Choral Conductor and University Professor, Venezuela
María Guinand is a choral conductor, university professor and leader of many choral projects both nationally and internationally. Frequently invited as conductor and teacher to different events and concerts in U.S.A, Europe, Asia and Latin America, she has specialised in Latin-American Choral Music of the XXth and XXIst centuries. She obtained the 'Kulturpreis' (1998) of the InterNationes Foundation , the Robert Edler Preis für Chormusik (2000) and the Helmuth Rilling Preis (2009).
At present, she conducts the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela with whom she has toured extensively and recorded many times. Always interested in new choral music, there have been some very important projects in which she has participated with the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela such as the premiere and more than 45 performances and 2 recordings for the labels Deutsche Grammophon (Echo Prize 2010) and Hanssler –Verlag (Grammy nominated 2002) of Osvaldo Golijov´s ‘Pasión según San Marcos’ (commissioned by the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart for the Bach’s year 2000) ; the premiere and recording for Nonesuch of John Adam´s ‘A Flowering Tree’ (commissioned by the Vienna Festival in the Mozart’s year 2006). She also conducted the premiere and recording (Carus-Verlag) with the Gaechinger Kantorei and the German Youth Orchestra of Gonzalo Grau’s oratorio ‘AQUA’ (commissioned by the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart).
She founded the Cantoría Alberto Grau (1976) and the Orfeón Universitario Simón Bolívar (1982), both highly recognized ensembles and winners of several prizes in international competitions. With the ‘Cantoría Alberto Grau’ she won 6 Prizes at competitions in Neuchatel (Switzerland) and Arezzo (Italy) (1989) and with the ‘Orfeón Universitario Simón Bolívar ’, three gold medals at the Olympic Games in Linz (Austria) (2000) .
She has been for more than 30 years (1976-2009) Associated Conductor and Advisor of Choral Symphonic Performances and Activites of ‘El Sistema’ ; she teaches in the Master Degree Program for Choral Conductors at the ‘University Simón Bolívar’ where she has worked as professor and conductor for 28 years. She collaborated closely with Helmuth Rilling conducting the Youth Choir of the Festivalensemble in the European Music Festival from 2001-2004, she has conducted the World Youth Choir (1998 and 2003) and has participated with her ensembles and as lecturer in several of the Simposia for Choral Music of the ‘International Federation for Choral Music’.
In recent years she has conducted concerts at the Sydney Opera House, the Barbican (London), Casa da Musica (Porto), Royal Carre Theatre (Amsterdam) , Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires) , Lincoln Center (New York/White Light Festival), Liederhalle (Stuttgart/Europeanmusikfest), Hult Center (Oregon Bach Festival), among others. In 2010, she was guest conductor in the Disney Hall in Los Angeles in the opening season of Gustavo Dudamel in the Festival 'America and the Americans '. She has led the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra , the Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, the Municipal Orchestra from Caracas, the ‘Symphony Orchestra of Los Teques’ , ‘Mérida Symphony Orchestra’; ‘Bundesjugend Orchester’ (Germany), in productions such as Bach’s 'Mass in B minor ',' St. John Passion ' and various ‘Cantatas’ ; Haendel ‘Messiah’; ' Mozart’s ‘Mass in C minor ',' Coronation Mass ', ' Requiem’; Mendelssohn’s ' Elias'; Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’; Brahms’ ‘German Requiem’; Bernstein’s ‘Chichester Psalms’; Stravinsky’s ‘Symphony of Psalms’; A. Grau’s ‘La Doncella’ amongst many others.
As a choral promoter, she is the Artistic Director of the Schola Cantorum of Venezuela Foundation, and coordinates the permanent development of choral centres for children and youth of low economic resources in Venezuela and other Latin American countries in the Project ‘Voces Latinas a Coro’, sponsored by the Andean Corporation Bank (CAF) and also advises in a similar project the ‘Palau de la Música’ (Barcelona,Spain). She also founded the ‘Academia Bach de Venezuela’ in close relationship with the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart and the ‘Academia Nacional de Canto Gregoriano’. As conductor of the ‘Polar Foundation Choir’ she has actively contributed to the development of choral music in private enterpirses. She served for 12 years as Latin American Vice-President of the ‘IFCM ‘and she is currently Advisor to the Board. She was also a member of the ‘International Music Council’ (UNESCO). She is editor of the series "Musica de Latinoamerica" by Earthsongs Editions and of several publications by Carus Verlag.
She graduated from Bristol University (England) and studied choral conducting with Alberto Grau. She further her conducting and musical education with Helmuth Rilling, Luigi Agustoni and Johannes B. Goeschl.