Persistence and Triumph: The Inspiring Journey of Bernat Xamena, Trumpeter from Mallorca

by Madonna

Bernat Xamena’s musical journey began when he first picked up a trumpet at the age of six. From that moment, his passion for music ignited, despite not having any musicians in his family. Determined to pursue his dream, Bernat expressed his desire to study music to his mother, a pivotal moment that set the course for his future.

Now 47 years old, Bernat’s unwavering dedication and talent have propelled him to great heights in the music world. At the age of eight, he began studying both piano and trumpet, ultimately graduating with top honors in trumpet from the Conservatory of Music in Valencia. By 17, he had secured a position in the prestigious Palma Symphony Orchestra. At 19, he auditioned for the Ibero-American Youth Orchestra CAB-UNESCO and was selected as a special student at the renowned Eastman School of Music in New York. He spent three formative years honing his craft in the United States.


However, adversity struck when Bernat unexpectedly encountered a turning point in his flourishing career. “Suddenly, I couldn’t hold the note on the trumpet anymore. I couldn’t understand what was happening,” he recalls. For the first time, he experienced fine motor misfires, characterized by uncontrolled movements and an inability to bring the trumpet to his mouth. It was the onset of focal embouchure dystonia, a disorder that disrupts fine motor skills and renders practiced movements unpredictable. At that time, information about this condition was scarce, and Bernat took a two-month break from playing before starting anew.


It took an arduous seven-year journey of unwavering determination and daily training before Bernat was able to regain his ability to play. “Seven years of hard work,” he reflects. However, after a decade, the symptoms resurfaced, leaving him disheartened. “Everything that had previously helped me seemed ineffective. I genuinely thought I was losing my mind.”


Yet, Bernat refused to surrender. With the support of his family, fellow musicians, and an unexpected savior, sport, he embarked on a path to reclaim his life. “Sport saved me,” he affirms. Participating in triathlons became a turning point, enabling him to channel his energy and find solace. Through unwavering perseverance and discipline, he even qualified for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii in 2018.

Bernat’s passion extended beyond personal triumphs as he actively supported charitable organizations on the island, including Mallorca Sense Fam (Mallorca without Hunger) and ELA Balears, which aids individuals with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). In recent years, he has become a beacon of hope for fellow musicians afflicted by focal embouchure dystonia. “Many people have reached out to me, sharing their years-long struggles with this disorder, yet never having the courage to confide in someone.”

Today, Bernat is fully immersed in his musical career, once again gracing the stage as a trumpeter. He recently conducted courses at esteemed institutions such as the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in Tallinn, Northwestern University in Chicago, and various conservatories in Mallorca, Lanzarote, Ontinyent, and l’Olleria.

Currently serving as the trumpeter of the Banda Municipal de Música de Palma (SimfoVents Palma), Bernat has also collaborated with eight Spanish composers to create the album “Somni d’una trompeta” (Dream of a Trumpet).

Although he acknowledges the possibility of future setbacks, Bernat remains optimistic. “I know the attacks can return at any time. But until then, I am savoring every moment and taking pride in the fact that I never gave up.” Bernat Xamena’s journey serves as an inspiration to all, a testament to the power of resilience and unwavering determination in the face of adversity.


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