August 24, 2021

Meet Ignite’s New Maker-in-Residence: Eric Salazar


by Kris Hurst

Meet Ignite’s new Maker-in-Residence: Eric Salazar! Eric is our first “musical’ maker and will be utilizing not only the Ignite Residency Space but the A.V. Studio as well. Visit Ignite Studio September-December 2021 to meet him and participate in a special Ignite focused project!

Eric is known as the ‘Clarinet Guy.’ He got his start playing the instrument in the 6th grade. His inspiration for choosing the clarinet came from watching Tom and Jerry cartoons and hearing an excerpt of Rhapsody in Blue, featuring the clarinet. Since then, he has always enjoyed improvising, and this led to composing and producing music on his own and with his ensemble, Forward Motion. We caught up with Eric to learn more about his career and musicianship.

Meet Ignite’s new Maker-in-Residence: Eric Salazar


What instruments do you play?

I primarily play clarinet and bass clarinet. Although, I do know how to play piano and can generally make a sound on any instrument, I only consider myself to be proficient in instruments of the clarinet family.

How did you get into composing and recording music?

I think my path into composing music all began with a love for improvisation. Since I could make a sound on the instrument, I’ve always been improvising different melodies and rhythms. In my formal education, I often got some dirty looks from my peers for “messing around” instead of warming up properly. That messing around was my way of finding my voice as an artist.

Who are your musical heroes?

I could listen to Johnny Cash all day, every day. I just find his storytelling to be so compelling, even though the musical style is vastly different from my own style. I’m [also] inspired by the people around me. So, in that sense my biggest heroes are my colleagues at Forward Motion, the ensemble that I helped found in Indianapolis. They simultaneously support my artistry and development while pushing me to be the best musician I can be.

What musical/professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

I’m still technically in the early stages of my career, but I’ve already released albums through record labels, performed at large venues for large crowds, and gotten some pretty awesome commissions to compose music. By far though, my proudest moments have been with my ensemble Forward Motion. We perform regularly, commission and premiere new works, and even produce studio recordings.

What kinds of things will you be doing during your residency in Ignite?

I’m really excited to share what I know about audio engineering, composing, and the music business. By far the most ambitious and exciting project that I have this year is the creation of the community album that I will be doing at Ignite. I’m going to be recording members of the community responding to the question: “What ignites your passion?” Then, I’ll be setting those verbal responses to music to tell a collective community story about passion.

Drop into Ignite Studio to meet our new Maker-in-Residence! Happy making!