Get to Know Tampere Talent Ambassador Paloma Catalá Parga
I am Paloma Catalá Parga, flautist, composer and music teacher. I’m Spanish, and I have been living in Tampere since December 2019. I moved here with my husband and daughter, who was four years old at that time.
Our family in Spain had a fairly comfortable situation: our own house, I had a permanent position in an official Conservatory, and my husband had a job in a social project of the Galician Symphony Orchestra. In addition, we founded an association in 2010 to play music at events, and we were doing very well.
The fact is that as an artist, I had felt caged for a long time. I could not pour all the creativity that I felt I had into my profession. In addition, I felt that the environment I was living in did not really allow me to develop as a professional. All this, combined with the prompt obligation to send our daughter to school in a system that we had seen from the inside and did not like, meant that although life was comfortable, it was not exactly what we needed.
In 2017 I had to undergo a fairly serious surgery. I had a chronic infection in the inner ear; as a musician, you can imagine my concern, but also this was a head operation, with the risks that this entails. Before that, we had already fantasised about going to live in Finland. In fact, I travelled to Joensuu in 2012 to try to get a place in its Orchestra. We came when orchestra positions were opened, just 2-3 days, and back home.
Risto Vuolanne, a famous Finnish double bass player who was living in our city, had been clear: “What you have to do is go there, to study, work or whatever, but go there”. I had never had the courage to make such a decision. But coming out of the operation, and knowing everything had gone well, gave me the boost I needed. When I got to the hospital room, I said to my husband: “Let’s go to Finland”.
The process was long. We had to save money, find out how to do it, draw strategies and decide on the city. From the first moment, shortly after doing some research, we knew that Tampere is going to be our city! Cosmopolitan, modern but not too big (raising a child in a big city is totally different), nature, culture… and with that bohemian touch that we appreciate as artists.
The path has not been easy. Informing the family of our risky decision, knowing that for a while we would not be able to apply for jobs in our profession, and COVID. But today, I feel very grateful for where I am right now. I am currently a teacher at the Tampere Conservatory, UULU Musiikkikoulu and Helsingin Lastenliito. I give workshops in institutions such as the MLL in Tampere or the RULLA Museum. I’m in charge of children’s programming for the Tampere Flute Fest, and I’ve recently recorded a 10-episode series for YLE Areena, which will take place next spring on Pikku Kakkonen.
My path would not have been the same without the wonderful people I have met along the way who have undoubtedly made a difference in my future. This is one of the reasons why I am very grateful to be part of the Tampere Talent Ambassador programme. I want to be able to offer other internationals the help and support in our beautiful city that can make a difference in their future. I would also like to encourage foreigners to learn Finnish, something that has undoubtedly been decisive in my luck.
You can get to know other Tampere Talent Ambassadors at Tampere Talent Ambassadors 2022 | www.tampere.fi