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Cristian Grases

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Name  Cristian Grases

Role  Composer
Cristian Grases httpsmusicuscedufiles201411Grases240X240jpg
Education  Simon Bolivar University, University of Miami
Similar People  Jo‑Michael Scheibe, Dominick Argento, David Conte, Morten Lauridsen

Cristian F. Grases (born December 22, 1973) is an internationally known Venezuelan conductor/composer. He received his master's degree with honors in Choral Conducting from the Simón Bolívar University in Venezuela in 2001, where he studied with María Guinand and Alberto Grau and completed his DMA at the University of Miami Frost School of Music in 2009.


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Born December 22, 1973 in Caracas, Venezuela, Grases started his musical studies in the National Conservatory of Music "Juan José Landaeta” at age 11, where he studied music theory, harmony, counterpoint, history, and piano. His musical life started as a chorister and instrumentalist in 1989, and then as composer, assistant conductor and conductor of choral and instrumental ensembles until the present. He has studied composition, arranging, choral conducting and orchestra conducting with national and international music masters. After two “Bach-academie” workshops with Helmuth Rilling in Venezuela, Grases was invited by Rilling under a scholarship to study Choral and Orchestral Conducting at the “Sommerakademie” of Stuttgart, Germany, in 1998.

In 1995 he founded "Cíncopah", a 5 male vocal ensemble that is dedicated to the creation of new music based in vocal and jazz tendencies, working with them until 2002. From 1996 to 2002 he was part of the staff of the project "Pequeños Cantores de la Schola” as the conductor of the Second Level and Cantoría Juvenil. In the same year he received a very prestigious award for the arts in Venezuela: "Orden José Felix Ribas" for artistic merit. He also won the first and second prize in a choral arrangement competition "Estilo Caribeño"; He has been involved in many international concert tours with his former youth choir Cantoría Juvenil of the Schola Cantorum de Caracas (Venezuela), and the Iowa Youth Chorus (USA); earning international prestige and recognition. He has served as guest conductor in concerts and workshops nationally and internationally; has developed himself as the coordinator of the choral activities in the Youth Orchestra Foundation of Caracas under the direction of Jose Antonio Abreu; and has taught choral conducting, history and general music at the graduate and graduate programs in the Simon Bolivar University of Caracas, Central Washington University in Washington State, and University of Miami in Florida, US. He was selected to be one of the 16 participants of the Swedish competition for young conductors “Eric Ericson Award” in October 2003. In 2004 he was selected by the IFCM (International Federation for Choral Music) as one of the 5-member committee for the Songbridge Project, together with renowned choral masters and chaired by the creator of the project: Erkki Pohjola (Finland) [1]

In 2007, Grases founded Amazonia Vocal Ensemble [2] part of Amazonia Music Corp. (a 501(c)3 non-profit organization), which is one of the first vocal performing arts ensembles in the United States dedicated primarily to the performance and preservation of Latin American choral music. He conducted Amazonia for two years before leaving Miami. He acts now as Amazonia's Artistic Director.

In the fall of 2009, Grases served as an associate professor at The California State University in Los Angeles [3], teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses, and directing the university ensembles.

Grases currently teaches at the University of Southern California where he conducts the Thornton Concert Choir since 2010.

Conducting highlights

Grases has worked with many choral and orchestral conductors in his musical career, among them: Helmuth Rilling, Alberto Grau Conductor/Composer/Founder of the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela (Venezuela); María Guinand First Vice President for IFCM (International Federation for Choral Music) (Venezuela); Eduardo Marturet Conductor of the Miami Symphony Orchestra [4] Florida; Erkki Pohjola fi:Erkki Pohjola Founder of the Tapiola Choir [5] (Finland); Kari Ala-Pöllänen [6] Conductor of the Tapiola Choir [7] (Finland); Susan Knight [8] Founder and Artistic Director for the Newfoundland Symphony Youth Choir [9](Canada); Emily Ellsworth [10] Artistic Director, Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus [11] Illinois; Joseph Giunta [12] Director of the Des Moines Symphony [13] Ipwa; Gerardo Rabago Palafox Conductor of Coro de Cámara del CENART (Mexico); Tigram Hekekian [14] Director for the Armenian National Radio Chamber Choir (Armenia); Voicu Popescu Director for the Romanian Radio Children’s Choir (Rumania); Jo-Michael Scheibe Director of Choral Activities, University of Miami.

