Transforming Lives to the Sound of the Clarinet


Francisco Javier Rivera Montoya, a clarinet professor at the Universidad Pedagógica Nacional, fell in love with music and teaching from a young age. Consequently, he pursued his studies at the Conservatory of Music at the National University of Colombia and decided to become a professional clarinetist. He later complemented these studies with a degree in Law at the Universidad del Sinú, which is based in Bogotá.

His professional journey in music led him to be nominated for the Latin Grammy Awards in the categories of Best Album of the Year and Instrumental with the production “Maderoso,” in which he is the soloist, delivering his performances alongside the Caldas Symphony Orchestra. “Maderoso” incorporates traditional rhythms from the Colombian Andean region, serving the cause of universal music, resulting in ten compositions in which the clarinet takes center stage.

He was also honored with the Grand Prize Mono Núñez in 2020 and won the National Pasillo Festival in 2019, which is why various composers have recognized him as an excellent performer and desire to write original works specifically intended for clarinet to be interpreted by him.

“This is the fruit of a lifetime of work because it is the first recording made in Colombia and Latin America where the clarinet is elevated to a symphonic level. I didn’t do this alone; it’s a team effort where I’ve learned from many people,” Professor Francisco commented on the matter.

He always aspired to play this wind instrument, part of the woodwind family, and to teach others this art. Today, he believes that the National Pedagogical University turned that dream into a reality. “I have learned a lot from my students; the classroom is also a place where the teacher can educate themselves a great deal. Having the opportunity to teach always means being open to a world where students come to us with their skills and expectations,” said Professor Rivera.

Professor Francisco states that music in his life means “everything” because it has given him the opportunity to share with his students and have a life project that he considers fantastic. It has also allowed him to communicate more easily and connect with people he might not have otherwise met. Through his melodies, he has reached others through this wonderful universal language and has had the opportunity to represent his country through his instrument, elevating Colombian music to new heights.