SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The National Institute of Arts’ program “Music Brings People Together” will be hosting a 10-day workshop for the NIA’s NATIONAL YOUTH ORCHESTRA (YO) with Conductor Juan Cristobal Palacios who arrives on the island on Sunday November 24, 2019.
Mr. Juan Cristóbal Palacios is a native of Caracas, Venezuela. He holds a BA in Music Theory and a MA in Composition both from Boston University; he also graduated from Yale University with a MA in Orchestra Conducting.
In Venezuela he founded, and was appointed as the first President and Music Director of the Fundación Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil de Chacao, which belongs to the “El Sistema” national music program. He also served as President of the Fundación Cultural Chacao, where he designed the entire cultural agenda for Chacao County. During his tenure at Chacao he produced a whole range of art manifestations from educational to recreational, from traditional art exhibits or ballet recitals, to urban street art and contemporary dance.
Palacios passion for music education and more specific, community music programs, led him to develop an innovated program for the Fundación Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil de Chacao. All students registered in the program received instruction in the three fundamentals of instrument performance: solo repertoire, chamber music, and orchestral repertoire. The program started in 1993 with five musicians and five years later grew to more than 250 students playing in five different ensembles studying the fundamentals of music theory, music history, and instrumental performance. I am proud to say that of all the students that went through the program during my years in charge, and decided to make music their life project, all became professional musicians and have been playing in professional orchestras as well as teaching music around the world.
Juan Cristóbal Palacios has been living in San Diego, California for the past decade where he became part of the Conductors’ Faculty at the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory. He is responsible for teaching three different ensembles at the Showcase Level. He has also been involved as a Teacher Artist and Supervisor with the Opus Community Program, which is the “El Sistema” Community program developed by the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory. This program is in charge of teaching the fundamentals of music to students that belong to the public education school system.
Palacios, as one of the thousands soldiers from the “El Sistema”, strongly believes on the power that music education has on the youth; it provides them with an important tool for the future, a tool that can help to overcome and navigate the different paths of life. The discipline acquired through music learning, can be translated to any activity or goals they would like to accomplish in life.
For his ability to impart knowledge, promotes enthusiasm, and intellectual curiosity among young people in 2000 Mr. Palacios received the “José María y Bote” Orden en su Primera Clase, the highest cultural award in Chacao County. Since 2006, he has been Principal of JCP Cultural Advisory; a group of professionals that help organizations create, improve, develop, and implement cultural programs.
“Students and teachers are looking forward to this special treat in preparation for the Holiday concerts in December. Parents will also enjoy a workshop by Mr. Palacios involving them in their child’s musical development” said Director Arlene Halley Newhouse. This program is partly funded by the Dutch Disaster Fund. Special thanks to the Belair Beach Hotel for providing a week’s lodging for Mr. Palacios. Stay tuned to the upcoming concert on December 7 which will be a festive affair in the heart of Philipsburg.