Claudia Rico
Claudia Rico, winner of Mujer Tec (Photo: Courtesy)

Claudia Rico is moved by sound. Born into a family of musicians, she has been used to bohemian nights since she was little. On March 8, she won the 2021 Mujer Tec (Tec Woman) Award for her contributions to art and cultural management.

She is a violinist in the Chihuahua State Philharmonic Orchestra and founder of the Libélula (Dragonfly) collective.

“Since I was little, we had bohemian nights [at home] until four in the morning.” Her aunt, María Guadalupe Rico Galindo, was her first teacher, teaching her the cello. She learned it in just two weeks, for an urgent event. At age 12, her aunt gave her another course and she became more interested in the violin.

Rico Arenívar studied at the Chihuahua Conservatory of Music. She decided to go ask for admissions information while she was studying for a degree in psychology. She met Rafael Vardanyan, who would become her mentor during her university studies, at the auditions.

Also read: The only Latin American to enter Nature’s Top 10

The Dragonfly Project

The project was formed in June 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Boys and girls took their classes. However, they realized that the children were often forced [to take classes] by parents who, in their childhoods, were unable to learn music.

Claudia talked to the moms and convinced them to learn too, as it was something they were interested in. Age was not an impediment, nor was knowing how to play an instrument or being able to read the notes.

Claudia began teaching simple things, without pretense or demands, to just four women. She became well-known and more people began contacting her.

With more people in her group, she realized that it was normal for them to feel incapable because “they were already grown up but, as they progressed, they began to realize that they could do it,” explains the violinist.

Looking to the future, she wants the project to happen via the collective, meaning that the first generation of female graduates will be able to give classes to other people and gain a source of income for their families.

“I want to give women the opportunity to be teachers as well and for other women to give classes with other instruments,” she shares.

Mujer Tec Award

She was nominated for the Mujer Tec Award by her sister Ivonne Rico, but she never imagined she would get the award “because it’s not science; it’s not something that is normally considered important,” she explains.

Similarly, she believes that there is a shared idea that it [music] is not a “real job”, and that there is a tendency to devalue artistic work. “You believe that idea,” she says.

As a result of winning the Tecnológico de Monterrey prize, she now understands the impact that she has on other women.

“I can see the change in my students, in their lives, because they dared to do something that they thought they couldn’t. They start to believe in themselves; they start trying other activities and people begin to see them differently and treat them differently,” she says.

Rico Arenívar says that it’s important not to feel second best, “especially women who are always putting others first and taking care of everyone. It is worth investing in ourselves, in our own abilities.”

She added that “girls, boys, and teenagers are the future of Mexico, but we are the present. We’re the ones who will train those who come next, and we’re transforming the present.”

This year, Tecnológico de Monterrey awarded 25 women and a student group the 2021 Mujer Tec Award for their contributions to society.

The virtual award ceremony was held online, via the Tec’s digital platforms, on March 8 to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Awards were given in nine different categories, in addition to two special awards, at the 9th awards ceremony organized by the Center for the Recognition of Human Dignity.