CRISTIAN GRASES, GUEST CONDUCTOR
Cristian Grases joined the USC Thornton faculty in the Fall 2010 semester 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, and has been commissioned to write for several prestigious organizations such as the Piedmont Children's Chorus and the Santa Fe Desert Chorale. Numerous ensembles including the Los Angeles Master Chorale have performed his works.
Dr. Grases has participated in numerous festivals, workshops, and events as a guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and conducting pedagogue in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. He has also 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 National Convention.
Dr. Grases was elected into the Board of Directors of the International Federation for Choral Music in 2008 and remains active in this position, and was recently appointed as one of the vice presidents for the World Youth and Children Choral Artists Association based in Hong Kong. In addition, Grases is the chair of the Ethnic Music Repertoire and Resources Committee for the Western Division of the American Choral Directors Association (2009-present), he is part of the editorial board of the International Choral Bulletin (2005-present), has been the editor of the Children’s and Youth Column for the bulletin (2005-present), and was the founding Artistic Director for the Esperanza Azteca Los Angeles Orchestra and Amazonia Ensemble. He also serves as the Artistic Director of Meritage Vocal Arts Ensemble. Most recently, Dr. Grases has started a new Choral Series entitled “The Choral Music of Latin America and the Caribbean” published by Gentry Publications as an editorial outlet for new Latin American choral repertoire.
ERIN CRAIG, APPRENTICE CONDUCTOR
Erin Craig is a conductor, vocalist, and pianist from Edmonton. She studied at MacEwan University, Berklee College of Music, and the University of Alberta, where she recently completed her MMus in Choral Conducting. Erin taught jazz arranging and ear training in MacEwan University’s jazz program for five years, and has worn many musical hats including recording vocalist, keyboardist in a prog rock band, and community theatre music director.
Erin is the artistic director of the Accord Ensemble, a member of Pro Coro Canada, and a section leader in the Richard Eaton Singers. She is an advocate for gender equality and diversity within choral communities, and loves to arrange pop and jazz songs for choirs.