Jorge A. Peña Portillo
Hometown: San Pedro Sula, Honduras Member: 1996
Jorge is the Artistic Director of the largest free chamber music festival in the US. He and his wife, cellist Jin Kim, founded the St. Augustine Music Festival together, which celebrated its 10th-anniversary in 2016.
When did you join the Jacksonville Symphony?
I joined the orchestra in 1996 at the same time as violist Colin Kiely but I had to stop playing mid-year because INS lost my application papers. Maybe you can look it up on the Florida Times-Union haha.
What do you want patrons of the Symphony to know about you?
I always loved playing orchestral music, that’s why I play in the Symphony. I also love playing chamber music and that’s why my wife and I founded SAMF. I love conducting, that’s why I conduct the Golden Isles Youth Orchestra in Brunswick, GA.
Do you have any pre-concert rituals or routines?
No, I like my drive to the hall to be quiet so I can center and be in the sweet spot.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a professional musician?
I would be a doctor, an architect or engineer.
What teacher, mentor or other influencer inspired you the most?
Roberto Diaz, President of Curtis Institute. My former viola teacher had much influence even in the way I play now. Back then he showed me what was possible in the instrument.
What do you do in your spare time?
I run. I finished my first marathon last year. My time 4:40! Maybe not the fastest run but not bad for a musician who tunes the standard A at 440 Hertz. On my weekly commutes, I like to listen to new music pieces or audio books that teach me new stuff, I enjoy listening in English as well as in Spanish.
What has been your favorite moment on stage?
There have become too many to name, wonderful memories have been made on the stage of Jacoby Symphony Hall.
Do you have pets?
I have a nameless pet fish that was a gifted to me when I was in college; well that fish is now 20 years old.
Who is your favorite composer?
Beethoven, Bach, Mozart.
Bachelor of Music, Escuela de Musica Victoria Lopez, Honduras; Bachelor of Music, Columbus State University; Graduate Performance Diploma, Peabody Conservatory.