Trumpeter and triathlete Bernat Xamena tells his story. Presented by TUI Care Foundation. Video by Nova Producciones. (Video lasts 6 min 52 sec) | Youtube: Majorca Daily Bulletin TV

Bernat Xamena picked up a trumpet for the first time at the age of six. At the age of sixteen, this talented musician from Porreres was accepted into the Spanish National Youth Orchestra, which he was a member of for five years. “Music has always been my great passion. Nobody in our family was a musician. But I said to my mum at the age of six: ‘Mum, I want to study music.’”

It was already clear to him at the age of six that he wanted to become a musician. Photos: Private

Now 47, Bernat did everything he could to become a professional musician. And he did so successfully. At the age of eight, he began studying piano as well as trumpet and eventually graduated with top marks in trumpet from the Conservatory of Music in Valencia. At the age of 17, he was accepted into the Palma Symphony Orchestra. At the age of 19, he auditioned for the Ibero-American Youth Orchestra CAB-UNESCO and was selected as a special student at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He spent three years in the United States.

Sport helped the musician to overcome his problems.

But a short time later, when he was at the peak of his career, the tide turned for the young professional musician. “Suddenly I could no longer hold the note on the trumpet. I thought: ‘What’s going on?’ “ For the first time, Bernat Ximena was suffering from fine motor misfires. “I still remember suddenly making uncontrolled movements with my head and simply not being able to bring the trumpet to my mouth.” These were the beginnings of a disorder also known as focal embouchure dystonia. “The fine motor skills no longer play along, movements that have been practised for a long time suddenly become uncontrolled,” says Bernat. At the time, the causes of this disorder were still virtually unexplored. “There was very little information about this disorder at the time. I stopped playing for two months and then started all over again.”

It took a total of seven years before he was able to play properly again. “Seven years of hard work and daily training,” he recalls, but then after ten years the symptoms returned. “And nothing that had helped me before had any effect. I really thought I was going crazy.”

Bernat Xamena takes part in triathlon competitions and supports various aid organisations.

But he didn’t give up and fought his way back. In addition to the support of his family and musician friends, he was helped above all by sport. “Sport saved me.” He began to take part in triathlons. With a lot of perseverance and discipline, he qualified for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii in 2018.

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By taking part in various sporting events, he also supported aid organisations on the island, such as Mallorca Sense Fam (Mallorca without Hunger) and ELA Balears, which supports people with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a fatal motor neuron disease). In recent years, he has also been able to encourage many professional musicians who are also affected by focal attachment dystonia. “Many people have contacted me and said that they have suffered from this disorder for years but have never dared to confide in anyone.”

He is now fully active as a musician again and is back on stage as a trumpeter. He has recently given courses at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in Tallinn, at Northwestern University in Chicago, at the Conservatory of Lanzarote, Ontinyent and l’Olleria, as well as at various venues in Mallorca.

Among other things, Xamena works together with the aid organisation Mallorca Sense Fam.

He is at present the trumpeter of the Banda Municipal de Música de Palma (SimfoVents Palma). He has also completed the album “Somni d’una trompeta” in collaboration with eight other Spanish composers.

Bernat is currently doing well. “But I also know that the attacks can always come back. But until then, I’m enjoying what I’m doing and I’m just proud that I’ve never given up.”

Cooperation with TUI and TUI Care Foundation

Support from the tourism industry: The video project is sponsored by Europe’s leading tourism group TUI and its TUI Care Foundation. The initiative was founded in 2016 with the aim of supporting sustainable projects in the destinations. In doing so, the foundation focuses on the potential of the tourism sector as a driver for social development, education and prosperity. The Group promotes sustainable tourism in cooperation with local people.