Down in El Paso He Fell in Love…
with the Piano
“There are many pianists out there who have razzle-dazzle styles, but that’s not where my heart is,” explains musician Esteban Ramirez. “My spirit leads me to instrumental music that is romantic, lyrical, and passionate.”
Born and raised in the border town of El Paso, he is the youngest of nine children from immigrant parents. “El Paso is either a small city or a big town. We lived right next to a big mountain with lots of cacti and tumbleweeds. It was a really fun place to explore when you’re a little boy.”
A hyperactive child, his mother started him on piano lessons at age ten to keep him focused on something other than driving her crazy. A year later he began composing.
“I was hooked. A year into my lessons I wrote a little ditty. I remember saying, ‘Oh, that’s where the radio gets its music: from people like me!’”
No sooner did his mom notice his talent when she directed his creative energy to becoming the church pianist at the age of 11. Here he honed his style that characterizes his compositions to this day.
“During my teens, I started composing instrumental piano pieces, which I found much more liberating than writing songs with lyrics,” Esteban recounts. “Being the church pianist, I had some great improvisations for meditations and recessionals. The members loved them.”
Esteban's style is best described as neo-classical piano-based music. He cites composers Chopin, Mozart, and Barry Manilow as having strongly influenced his music. "Yes, I'm a Fanilow! I love his syrupy, lovelorn, romantic lyrics and over-done orchestrations. Barry is not afraid of ‘syrup’. I sobbed the first time I saw him in concert."
He’s released three albums under his own label called Descanso Music, the Spanish word for restful. In promotion of his releases, Esteban has toured the country coast to coast, from Los Angeles to Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in New York City and many places in between.
In addition to Esteban’s musical endeavors, he enjoys writing poetry and is currently employed at a major university where he raises private funds for research. He resides with his husband in Santa Barbara, California.
"My spirit leads me to instrumental music that is romantic, lyrical, and passionate."