“My biggest goal as a musician is to come up with something different, a new sound that nobody has thought of,” said Giacomo Cavanaugh Timbrello, a local 20-year-old musician who’s been accepted into the piano program at the Berklee College of Music for fall 2013 enrollment.
Berklee, located in Boston, accepts just 35 percent of the more than 5,000 students who apply each year, according to the college.
Berklee is big-time. And a big deal.
Timbrello, who lives in Bishop, wishes to give one more performance in the Eastern Sierra before he heads east in the fall. He will be performing at 7 p.m. on May 17 at the Crossroads Church in Bishop (315 East South St.).
The Sheet met with Giacomo last week to chat about his passion for music and plans to make his own impact on the industry.
Sheet: What role does music play in your life?
Timbrello: The funny thing is, music wasn’t a huge aspect of my life at first. I did kind of have it within me as a child. I loved listening to Phantom of the Opera and Journey at a young age. Those were my two favorite things to listen to as far as music was concerned.
I didn’t really take music seriously until high school started. There was a talent show at school that I didn’t even want to do, but my mom said I should since she had invested in me with guitar and piano lessons. She said “If you’re not going to do the talent show then why do the lessons?”
I was frightened at first because I didn’t like being on stage, but now it’s become something completely different: music is a part of me. After a performance, it gives me a good feeling to know that I have given a valuable piece of myself to people.
Sheet: What instruments do you play?
Timbrello: I started with piano at age 11 and have been playing ever since. I only did one year of lessons and everything else was self-taught because I’m a musician who goes off what I hear, not sheet music. I’d rather play from intuition and what sounds right than what’s on paper. I know that it’s a great tool to have in the musical industry. Still, my biggest issue is that I can’t just read a piece of sheet music without first examining it. I have to sit down and think about the notes.
Then, when high school started, along came guitar. I’ve only been playing it for about three or four years, but I love how I can take the instrument anywhere with me and start playing. It’s not like piano or drums: you don’t need to set anything up.
I got a drum set for my birthday and became obsessed with it in eighth grade. I listened to Rush constantly and fell in love with that kind of music because of the diversity. I’ve tried ukelele, mandolin, banjo, violin, etc., but it seemed much easier to stick with piano, drums, and guitar.
Sheet: What are you planning to do with your degree?
Timbrello: What I really want to do is make a solo career out of it, producing my own music like John Mayer. I feel that [type of] music right now is great: you have pop and the folk revival battling — it’s really cool to see older music returning to the spotlight. M83 is a prime example. It has a bit of ‘80s influence, but manages to stay modern.
I know that the way I have to approach it is to make music that will appeal to people and create something that sounds like whatever’s hot right now. But then at some point I want to introduce something that’s changes it all, almost like what Kurt Cobain did with grunge. He didn’t invent it, but he brought it to the masses and people moved on to that raw sound … I want to start something like that and maybe even compose soundtracks for movies and video games.
Sheet: What five artists inspire you the most?
Timbrello: My number one inspiration is The Beatles. I’m so fascinated by every one of their songs — they’re each golden jewels to me. Jimi Hendrix is also on the list because of what he did with the guitar. Nobuo Uematsu has some amazing video game music. Elton John is one of my favorite songwriters and pianists. Then, of course, Nirvana because of what Kurt Cobain did with drums, vocals, and guitar in that group.
Sheet: How did growing up here affect your musical abilities?
Timbrello: I lived in Orange County until age 12 and moved up here in 2006. It changed my life dramatically. Moving to a rural area where time is slow and the atmosphere is peaceful has been inspiring. The beauty around here has changed my perspective on life and led me to appreciate it more. It’s opened a different series of doors than are available in L.A. I mean, you can go to REI or something to rock climb [down there], but who wants to do that? It’s in my backyard here.
The beauty of the Eastern Sierra has improved my creativity.
Sheet: John Williams or Hans Zimmer?
Timbrello: John Williams. I don’t know why, but I can connect with his music more. His work is more of an icon. Everybody knows the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Harry Potter theme songs. With Zimmer, there are the Inception and Batman soundtracks, and the first remix I made was of “Time” from Inception. Hans Zimmer is a great composer, but in my opinion John Williams is still more iconic.
The College Board estimates that it will cost $57,000 per year on average for Giacomo to attend Berklee. He’s been attending Cerro Coso for the past year to shorten his time at Berklee to only three years.
With this concert, Timbrello is asking for a little financial support as he embarks on his journey. He will be performing covers of his favorite songs the evening of the 17th. Tickets are available at the Radio Shack in Bishop. They cost $10 for adults and $5 for children.
You can find some of Giacomo Timbrello’s work at www.soundcloud.com/MSKE (the last four letters are all caps).