Location: California, USA
Cristian Grases joined the USC Thornton faculty in the Fall 2010 semester as assistant professor of choral music and conductor of the USC Thornton Concert Choir. Born in Venezuela, he earned degrees from the Simón Bolivar University (MM), where his principle teachers were Maria Guinand and Alberto Grau, and the University of Miami (DMA). He has previously served as interim director of choral activities at Central Washington University and assistant professor in choral music at California State University.
An award winning conductor and composer, Dr. Grases receieved the prestigious award for the arts in Venezuela, Orden José Felix Ribas for artistic merit, first prize at the Emerging Composer Competition at Yale University for his work Visiones del Llano—2. Amanecer, and an invitation from Helmuth Rilling to study at the Sommerakademie in Stuttgart, Germany. Additionally, he has been comissioned to write for several prestigious organizations such as the Piedmont Children's Chorus and the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, and his works have been performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
Dr. Grases has participated in numerous festivals, workshops, and events as a guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and conducting pedagogue in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Most recently, he guest conducted in Canada, France, Denmark, The Netherlands, Israel, Indonesia, China, and Venezuela. He has also presented sessions in the World Symposia in Denmark and Argentina, and several ACDA regional and national conventions. This season Dr. Grases has been invited to guest conduct in California, New Mexico, Canada, and Japan.
During his time in Florida, Dr. Grases was the founder and artistic director of Amazonia Vocal Ensemble, based in Miami, with a focus on Latin American repertoire. He also served as conductor for the Women’s Chamber Ensemble of the University of Miami, was the assistant conductor of the Miami Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Eduardo Marturet, and the conductor of the Young Musician’s Orchestra.
In 2004, Dr. Grases was selected by the International Federation for Choral Music as one of a five-member committee for the Songbridge Project, together with renowned choral masters and chaired by the creator of the project, Erkki Pohjola (Finland). He was elected into the Board of Directors of the International Federation for Choral Music in 2008 and remains active in this position. In addition, Grases is currently chair of the Ethnic and Multicultural Repertoire and Standards Committee for the Western Division of the American Choral Directors Association, he is the editor of the Children’s and Youth Column for the International Choral Bulletin, and is in charge of the new Choral Series entitles “The Choral Music of Latin America and the Caribbean” published by Gentry Publications.