top of page
Jairo Ortiz HD.jpg


Jairo Ortiz, Cellist

Fotos: privat

Jairo Ortiz – Born in Morelia (Mexico), winner of Mexico's National Cello Competition. His international experience includes performances at Young Euro Classic Festival (Berlin), Accademia Musicale Chigiana (Siena), Wallace Collection and V&A Museum (London), Santa Catarina Music Festival (Brazil), TCU Cellofest (Texas), Piatigorsky International Cello Festival (Los Angeles), SphinxConnect (Detroit), St Cecilia`s Parish (NYC), Davenport Center (Toronto), the Sculpture Studio (Montréal) and with Les Siècles at the Hector Berlioz Festival (La Côte-Saint-André, France).

Video: Jairo plays Britten

Jairo Ortiz HD_edited.png
Jairo Ortiz HD.jpg


07. Mai 2022

Do you see yourself as right-handed or left-handed? Is this central to your identity as a musician?
Being left-handed is about our nature and brain processes. I am left-handed since I was born and I feel so proud of it, it’s part of my personality and even sometimes the most characteristic feature the people find on me as musician. 


Have you always played your instruments left-handed?

Yes. When I was a child my father taught my brothers and me to play the guitar and I naturally picked the instrument backwards and without any worries he just changed the string order for me. Everything started over there. When I played the cello for the first time, I instinctively took the instrument in the left way. 


Have you faced serious reservations or concerns from other people about playing left-handed?
From where did you get support, and did it make a big difference in your development? 

A LOT. In western countries lefties make up less than 10% of the population, so there are still so many mental barriers to break. “Tradition” is a big word in classical music yet. We all need to open our minds to new perspectives. Fortunately, I found a wonderful first cello teacher that warned me about the difficulties that playing backwards might bring in the professional field but she supported me from the first moment I decided to play this way; that made the difference. 


How did you come by your left-handed instruments? Is it custom-made?

Yes, I found a kind luthier in Mexico that was willing to make a cello totally in backwards for me. He was actually pretty interested since he said he never tried something like that before. Now I have a couple of lefty cellos and a viola da gamba. 


What are your experiences with playing left-handed in an orchestra?
It’s a huge topic, since playing in orchestras it’s my biggest passion. At the beginning I faced so many troubles, many people thought a left-handed shouldn’t be part of an orchestra because – according to them – “it looks bad”. Sometimes I had to accept playing in the back and alone but honestly I never cared about that and started to build my spirit from that point. After I gained some experience everything changed and step by step I have been founded great memories in orchestra, sometimes even in the role of the principal.
After a long way, in 2019 I won the Mexico National Symphony cello audition, a dream came true that day and I am so honored to be part of this amazing orchestra that has accepted a lefty among their stands. 


Has your left-handed playing ever caused any funny or strange situations? 

Haha, I thought I would sting my stand partners but that never happened (so far...). 


Have there ever been any negative reactions?
Fortunately just a few, most of the reactions I have had all over the world come from people that find this peculiar, a bit eccentric or even funny. 


Does playing left-handed present any advantages?
Playing a string instrument requires a lot of effort regardless the hand you are taking the bow with. So the best – for me – is playing in the way you feel better and more comfortable to make the music you want. 


To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.

Jairo Ortiz HD.jpg
bottom of page