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A product of Venezuelan El Sistema, cellist Horacio Contreras has been praised for his “expressive playing” and his “phenomenal work” (mundoclasico.com) and is currently considered “one of the best Venezuelan cellists of his generation” (El Universal, Caracas). Horacio has appeared as a concerto soloist with orchestras including Lawrence University Symphony Orchestra, Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy Chamber Orchestra, the Municipal Orchestra of Caracas, Virtuosi of Caracas, the EAFIT University Orchestra in Medellín, the Camerata de France, and the Simón Bolivar Symphony.
Horacio is a member of the faculty of Lawrence University and the Music Institute of Chicago, and the author of the cello adaptation of the famous work Exercises in Various Combinations of Double-Stops by renowned pedagogue Dr. Roland Vamos. His long and passionate involvement with cello teaching started at Venezuelan El Sistema, and his activities as a teacher have included holding faculty positions at the University of Michigan’s String Preparatory Academy, the Universidad de Los Andes (Venezuela) and El Sistema’s Latin American Cello Academy (Venezuela). He has presented master classes at Juilliard, Michigan, Oberlin, and top institutions in South America. His artist faculty appointments have included Center Stage Strings (University of Michigan), Bravo! Summer Music Academy, Festival InternacioUNAL de Violoncello (Colombia), and Aruba Symphony Festival, among others.
As a chamber musician and recitalist Contreras has performed at festivals and on concert series in the United States, France, Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica and the Caribbean islands. His chamber music collaborations have included performances with musicians from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and faculty members of leading conservatoires and schools of music such as Geneva, Lausanne, Oberlin, and the University of Michigan. His active interest in new music has resulted in collaborations with relevant composers including Bright Sheng, Steven Mackey, Derek Bermel, Paul Desenne and Ricardo Lorenz. Horacio was a founding member of Khemia Ensemble, with which he performed in new music series and festivals and was in residence at Tufts, Michigan, Michigan State, and institutions in Argentina and Colombia. As a current member of the Reverón Piano Trio he has performed at Louisiana State University and the Aruba Symphony Festival.
Horacio began his studies through El Sistema in Venezuela. He graduated from Perpignan Conservatoire (France) and Escola de Musica de Barcelona (Spain) and earned both his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan.
Since her orchestral debut at age twelve, Ana María has performed as a soloist, collaborative pianist, and conductor, at important venues such as Chicago Symphony Hall, Spivey Hall, Teatro Teresa Carreño (Caracas, Venezuela), Salzburg Domesaal, Megaron Mousikis Concert Hall in Athens, Parco de la musica in Rome, Teatro Arcimboldi in Milano, Teatro Odeum in Patras, and with renowned orchestras in Austria, Panama, Brazil, the United States, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Venezuela. Upcoming performances include concert tours with the Reverón Trio (a Venezuelan ensemble devoted to the standard and Latin American piano trio repertoire), concerts with Erica Richardson, concertmaster of the Spokane Symphony, and the Aelia duo (with pianist Elena Lacheva), as well as masterclasses in the US and abroad.
After finishing her two-year tenure as Studio Artist at the prestigious Houston Grand Opera Studio, as well as the Merola Opera Program of the San Francisco Opera, she became the Head Vocal Coach of the Moores Opera Center at the University of Houston. Currently, she is Assistant Professor of Collaborative Piano at Louisiana State University, where she is in charge of the collaborative program. She is the Artistic Director of the Collaborative Piano Institute, an intensive three-week summer program devoted to collaborative pianists, that counts with stellar faculty, such as Martin Katz, Rita Sloan, Kathleen Kelly, Marie-France Lefebvre, Howard Watkins, and many more. She was Head Coach and Conductor for the Franco American Vocal Academy in France and Salzburg (FAVA) during several summers, where she conducted works like Don Giovanni and La Belle Helene, and coached singers in their roles and art song.
She has won First Prize at all the major Venezuelan piano competitions, as well as the University of South Carolina Concerto Competition and the Ouro Branco Festival Competition (Brazil). She is also a regular guest, as performer and teacher, at different Universities in the US such as the University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, Bemidji State University and the University of South Carolina. Ana María holds a Master’s degree in piano performance from the University of Wisconsin, an Artist Certificate from the University of South Carolina, and a Doctorate in collaborative piano from the University of Michigan, where she studied with renowned pianist Martin Katz.
She was principal keyboard of the Venezuelan Symphony Orchestra (2007–08) as well as assistant professor at the University of Musical Studies in Caracas. Besides her musical training, Ana María is fluent in English, Spanish, French, and Italian, and also a Geophysical Engineer. Her thesis was published in the prestigious journal Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors.
Reinaldo Moya is a graduate of Venezuela’s El Sistema music education system. Through El Sistema, he had access to musical training from an early age and was a founding member of the Simón Bolívar Orchestra touring throughout Europe, North and South America. Moya is the Composer-in-Residence at the Schubert Club. He is the recipient of the 2015 McKnight Composers Fellowship, the Van Lier Fellowship from Meet the Composer and the Aaron Copland Award from the Copland House. He graduated from The Juilliard School with both masters and doctorate degrees, under the tutelage of Samuel Adler and Robert Beaser. He received his Bachelors in Music degree from West Virginia University, where his principal teacher was John Beall.
Moya recently completed the opera Memory Boy, with a libretto by Mark Campbell, which was commissioned by the Minnesota Opera for its Project Opera and premiered in February of 2016. Excerpts from his opera Generalissimo (about the life, death and afterlife of a fictionalized Latin American dictator) have been performed in New York at Symphony Space and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. His orchestral piece Siempre Lunes, Siempre Marzo was performed by the New Jersey Symphony and The Juilliard Orchestra. In the fall of 2016, his Passacaglia for Orchestra was chosen by the audience and the musicians of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra as the winner of the Earshot Composers Competition sponsored by the American Composers Orchestra.
His music has been performed in Germany, Colombia, Australia, Argentina, Venezuela and throughout the United States by performers such as the Juilliard Orchestra, the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, the Da Capo Chamber Players, the Attacca Quartet as well as musicians from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, among others. Mr. Moya has taught at St. Olaf College and Interlochen Arts Camp, and is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at Augsburg University in Minneapolis.
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About the Host
Composer Abbie Betinis writes music called “inventive, richly melodic” (The New York Times), “superb, whirling, soaring” (Tacoma News Tribune), and “the highlight” of the program (Boston Globe). With over 50 commissioned works for ensembles such as Cantus, the New England Philharmonic, and The Rose Ensemble, Abbie has been awarded a McKnight Composer Fellowship, grants from the American Composers Forum, ASCAP, and Jerome Foundation, and was recently listed in NPR Music’s Top 100 Composers Under 40. A resident of Saint Paul, she is adjunct professor of composition at Concordia University, and was composer-in-residence with the Schubert Club from 2005-2017.