 

I have dedicated time to revisit original viola compositions from the Classical and early Romantic periods such as the Viola Concerto in D Major by Carl Stamitz, Etudes by Franz Hoffmeister and "Fragment of Study Works" by Alessandro Rolla. This allows me to continue to develop my technique and polish my skills in historically informed performance. Not to mention, it is an interesting experience to learn the context of their creation and their significance in music history.
Q: Our audiences love you and your performances. And we’re so happy that you love to be with us at ABS. Are there any standout reasons why you look forward to your future projects with ABS?

The musical selections carefully created by Jeffrey Thomas, paired with rich themes, are a delight to study and interpret. So much of the creative process is individual preparation, but it is distilled into something more, through the collaboration and directing finesse. The group of musicians, my colleagues, who are all so well-rounded and love what they do. It is a privilege and honor to be a part of ABS. We strive to earn each “bravo” and standing ovation from our dedicated audience members. Nothing beats performing live on stage. 
Alessandro Rolla (1757-1841)

Frammenti d'Opere di Studio, Esercizio in F Major for Viola solo Bl. 312
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