Imagine moving cross-country to assume a new conducting position in the middle of a global pandemic! That was the experience of Jake Sustaita (pronounced soos-TIE-tah) moving from Texas to Southern California last October to begin his tenure as Pacific Symphony’s Assistant Conductor and Music Director of Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra.
In Sustaita’s recent conversation with Principal Flute Ben Smolen for his first Symphony Mixer appearance, he talks about all that and more. He discusses growing up in San Antonio and how he got interested in conducting when he was just a sixth grader. For a while he pursued both viola and conducting, before focusing entirely on conducting. He describes how he developed musically and capitalized on a number of fortunate opportunities that helped him evolve as a conductor.
Each conducting experience developed in him a thirst for more. Yet in the face of great obstacles, Sustaita would say, “Nothing scares me, bring it on.” He admits, “Being a musician is like living in a world of no, but you only need one yes.” He advises the gifted musicians of Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra, “If you work hard, pathways will open up. Never give up. Never stop dreaming. You never know what life has in store for you.”
Sustaita is looking forward to what life has in store for him in his work with the Symphony and Youth Orchestra. He currently lives in Anaheim and is excited to get to know more about Orange County’s Latin community. In anticipation, Sustaita, whose surname is of Basque origin, is brushing up on his Spanish language skills.
We’re all looking forward to getting to know Jake Sustaita better and to hearing him conduct some inspiring concerts in the near future!
Find out more about Jacob Sustaita’s background and experience here.
Watch his Symphony Mixer here: