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Meet Jillian Risigari-Gai Lopez of Los Angeles Chamber Music Company in Woodland Hills

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jillian Risigari-Gai Lopez.

Jillian (Risigari-Gai) Lopez is a proud Los Angeles native, freelance artist, and arts advocate. She started her musical path at the age of three due to her mother’s love of Mariachi music. Her versatile style has been mentioned by LA Weekly (Hollywood Fringe Festival) where they describe her as “one who reaps musical dividends, adding to the story’s magical feeling” and her musicianship adds “delicious upstage accompaniment” – Stage and Cinema.

As a professional musician working in Los Angeles, knowledge of many different musical styles has been essential in regards to her process. The range of musical ability that Jillian encompasses consists of Orchestral, Chamber, Recording, World, Electronic, and Commercial Music.

Film credits include ‘Papa Hemingway in Cuba’ (2015), and ‘The Ground Beneath Their Feet’ (2014), and ‘With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story’ (2010). She was a featured performing artist for PBS “Artbound Special Episode: Invisible Cities” (2015) composed and adapted by Christopher Cerrone (Pulitzer Prize Finalist), directed by The Industry’s founder and artistic director Yuval Sharon, with choreography by Danielle Agami. She was also featured in pre-recorded tracks on the green route from The Industry’s ‘Hopscotch’. Jillian has collaborated with pop/folk rock/eclectic LA-based bands/musicians such as KNOWER with Genevieve Artadi and Louis Cole, ANNABEL(LEE), Mike Keneally, and HOLYCHILD. I am currently a member of LA Harptette – LA’s Harp Quartet and TRIO ECLIPSE (Flute, Harp, & Bassoon).

Jillian is currently Principal Harpist & Co-Founder of the Los Angeles Chamber Music Co. (LACMC) As a co-founder, my ambition is to form this non-profit on the context and basis of searching for an identity as an artist through community-based performance. Our mission seeks to provide audiences with exceptional chamber, orchestral, and collaborative arts concerts that inspire and promote our sense of passion, community, and diversity. LACMC seeks to provide sustainable career opportunities and performances for its outstanding musicians. We are currently in the midst of programming a series of livestream concerts for this coming 2020 -2021 season.

A career in music has been a vast array of experiences that have flourished because of diversity through means of performing and teaching in Los Angeles. The most important thing to learn about music is how to interpret the music and to convey that interpretation to communities throughout the world successfully. Jillian believes that a fusion of Classical, World, Composition and Contemporary music can help to expand ones ability to master complexities of music and to broaden the range of musical interpretations as well as to retain the history and knowledge of each culture in order to having meaning in one’s endeavors in life.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I wish I could say it has been a smooth road, music has never been without its obstacles and challenges. I have faced financial hardships and setbacks, political setbacks, and abuse throughout my career. Due to me being a female in the music industry, I have been sexually assaulted and verbally abused during rehearsals and concerts by Directors and fellow musicians. As a proud Feminist, I have fought hard to seek justice for these wrongdoings. I believe it is important to speak up to your superiors and to your allies should any atrocities such as sexual assault and abuse happen. Don’t be afraid! Someone will listen and help you!

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
As a professional musician working in Los Angeles, knowledge of many different musical styles has been essential in regards to Jillian’s process as a professional musician, arts advocate, and leader. The range of musical ability that Jillian encompasses consists of Orchestral, Chamber, Recording, World, Electronic, Commercial, and Contemporary Music.

Jillian is currently Principal Harpist & Co-Founder of the Los Angeles Chamber Music Co. As a co-founder, my ambition is to form this non-profit on the context and basis of searching for an identity as an artist through community-based performance. Our mission seeks to provide audiences with exceptional chamber, orchestral, and collaborative arts concerts that inspire and promote our sense of passion, community, and diversity. LACMC seeks to provide sustainable career opportunities and performances for its outstanding musicians.

At the core of each of our artistic endeavors at LACMC is to approach each concert with empathy and dedication. To program and highlight our artists that define both inclusion and artistry. Our sense of community begins with our tight-knit orchestra family and extends to every audience, partnership, and collaboration that follows. To consistently deliver the highest level of performance possible in every concert. In addition to programming exceptional classical music, LA Chamber Music Company thrives on programming new and intriguing literature, in addition to supporting collaborations with other artists and new composer submissions. To provide not only an exceptional musical delivery of our concerts but to leave every person with a new vision of their individual artistry. Despite setbacks due to COVID-19, we have had to learn, experiment, and be open to new possibilities in regards to music technology and creating a musical community remotely and distantly. We are currently in the midst of programming a series of livestream concerts for this coming 2020 -2021 season. Stay tuned!

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memory from childhood was when I had my first harp delivered to my Grandma’s house. At the time, I was living with my Grandma and Parents under one house in Monrovia, CA. I was three years old, it was Christmas Eve. I had heard noises coming from the front door. The house that my Grandma has is an old California Bungalow with this wide wooden door through some tall and skinny windows within the door. I had hid behind the door and peeked through those skinny windows to see this super muscular woman in a UPS uniform attempting to move this very large box up the steps to the front door. It frightened me at first because my imagination went wild. I had wondered, ‘What was in the box? …… a gorilla-like King Kong….. a dragon…… a fairy princess……!’ My dad brings in the box and told me it was a very special present and I had to be patient and open it on Christmas Day. This giant box was next to our tree for a whole 24 hours. Trust me, I inspected that entire box. I knocked on it, hugged it, talked to it, etc. Come Christmas Day, I finally had the very long-awaited task of opening up this box that was larger than me. I especially remember the sea of packing peanuts in the box. My dad helped me fish it out and it was a small harpsicle harp that had about 20 strings on it. The most strings you can get on a harp are 47 strings. I started harping away. From that moment on, I was in love. I told my mom and dad that it was the most beautiful gift I have ever received. Looking back on that memory now, it still rings true.

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