Assistant Professor of Music in Choral Studies
Cristian Grases joined the Department of Music faculty in Fall 2009. Dr. Grases teaches undergraduate and graduate courses at CalStateLA in choral music and conducts choral ensembles. He was formerly the Director of Choral Activities at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington, and has taught at Simon Bolivar University of Caracas, and the University of Miami in Florida.
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. In the summer of 2008 Grases conducted workshops and sessions as a guest conductor in France (Europa Cantat Jr.) and Denmark (World Symposium on Choral Music) and taught and adjudicated in Indonesia. He is an active composer, and is frequently commissioned to compose for ensembles.
Grases is also the founder and artistic director of Amazonia Vocal Ensemble, which is based in Miami and focuses on Latin American repertoire. He has served as the assistant conductor of the Miami Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Eduardo Marturet and as the Conductor of the Young Musician’s Orchestra in Miami. From 1995 to 2002 he directed "Cíncopah", a five male vocal ensemble he founded that is dedicated to the creation of new music based in vocal and jazz traditions.
In addition to his work with university and professional choral ensembles, Grases is well-regarded as a conductor and clinician with young person’s choral groups. 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. He has had international concert tours with his former youth choir Cantoría Juvenil of the Schola Cantorum de Caracas (Venezuela), and the Iowa Youth Chorus (USA). In addition to serving as guest conductor in concerts and workshops nationally and internationally; he was the coordinator of choral activities in the Youth Orchestra Foundation of Caracas under the direction of Jose Antonio Abreu.
Honors and Awards
In 1995 Grases received the 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 was selected to be one of the 16 participants of the Swedish competition for young conductors “Eric Ericson Award” in October 2003. He won first prize at the Emerging Composer Competition at Yale University in 2008 with his work Visiones del Llano - 2. Amanecer.
In 2004 he was selected by the IFCM (International Federation for Choral Music) as one of the five-member committee for the Songbridge Project, together with renowned choral masters and chaired by the creator of the project, Erkki Pohjola (Finland). Grases is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the IFCM.
Dr. Grases holds the Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Miami where he studied with Jo-Michael Scheibe and Joshua Habermann. He holds the Master Degree with honors in Choral Conducting from the Simón Bolívar University in Venezuela where he studied with María Guinand and Alberto Grau. Grases was invited by Helmuth Rilling under a scholarship to study Choral and Orchestral Conducting at the “Sommerakademie” of Stutgart, Germany, in 1998, and has studied composition, arranging, choral conducting and orchestra conducting with national and international music masters.