About the Choir
Orfeón San Juan Bautista, a professional 42 mixed-voice choral ensemble, began its cultural labor in August of 2001. It is without a doubt the single most active choral organization in the Puerto Rican cultural and artistic scene. Since its foundation, the choir has offered more than a hundred and twenty concerts which regularly include premieres of works by contemporary Puerto Rican composers. Over past ten years, the ensemble’s musicality, expressivity, high technical level, as well as the constant quality of its renditions, have earned it a place of honor amongst Latin American cultural institutions. Orfeón San Juan Bautista’s artistic seasons feature a large number of events that include several public and private concerts, educational conferences and digital audio recordings. The ensemble's diverse repertoire spans the sacred and secular compositions of the great European choral traditions, from the Middle Ages to the present, as well as Latin American academic and traditional folkloric music.
Orfeón San Juan Bautista has produced ten compact disc recordings which document a large part of the ensemble’s musical labor. Moreover, since 2004 GD & E Orfeón San Juan Bautista Corporation sponsors the radio series Mayormente a capella, a co-production with Radio Universidad de Puerto Rico, the state university radio station (www.radiouniversidad.pr). The series features a varied program that focuses on Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and modern choral music, as well as vocal jazz and folklore.
Amongst the ensemble's most important performances are: the Yale University Concert Tour (2002); the musical offering to His Holiness Tensin Gyatso, the XIVth Dalai Lama of Tibet (Universal Responsibility conference, San Juan Puerto Rico, 2004); Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) Requiem Mass, conducted by Michael Beck (third edition of the Settimana di Musica Sacra dal Mondo festival, Florence, Italy, 2005); Estampas criollas, work commissioned by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture to famed composer and guitarist Ernesto Cordero (b. 1946) alongside the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra (Luis A. Ferré Fine Arts Centre, San Juan, 2005); Música sacra de las tres Américas in the Santo Stefano al Ponte Vecchio church (Florence, Italy, 2005); the Ohio Sate University- Dayton University- Sinclair College Concert Tour (Ohio, U.S.A., 2005); Mosaic: the Colors of Choral Music tour to Miami, Florida, U.S.A. (2007); and the New York City Concert Tour (2008), which featured a concert at the majestic St. Patrick's Cathedral; the tour to Seville, Spain, by invitation from the Cristóbal de Morales Professional Conservatory of Music, the period ensemble Archivo 415 and the Municipality of Alájar, Huelva (2010); and the Concert Tour to the Dominican Republic, where Orfeón performed at the National Conservatory of Music and in the historic Metropolitan Cathedral Santa María de la Encarnación, the oldest in the Western Hemisphere.
In February, 2006 Orfeón San Juan Bautista began its ambitious children's educational project: the Orfeón San Juan Bautista Choral Academy. This program combines a solid educational and disciplinary structure, with the utmost respect for the child's sensibility. The curriculum is designed so that the students strengthen their self-esteem, as well as their vocal, artistic and teamwork abilities, while they learn about Puerto Rican culture, its music and its finest values. Academically, they receive formal instruction in music theory, solfège, vocal technique and music appreciation through classes structured in small groups.
In 2009, the choir founded the chamber string orchestra Cuerdas de Orfeo which serves as Orfeón San Juan Bautista’s official accompanying ensemble. The orchestra is composed of professional musicians and advanced students from the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music.
In March, 2006 GD & E Orfeón San Juan Bautista Corporation in collaboration with University of Puerto Rico Alumni Association created and awarded the Abel Di Marco Scholarship, a monetary fund destined for the purchase of musical instruments for talented young students.