Volunteer Q&A: Ramiro J. Atristaín-Carrión

Ramiro J. Atristaín-Carrión, co-chair of the CSO Latino Alliance, leads a panel discussion at a pre-concert reception.

Todd Rosenberg Photography

A native of Bolivia, Ramiro J. Atristaín-Carrión is a managing director of Atristain Financial Advisors, LLC, and is a founding member of the CSO Latino Alliance. He has extensive experience as a financial professional and has made Chicago his home. In 2006, he started the CLESF Foundation, a nonprofit that organizes annual medical missions to Latin America to treat children with lower-extremity deformities. CLESF raises funds, offers post-academic orthopedic training and recruits surgeons who want to volunteer. This is work that he finds deeply rewarding. 

He received a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree with concentration in finance from Dominican University and Illinois Institute of Technology, respectively.

What drew you to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra?

Ever since I moved to the Chicagoland area, and as a college student, I started to come to concerts at the CSO, many times to see performances by the Civic Orchestra. I would even attend concerts to see my college friend Steve Ngo, who played the violin with the Civic. During this time, I got introduced to the CSO though my love for classical music, which goes back to my childhood. It started in my mother’s womb — she was a pianist.

Why did you decide to join the Latino Alliance?

I spearheaded the CSO Latino Alliance as a group of Latino classical aficionados back in the fall of 2013. I started recruiting various individuals throughout the first couple of years and involved key individuals, like Loida Rosario [a former co-chair], who have contributed to building the CSO Latino Alliance.

Do you have a favorite concert or other memory of the CSO?

Not just one. All are very special in so many ways, but interacting with a guest conductor or an artist, before or after a concert, is definitively very special to me. I love the passion they have in what they do. It shows in their talk or just when you ask them about their career. I admire that. I admire people who find such passion in what they do. While my passions are numbers and capital markets, theirs are making beautiful sounds for the soul. I love that! Of course it is special to have dealt with Maestro Muti and even converse with him in Italian [Ramiro is fluent in Italian]. One concert I will never forget was when we listened to Yo-Yo Ma and afterward meeting him in person. I have had his music tracks, which I have listened to on my iPhone for years.

Another concert that was so memorable was listening to guest guitarist Pablo Sáinz-Villegas and hearing Concierto de Aranjuez, which brought back memories from childhood.

What are you most looking forward now that the CSO has returned to live concerts?

Can’t wait to spearhead a CSO Latino Alliance Series (our own) and keep making new friendships and continue learning about beautiful music.

Why do you believe it’s important for volunteers, donors and patrons to support the CSO?

I have said it all along: what the CSO plays is “timeless music” and being a world-renowned orchestra, it needs to be growing its audience. All support is welcome, and since these days we are so distracted by social media 24/7, we just need to continue raising the awareness of this Chicago treasure. Not only within the Latino community, but also with all, especially youth. We all can benefit from listening to beautiful music and maybe even increase our concentration skills and not be so distracted by social media.