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Jaeger-LeCoultre - Interview with Jorge Viladoms

Jaeger-LeCoultre Interview with Jorge Viladoms

The artist Jorge Viladoms, a friend of the Jaeger-LeCoultre brand, is hosting a gala charity evening in Geneva with the aim of giving underprivileged children in Mexico access to music.

Jorge was born into a family where empathy was highly valued, and he has always felt an urge, a need even, to help people. Growing up, he witnessed poverty and suffering every day, particularly when his parents worked in an orphanage in his home town of Durango. How did a young Mexican who had seen more than his share of suffering become an internationally acclaimed musician recognised for his talent and altruism, with a close relationship to Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre? Jorge Viladoms’ career did not follow a typical path. 

When Jorge was just 15 years old his father died, and Jorge inherited a grand piano. During the months that followed the tragedy, the family was forced to move many times. His mother offered him a choice, which was to have a huge impact on the rest of Jorge’s life: either the piano would be sold, or Jorge would have to take lessons. Thinking of it as just another hobby, the artist agreed to piano lessons. A few years later, when the piano had started to become a true passion for him, Jorge Viladoms had a chance meeting that took him to the Lausanne Conservatoire. One thing led to another, and he is now a distinguished professor there, a job he loves as much as his Crescendo Con La Musica Foundation. Interview.

Jorge Viladoms, what does music mean to you?
When I was little I never dreamt I would be a pianist, or even a piano teacher. Before I really began to focus on it, music didn’t mean much to me, but that was because I didn’t understand it. I thought it was much better to compose your own music than to play things other people had written. But eventually I came to understand that interpreting music is another way of creating it. Today I can’t live without it, and music has a specific purpose for me: music is for sharing! 

What is the aim of your Crescendo Con La Musica Foundation?
The main purpose of the foundation, which I set up in 2012, is to give disadvantaged children in Mexico access to music, by providing them the opportunity to take lessons from qualified teachers and learn to play an instrument. Music has the power to change lives!

“My career as a professional musician made me realise how important music is to a child’s development.”

How did you put your idea into practice?
Basically, I wanted to help disadvantaged children; I wanted to act! So I told myself, why not just dive in, and we’ll see how it goes. I began by collecting unused instruments, instruments that no one was using any more, and I sent them to Mexico to be given to the children. Today the foundation helps nearly 360 children in our school in Guadalajara, and they all have access to instruments, singing lessons and music theory tuition. The foundation is also a way of breaking down the social barriers that still have a strong grip upon the country. No matter where we come from, we all have the right to know happiness through music. 

Jorge Viladoms

This evening’s gala is a celebration of the foundation and its disadvantaged children. It must be very fulfilling to be able to combine art with helping others.
Yes! The foundation is still young, but it is already bearing fruit. It is transforming lives, children’s lives. I can’t change social conditions in Mexico, or corruption, but with this annual gala in Geneva, which I would like to see continue, we can give the foundation credibility and legitimacy. And as a result, have an impact on people’s lives, through music. 

You are founding president of the foundation, musician, teacher, philanthropist and writer. That’s quite a career! Do you have any regrets?
No, no regrets. It’s important to be aware of who you are now, at this moment. To be happy in the present. The past is the past. It’s the present that counts!

What is your link with Jaeger-LeCoultre?
We share the same values. Not just passion, excellence and beautiful creations, but also altruism. Jaeger-LeCoultre is a supporter of the foundation, and takes a keen interest in music. And I felt I was welcomed into the family, almost as if it was meant to be. 

What Jaeger-LeCoultre watch do you wear?
I have two. One is a Grande Reverso Calendar. I love this watch because it has a lot of history, it’s classy, and it has two faces, just as I have the piano and the foundation. They’re both equally important to me. Then I have a Master Geographic, which I think is a beautiful watch, and because I travel a lot I love having the two time zones. It’s a wonderful watch. 

Grande Reverso Calendar - Master Geographic watches

Do you see any similarities between music and time?
Music is all about rhythm. It’s the only art that creates time! In order for music to be beautiful, and correct, it has to follow the line of time. It’s an amazing concept. Also, whether you’re talking about a watch or a piece of music, the public only sees the final product, they don’t see all the work that goes into making that product. 

Do you think you could have been a watchmaker?
A watchmaker? That requires a great deal of patience and hard work. I think that being a watchmaker would be too exacting for me. If I had to choose, I see myself more as a watch designer! 

How would you define Jaeger-LeCoultre, in three words?
Passionate, classy and innovative.

And how would you define your music?
Passionate, generous, and loud!  

 

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