CSU Director of Bands Invited to Guest Conduct in Central America
Bands, Marching Band, Music, University Center for the Arts | June 06, 2012
Summer 2012 will be a busy and fulfilling season for the Colorado State University Director of Bands. Dr. Christopher Nicholas has been appointed principal guest band conductor and adviser to the National Sistema de Orquestas, Coros y Bandas de Guatemala and will conduct concerts there in June. In July he will serve on the conducting faculty of OperaMaya in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
The National Sistema de Guatemala is a government funded youth education program modeled after the highly successful El Sistema movement started in Venezuela in 1975 by José Antonio Abreu. The Venezuela program currently teaches music to 350,000 of its nation’s poorest children, and over 25 countries now embrace the youth and young adult orchestra, choir, and band system as a tool for reducing poverty and changing life paths.
While in Guatemala, Dr. Nicholas will prepare new repertoire with concert and marching ensembles, as well as offer conducting masterclasses and advising to Sistema teachers.
“I am excited to represent CSU in Central America, not only working with Sistema’s talented student musicians, but helping them establish a Master’s in Conducting program modeled after the summer program at Colorado State University,” said Nicholas. “Clearly the visionary work of my colleagues, including Wes Kenney, Leslie Stewart, and James Kim, is making an international impact.”
In 2010 Dr. Nicholas was a guest conductor for the prestigious International Conductors’ Festival in Kiev, Ukraine; his involvement lead to the conducting invitation from Sistema ensemble coordinator Javier Mendoza, who was in attendance at the festival. Mr. Mendoza also serves as director of the Chicago Arts Orchestra whose members often participate in the OperaMaya Orchestra.
The intensive OperaMaya summer program for advanced college vocal and instrumental students provides annual performance opportunities of standard opera repertoire including overtures, arias, and excerpts from Bizet’s Carmen, Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Verdi’s La traviata, and Dvorak’s Rusalka.
The festival orchestra includes members of the National Sistema de Orquestas de Guatemala, professional section leaders from the Chicago Arts Orchestra, and students from the United States. Dr. Nicholas will conduct daily rehearsals as well as present several masterclasses.