Horacio Contreras, Cello

Venezuelan cellist Horacio Contreras is considered one of the most outstanding cellists of his generation in his country. Trained in El Sistema, and prize winner at the Carlos Prieto Cello Competition, he has developed a diverse career as a chamber musician, recitalist, and soloist; he is also engaged in an interesting pedagogical activity.

As a part of his activities at El Sistema, he has been repeatedly invited to work with the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra cello section where he has had the opportunity to work with Simon Rattle and Gustavo Dudamel and perform at the Salzburg Music Festival.

He has appeared as a concerto soloist with orchestras including the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, the Municipal Orchestra of Caracas, the Perpignan Conservatory Orchestra, the EAFIT University Orchestra of Medellín, the Virtuosi of Caracas and the Camerata de France. As a chamber musician and recitalist Contreras has performed at numerous festivals and music series including Festival del Nuevo Mundo, the Aruba Piano Festival, the Mérida Music Festival and the Michigan Chamber Players. He has shared the scene with gifted musicians, as are conductors Christian Vázquez, Rodolfo Saglimbeni, Pablo Castellanos and César Iván Lara, the members of the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society and faculty members of leading conservatories and schools of music such as Geneva, Lausanne, Oberlin and the University of Michigan.

His pedagogic activity has included holding faculty positions at El Sistema’s Latin American Cello Academy and the Universidad de Los Andes in Venezuela. He has been invited to teach at leading institutions such as the Juilliard School, Oberlin, the University of Michigan, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Conservatorio Andino Itinerante, Centro Mozarteum de Caracas and Festival del Nuevo Mundo.

After his first years at El Sistema, he graduated from the Perpignan Conservatory in France with the Gold Medal and an Excellence Prize, and later received his Master of Music in Cello Performance at the University of Michigan. His principal teachers were William Molina, Philippe Muller, Lluis Claret and Richard Aaron. Contreras is currently completing his doctoral degree at the University of Michigan’s cello program under the guidance of Anthony Elliott and Richard Aaron.