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), and the University of Miami (DMA). He studied composition under Antonio Mastrogiovanni, Emilio Mendoza, Beatríz Bilbao, and his most influential mentor, Alberto Grau. Grases has composed and arranged a large number of choral works for his choirs throughout the years, many of which have been published by Earthsongs, Boosey & Hawkes, Walton, Pavane, and A Coeur Joie. In 2002 he joined efforts with Alberto Grau to write a work commissioned by the Songbridge Festival and the Tapiola Choir. He was also commissioned a work for the anniversary celebration of the Piedmont Children’s Choir in 2006; and in 2008 he won first prize at the Emerging Composer Competition at Yale University for his work Visiones del Llano—2. Amanecer. His latest commission by the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Three Women Walking, was premiered in the summer of 2012. He is currently working on a multi-movement Gloria based on Latin American rhythms to be premiered at Carnegie Hall in June 2014.