Edgar Lopez

Age: 26

From: Ibague, Colombia

Instrument: Clarinet

School: University of Southern California, Masters in Clarinet Performance

Favorite Drink: Black Coffee, but only in the morning

"Ok, so I'm going to tell you a story:

There was a boy who had a horse on a farm, and one day his father said to him, ‘ok son,we need money so take the horse and go to the village and sell it please. With that money, we can buy food, and we can buy a donkey'. So, the boy walked to the village, but on his way, a thief came and stole his horse from him! The boy then sits in the village all day and thinks, ‘oh my god! what am I going to do now?’ So he goes home, and he says sorry to his father and now the boy now thinks he is so unlucky. But, his father told him, "lucky? Unlucky? Who knows?". Sometime later, that horse escaped from the thief, and arrived home with more horses that the thief had stolen from other people. The boy exclaimed, ‘father, look! Look what happened! We are so lucky!’ The father says, ‘oh very nice! But, lucky? Unlucky? Who knows?’ Then while the boy was riding one of the horses, he fell off and broke his leg. It was unbelievably painful! The boy says, ‘oh you stupid horse! Father, I am so unlucky father. This horse made me break my leg!’ The father says, ‘lucky? Unlucky? Who knows?' After one week, the government of the country declared war with another country, and all the young sons were recruited to go fight. The other country was so powerful, and all of the other young boys died; but, because that boy had a broken leg, he couldn’t go and was therefore saved. The boy says, ‘oh father! I am so lucky!’ The father says, ‘lucky? Unlucky? Who knows?”

That’s life, you know? Who knows? Who knows what’s going to happen? We should only believe in good things that can happen, and not focus on the bad."

How do you define inspiration? How do you define motivation?: "OK. So in general, I think it would be something that applies for everything. For example, you’re running. The view is beautiful, peaceful or whatever, and for some reason, you just want to run a long distance. But, you are tired. So, the reasons why you wanted to go run in the first place would be the inspiration. But then when you don't have the energy, and you feel like you're dying, the motivation is the thing that reminds you that you want to finish, and that continuing is the only way to finish. If you really want that, just keep running."

Advice to others: "Life is very tricky, and it comes with a lot of conflicts. But, something my mom always says is that everything happens for a reason. Whatever happens in your life, even if it’s bad, it means that there is something good for you that’s coming. You have to believe in the positive of life. Have the faith that something good will happen to you."

Life Mantra/Inspirational Quote: “Yo soy el mejor y puedo todo lo que quiera.” Translation: I am the best and I can do everything that I want. It is not bad to say good things about yourself because sometimes you will be the only one saying those good things. It starts with you. Someone told me once that if you repeat a lie 1001 times, the last time it will become a truth. Doesn’t matter which lie, even if it’s positive or negative and you don’t believe it, it will become a truth. Of course I am not the best clarinet player in the world, but I have to tell myself this if I want it to become true."

How do you define success?: "You know, success doesn’t make too much sense to me. What I see, success would describe a rich dude who has this big house, big car, big company. That is a successful guy. But that is not too important for me. I prefer achieving goals instead of being successful. I think I have learned is that everything has a technique. Everything. Playing clarinet, dating, running well, swimming, eating, cooking, breathing, the way your mind works, they all have techniques and there is always room to get better. I really believe that life and the whole universe is exactly the same shit. They work the same way. So if the goal is success there must be some technique to being successful, no? Normally with clarinet, and with everything in life, if you practice you get better, so why not practice being successful? If I practice success, I will practice to achieve my goals, whether they are for today or if they are for a long term. Success is a long process, and when you achieve a lot of goals, no matter what they are, I would call that success, no?"