12th World Symposium on Choral Music

Cristian Grases


Country: Venezuela

When faced with the possibility of programming Latin American choral music with vocal ensembles, conductors often question the resources at their disposal. Many popular Latin American instruments can be substituted with traditional instruments that conductors might have at their disposal.

This interactive session will cover 11 Latin American rhythms that are most recurring in the folk and popular choral repertoire, exploring the basic structure for each one and the appropriate instruments with which to play them. Cristian Grases’ presentation will demystify the difficulties of these folk dances and empower participants to render this repertoire in a way that resembles the traditions of each Latin American country.

Cristian Grases joined the USC Thornton faculty in the 2010 and is currently an associate 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; assistant professor in choral music at California State University, Los Angeles; and national coordinator of choirs for EL SISTEMA under Maestro José Antonio Abreu. 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. Additionally, he is an award-winning conductor and composer.

Dr. Grases has presented sessions in the World Choral Symposia in Denmark, Argentina, and South Korea. Additionally, he has presented at several ACDA regional and national conventions and conducted the National Latin American Honor Choir at the Salt Lake City ACDA National Convention.

Cristian was elected into the Board of Directors of the International Federation for Choral Music in 2008 and is currently a member of the Executive Board as a Vice-President representing the region of Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition, Grases was the founding Artistic Director for the Esperanza Azteca Los Angeles Orchestra and Amazonia Ensemble, and serves in numerous international artistic committees. He also serves as the Artistic Director of Meritage Vocal Arts Ensemble. In 2013 Dr. Grases started a new Choral Series entitled “The Choral Music of Latin America and the Caribbean” published by Gentry Publications as an editorial outlet for Latin American choral repertoire.

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