Waltzing into one’s final year of undergrad or walking through one’s graduation ceremony, it is normal to stop and look back on one’s accomplishments and successes throughout the (sometimes) arduous but incredibly thrilling experience that our university career can provide. So with this in mind, I have decided to write a few articles about people in our generation who have come to make something of themselves even before “stepping out into the real (scary) world.”
In Tomas Murmis’ case, looking back on his life so far at the young (but sage) age of 24 he shows a mélange of talent, hard work, and passion all revolving around his chosen path: music.
Growing up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tomas began his musical journey when he started to learn guitar at the age of 10 and he has not stopped since. “From the moment I put my hands on the guitar, I didn’t let it go,” he told me as we were discussing how he got into music in the first place. While he also plays the piano and derivations of the classic guitar, like the ukulele, the guitar has remained his favourite.
As he continued in his musical endeavor, he found himself attracted to jazz. A huge fan of Keith Jarrett, he followed his love for jazz, taking lessons with various instructors in Buenos Aires who each helped shape his taste and performance.
In October of 2007, Tomas took a quick trip to Brazil to audition for the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Every year the college does a world tour providing the opportunity of auditions for international students. After a few months of waiting, Tomas received not only his acceptance, but also a scholarship to the prestigious institution. During his last year in Argentina, before heading off to Boston, Tomas immersed himself in a new focus. He started working on composition and arrangement both in jazz for himself, but also for some larger bands. As he started out at Berklee, he pursued this interest and this led him to major in film-scoring.
Berklee not only helped him set out his potential career path, but it also opened his eyes to a variety of other music that he had previously left at the sidelines. As he expanded his musical and compositional capacities, he also expanded his taste. “Boston opened my eyes,” he said as he explained that being in the city introduced him to classical and orchestral music in a level he had not previously experienced. Living within walking distance of the Boston Symphony Hall, he attended concerts every weekend, sometimes on more than one occasion! Not only did he encounter new music, but he also found himself appreciating Argentine folk and tango music in a way he never had back at home. I guess distance really does make the heart grow fonder.
In early 2011, Tomas was awarded the Georges Delerue award which, as he was a renowned film composer, is endowed to young professionals that are specifically interested in musical composition for films. Not only that, but from September 2010 until March 2011, he also worked as an intern at Paramount in which he experienced how to cater one’s own creations to the vision of others. On this he said that “whatever you produce is you.” At the end of the day, what one has to do is compromise, and communication is vital as the artist has to “translate from English into music.” The work at Paramount was challenging but also unbelievable, primarily because he was able to get realistic (sometimes blunt) feedback on what he produced. After all this experience, he is also currently composing for a short film called “The 3 Suicides of Paul Hamilton.”
When I asked him what it felt like to expose his music on the screen or with another band, or in performance, he answered me with a ready smile. “As artists, we try to expose the truth in our music, and because of this, having other people listen to it is a very exposing experience.” When he composes for a movie, for example, his music tends to reflect his reaction to the scene he’s watching. He told me that his experiences and memories are reflected in his music, even though the listener may never know this. However, he did mention that he does not like to listen to his work with others once it is complete. At that point, he just wants to move on to the next piece and create something new.
Composing is not all that keeps this young man busy. He is also a performer and he enjoys playing around the city when he can. When I asked him what performing felt like to him, he gave me his most revealing answer, I think, of the interview. Performing “is one of the closest feelings to really being alive.”
And there you have it folks. This is a guy who at our age, in our generation, is striving down his chosen path and is already successful at it, leaving us to either shake our heads in quiet desperation as we wonder what to do with our lives, or inspired to take the steps that we should already have taken but haven’t out of uncertainty.