Staff Spotlight: Rossini Cavalcante, Music Instructor

Today's Staff Spotlight is on Rossini Cavalcante, a talented drummer and percussionist from Brazil, who has found his happy place here at Gordonstoun, inspiring the next generation of young musicians.

Tell us a bit about yourself, what you do and how long you have worked at Gordonstoun?

This is my nineteenth year at Gordonstoun, I started working here in 2005. I was born in Brazil, and I have been in the music industry for around 40 years now. I had my own drum school outside of Gordonstoun for 21 years in Aberlour, and then I got the job here and I am very happy. The second I walked in the door I knew I was in the right place - because we are an international school, we can play music from all over the world, Brazilian music, African music, I’m very happy here.

What do you enjoy most about working at Gordonstoun?

I think I have a good relationship with everyone, across departments, and the school is very open minded, they’ve always been looking to the future. I think this is really important. It makes it a pleasure to work here.

For example, before 2020 the Ronnie Berry Concert had always been inside the theatre, and with the pandemic we couldn't do that anymore. I asked “We have 200 acres of green space here, why don’t we do it outside?” - and they said yes! That first year not even the parents were allowed to come because of the restrictions, but we did the whole thing outside G House, and it was an amazing experience. Each year since it has gotten bigger and better - last year was amazing, the sun was shining, and there was a big picnic. It’s great to see it grow, it’s very exciting.

What is happening in your department right now? Any new initiatives/exciting events for this year?

Right now I am working on a project we’ve run with Mrs Paterson (Head of Dance and Drama) for the last three years combining dance and music together. This year one of the students Hamish is going to play the pipes - he's started recording a song for charity experimenting with using a delay pedal. Mrs Paterson loved the song and is going to choreograph a dance to it for the Ronnie Berry Concert.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I got my first drum kit when I was four years old, I’m 64 now. I worked for two years in a bank, which was a really good job. I even went to university for two years to be an accountant! But I left everything to play because of the music when I was 24 years old. I think my greatest achievement was to make that decision. I left everything behind, friends, family, job, everything, but I was really happy because I got to play music. Since then I have been able to travel all over, Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam, Toulouse, and Lisbon which is where I met my wife - while she was on holiday!

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

To play music and have the good health to be able to do so. People have asked me if I will retire - retire from what, playing music? No chance!

What is something surprising about you?

I met my wife in Lisbon in 1998 when she was on holiday, she’s Scottish. I didn’t speak any English and she didn’t speak Portuguese. Two years later I moved to Scotland!

Also, I have been growing bonsai trees for over 17 years.

What advice would you give to your students?

You need to have a dream.

Take my experience, when I made the decision to do music. I was going to big shows, and I looked at the musicians on stage, and I thought wow, I think I can do even better than that. So I made the decision, okay, I’m going to do it, and I’ve never looked back.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Cooking - In Brazil, there was always someone in my home cooking well. When I started travelling, I learned to cook. I really love to cook, specifically Asian cooking and sushi. For me, it’s the whole process though at the weekend; clean the kitchen, glass of wine, prepare, cook and then the great pleasure of eating it.

Thanks Rossini for taking the time to chat with us!

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