World-renowned Guitar Player Talks Art and Business to Students
Pablo Sáinz-Villegas Encouraged Students to Follow their Purpose
In an inspiring lecture delivered to a group of Wittenborg Hospitality Business Administration (HBA) students, world-renowned Spanish classical guitar player Pablo Sáinz-Villegas made the point that art and business can not only coexist, but also complement each other. The one-and-a-half-hour activity was conducted on 14 February as part of the module Advanced Corporate Strategy (ACS), taught by senior lecturer Bert Meeuwsen. Previously, Sáinz-Villegas had also participated in a guest session offered to International Business Administration (IBA) and Marketing, Communication & Information (MCI) students.
Speaking remotely from Spain, Sáinz-Villegas talked about his trajectory as a successful artist and entrepreneur, highlighting how important it is for every professional to be aware of their bigger purpose in life. “For me, playing music has always been about the human connection I can establish with the audience. By playing music, I want to make a better world, and that is the cornerstone of my philosophy as an entrepreneur. Money should not be your final goal, but rather the result of your efforts, which need to be connected to a bigger purpose.”
The musician also stressed that entrepreneurs must not strive for perfection, because it is unattainable, but rather work towards excellence. “I have learned that it is very important to accept that, as humans, we make mistakes, and we should be able to forgive ourselves. More than that, we need to be strong and humble enough to discuss our mistakes with our co-workers and collaborators, because that gives the team the chance to learn and evolve. So, business must be an environment of trust where everyone is comfortable to share their experience,” he said.
Art and Business
According to Sáinz-Villegas, despite the differences between art and business, both fields are complementary, and the key to success is combining them in a balanced way. “Art is something that comes from the heart, and business is something that comes from the mind. As leaders, you should inspire people, and you will be able to do that through your heart. Your workers must feel that they are part of a purpose that is greater than themselves. Once they do, your business will be successful.”
At the end of the lecture, participants had the opportunity to ask multiple questions to the guitar player about his relationship with music, personal self-development and sources of inspiration, among other topics.
Regarding how he deals with challenges, Sáinz-Villegas answered that he sees them as part of a natural growth process. “We are often tempted to stay in the comfort zone, but I believe we should try to make our decisions out of love instead of fear. Challenges give you the opportunity to be creative, train your patience and develop yourself as both an entrepreneur and a human being, so it is important to face them,” he stressed.
Senior lecturer Bert Meeuwsen highlighted that artists can teach valuable lessons to both intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs, inspiring them to think outside the box. “Innovation is related to creative thinking, and creative thinking is connected to artistry. Therefore, in order to succeed, entrepreneurs must have a strong element of artistic behaviour in them,” he pointed out.
Meeuwsen also said that, by conducting this activity, he intended to introduce students to someone who, by being an internationally active musician, could provide them with new insights into entrepreneurship. “Pablo made students think about themselves, their behaviour and how they may act in an entrepreneurial role, as well as towards other people. I am very happy with the students’ reactions to this lecture, because many of them said that they felt touched, which means that what Pablo said has connected with their hearts.”
Born in Logroño, Spain, Pablo Sáinz-Villegas began learning the guitar at six years old, later moving to Germany to continue his studies. Since 2001, Sáinz-Villegas has lived in New York.
Over the course of his international career, he has been acclaimed by the press as a virtuosic musician and an ambassador of Spanish culture in the world. Sáinz-Villegas has played in more than 40 countries and with orchestras that include the Israel Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Orchestra of Spain, Berliner Philharmoniker and Concertgebouworkest.
Among other widely known musicians, Sáinz-Villegas has collaborated multiple times with Spanish singer Plácido Domingo, with whom he released “Volver”, a duo album. Their performances have taken places at venues such as the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid, where they played to an audience of over 85,000 people.
In 2006, Sáinz-Villegas founded the non-profit project “Music Without Borders Legacy”, whose mission is to bring music to people as a means to humanise their environment and promote understanding between different cultures. Through his various initiatives he has shared his music with more than 45,000 children in Spain, Mexico and the United States.
by Ulisses Sawczuk