Music student brings Spanish flair
Posted May 16, 2008
Seanette Garcia
Spanish exchange student Adria Barbosa-Torregrosa has completed his year of study at the University of La Verne with several performances to put on his resume. After having written and performed original music for the production “The King Stag,” Barbosa-Torregrosa wrote music for theater productions of “Green Cabaret,” “Hamlet” and has an acting role in the musical performance of “The Pirates of Penzance.”

Adria Barbosa-Torregrosa has added Spanish flavor to the performing arts departments of the University of La Verne.

Barbosa-Torregrosa is a foreign exchange student from Barcelona, Spain, and in the nine months he has been at ULV he has written the music for three plays, joined the choir and has almost perfected his English.

“I was almost finishing my degree last year, when I had the option to be a foreign student for a year,” Barbosa-Torregrosa said.

The 23-year-old not only plays the piano but also the violin, the flute and the organ.

In the music department he is known for his voice, he has performed many solos as well as participating in the choir.

In the theater department he is known for his composition, having composed the scores to the productions of “The King Stag,” “Hamlet,” and written songs for the musical “Green Cabaret.”

“He is gifted, but the focus, sensitivity and attention to detail he brings to his work is what will make him great,” Hailey Heisick, junior theater major, said.

His father introduced him to music after doing his astrological chart.

According to the chart, Barbosa-Torregrosa was destined to be good in performing arts, so his father enrolled him in a music program.

“I remember crying ‘I don’t want to be here,’” Barbosa-Torregrosa said. “I started music when I was six-years-old.”

After studying some time, however, Barbosa-Torregrosa not only fell in love with music but also impressed his teachers with his talent.

“One teacher talked to my parents, told them the kid has qualities,” Barbosa-Torregrosa said.

Because he was musically talented he was enrolled in a boarding school located in a monastery in order to be a member of the choir.

The boys choir in this monastery is a prestigious one. He stayed in the monastery for four years. He returned to his home and started high school. After school he would take the train to a music conservatory.

When the time came to choose a career, music was not Barbosa-Torregrosa’s first choice.

“I always liked communications,” Barbosa-Torregrosa said. “I was doing music and loving it, so after high school I had to choose either communications or music.”

In Spain, in order to study any career, the students have to take a series of tests. Each career has a minimum score in order to proceed.

“Communications was the highest note, and I could not go there,” Barbosa-Torre­grosa said. “So I decided to focus on music.”

Barbosa-Torre­grosa applied to La Escuela Super­ior de Musica de Catalunya, which translates to the Advanced School of Music of Catalunya.

“To enter ESMUC you have to pass a test,” Barbosa-Torre­grosa said.

“I was there to study composition, there were forty people there for composition and only eight positions to fill.”

Barbosa-Torregrosa was one of the eight to get into the school. He studied music and completed an internship in one of the conservatories he had previously attended.

When he was given the choice to study abroad, Los Angeles was his first choice because of the importance of Hollywood in the communications/entertainment world. One of his dreams is to write music for film and theater.

“I chose L.A. and the only university that I could go to was La Verne for the program,” he said.

Here Barbosa-Torregrosa joined the choir in order to meet people, and because it was something he loved. He was also able to experience the theater first hand.

“One thing I like about American universities is that in Spain you only take classes that have to do with your major, here you get to take other classes,” he said.

He did not let the fact that English was his second language stop him from creating songs for theater productions and singing in performances.

Barbosa-Torregrosa joined two theater classes. One was with professor of theater arts David Flaten.

In the beginning of the course Flaten asked the students to say why they joined a theater class.

Barbosa-Torregrosa said that he wanted to one day write the music for a theater production.

Flaten later approached Barbosa-Torregrosa and asked him to write the music for the production of the fairytale play “The King Stag,” which he co-directed with assistant professor of theater Sean Dillon.

“I wrote some music and showed it to them,” Barbosa-Torregrosa said.

“My impression was they weren’t expecting what I wrote. I think they expected something more simple.”

After “The King Stag,” Barbosa-Torregrosa joined the January term course “Green Cabaret.”

In this course, led my director of theater Steven Kent, students were to create a musical production about current global issues.

“It was my first experience as a musical director,” Barbosa-Torregrosa said. “I wrote six songs for the show.”

After “Green Cabaret,” Kent asked him to write the music for “Hamlet.”

“When I discovered what an extraordinary gifted young man he is, I thought he is an obvious person to compose the score,” Kent said.

Not only did Barbosa-Torregrosa complete one of his dreams of writing a musical score for a major theater production, like “Hamlet,” but he is also currently writing the musical score for an independent film.

Barbosa-Torregrosa has made many friends and has tried and succeeded at many new things.

“Adria’s musical talent absolutely amazes me,” said Stephanie Fuentes, a sociology major and close friend of Barbosa-Torregrosa.

“His talent and his passion can be distinguishably heard through his music.”

“I came here, and I don’t know why yet, I had a lot of friends,” Barbosa-Torregrosa said. “I found good people.”

In June Barbosa-Torregrosa will be returning to Spain.

“People are making jokes about not letting him go back to Spain,” Kent said. “I am going to keep him in mind professionally. I have never seen him remotely disturbed. He is so egoless.”

Barbosa-Torregrosa’s last show at ULV will be “The Pirates of Penzance,” an upcoming musical presented by the ULV choirs Saturday and Sunday in Founders Auditorium.

“Now the question is what do I do next year?” Barbosa-Torregrosa said.

Maria J. Velasco can be reached at

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