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 Bolívar University (MM) in Caracas, Venezuela, 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, Los Angeles.
An award winning conductor and composer, Dr. Grases received 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 numerous enesembles including 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 USA, Canada, France, Denmark, The Netherlands, Israel, Indonesia, China, Venezuela, and Japan. He has also presented sessions in the World Symposia in Denmark and Argentina, and will presenting again at the World Symposium for Choral Music in Seoul, Korea this coming Summer. Additionally he has presented at several ACDA regional and national conventions, and will present once again at the ACDA Western Division Convention in Santa Barbara this coming February.
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 part of the editorial board of the International Choral Bulletin and has been the editor of the Children’s and Youth Column for the bulletin since 2005. Most recently, Dr. Grases has started a new Choral Series entitled “The Choral Music of Latin America and the Caribbean” published by Gentry Publications as an editorial outlet for new Latin American choral repertoire.