He has also participated as a guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and conducting pedagogue in numerous festivals, workshops, and events in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Some of them include:

  • Songbridge Workshop as part of the América Cantat III Festival – April 2000 in Caracas, Venezuela. [15]
  • Lecture on Children and Youth Choral Repertoire from composer Alberto Grau. The World of Children Choirs Festival - March 2001 in Vancouver, Canada.
  • Workshop on Latin-American Music for Children and Youth choirs; as part of the North Meets South Festival – April 2002 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • Songbridge Workshop as part of the ESPOO Choral Festival – June 2002 in Helsinki, Finland. [16]
  • Songbridge Workshop as part of the Europa Cantat Festival – July 2006 in Mainz, Germany.[17]
  • Guest clinician and conductor for the First International Choral Exchange and Conducting Workshop – July 2007 in Guangzhou, China.
  • Europa Cantat Jr., Guest Conductor – July 2008 in Nevers, France. [18]
  • World Symposium on Choral Music, Workshop Presenter – August 2008 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • 2012 Colorado All State Men's Choir Conductor
  • 2015 California Central Region Mixed Honor Choir Conductor
  • Some of Grases' other career highlights include serving as Conductor and Artistic Director for "Pequeños Catores de la Schola Cantorum de Caracas" (Schola's Little Singers) and for "Cantoría Juvenil de la Schola Cantorum de Caracas" (Schola's Youth Choir) from 1996–2002, Assistant Conductor of the "Orfeón Universitario" for Simon Bolivar University in Caracas, Venezuela from 1996–1998, Artistic Director for the Iowa Youth Chorus from 2003–2005, Conductor for the Women’s Chamber Ensemble of the University of Miami in 2008, and assistant conductor of the Miami Symphony Orchestra in 2008.

    Awards and recognitions

  • “José Felix Ribas” Award for merits in arts and culture – February 1998, Caracas, Venezuela
  • 1st prize in the arrangement contest for Caribbean Music “Caribe 6”, with the work Clarín (text and music: Tito Ciuffi; arrangement: Tito Ciuffi and Cristian Grases) – July 1998
  • 2nd prize in the arrangement contest for Caribbean Music “Caribe 6”, with the work Drume Negrita (text and music: Eliseo Grenet; arrangement: Cristian Grases) – July 1998
  • Selected to be one of the 16 participants of the “Eric Ericson Award”, a competition for young conductors – October 2003 in Sweden
  • Two Silver Medals at the 3rd Choral Olympics – July 2004 in Bremen, Germany
  • Member of the artistic committee of Songbridge – 2004 [19]
  • 1st prize of the Composition Competition at Yale University with the work Amanecer – April 2008 [20]
  • Elected to the Board of Directors of the International Federation of Choral Music – 2008
  • Teaching

    Grases earned a professorship at the Simon Bolivar University in Caracas, Venezuela teaching the History and Evolution of Vocal Music under María Guinand in 2001. In 2005, he served as the Director of Choral Activities in Central Washington University.

    He currently teaches at the University of Southern California as director for the Thornton School of Music Concert Choir where he works with the chair of the Department of Choral and Sacred Music, Jo-Michael Scheibe.


  • ¿A donde Irán? (for piano)
  • Bourrée (for piano)
  • Calipso Caraqueño (SSA)
  • Chuao (SSAA)
  • Coral Variado (SA; based in chorus #9 of Cantata BWV 21 of J. S. Bach)
  • Crux Fidelis (motet for SA)
  • El Estero (for clarinet)
  • Hoy (for violin and piano)
  • Invention for 2 voices (for piano)
  • Invention for 3 voices (for piano)
  • Kyrie (SSA)
  • Lapitril (Invention for music stands and pencils)
  • Misa in 4 movements (5 male voices)
  • Oblivion (SSA)
  • Passacaglia (SA and piano)
  • Pata Pa´ca, in collaboration with Alberto Grau (3 treble choruses, piano and E. Bass)
  • Silako Ueya (mixed choir and orchestra)
  • Si Tuviera Una Medida Perfecta (for 5 pairs of hands)
  • Visiones del Llano (SATB)
  • 1. Fiesta
  • 2. Amanecer
  • Vitrum Nostrum (motet for TTB)
  • Vive (for piano and flute)
  • Vuelo (for piano)
  • Arrangements

  • Abreme la Puerta (SSA)
  • Cantemos en Coro (SSA)
  • Canto Aragüeño (SATB)
  • Canto de Pilón (SA)
  • Clarín (5 male voices) 1st award in the arrangement contest Caribe 6
  • El Clavel (SA)
  • El Cucú (SA)
  • Eli Eli (SATB)
  • En Mi Viejo - San Juan (SATB)
  • Drume Negrita (5 male voices) 2nd award in the arrangement contest
  • Caribe 6
  • Goodbye (Adaptation for 5 male voices)
  • Jingle Bells (SAB)
  • Los Dos Gavilanes (SSA)
  • Queenana (SSA and piano)
  • Maria Pancha (SSA)
  • Nacimiento (SA)
  • Noche de Paz (SA)
  • O Happy Day (SSA)
  • La Paloma (SSA)
  • Patatín, Patatán (SATB)
  • Serenata Para la Tierra de Uno (SATB)
  • Stabat Mater (SSA/SSAA; based in 3 canon themes of J. Haydn)
  • Tonada (SATB)
  • Publishers

    Grases' music is published primarily by Walton Music Publishing [21] and by Earthsongs Choral Music [22]

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    Cristian Grases Wikipedia