Cristian Grases joined the USC Thornton faculty in the Fall 2010 semester and is currently a professor of choral music, conductor of the USC Thornton Concert Choir, and Vice-Dean for the Classical Division. 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, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, the Golden Bridge Choir, the ORA Singers, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
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 ACDA National Convention.
Dr. Grases was elected into the Board of Directors of the International Federation for Choral Music in 2008 and served as a member of the Executive Board as a Vice-President representing the region of Latin America and the Caribbean until December of 2020. In addition, Grases was the chair of the Ethnic Music Repertoire and Resources Committee for the Western Division of the American Choral Directors Association (2009-2018), he was part of the editorial board of the International Choral Bulletin (2005-2018), was the editor of the Children’s and Youth Column for the bulletin (2005-2017), was the founding Artistic Director for the Esperanza Azteca Los Angeles Orchestra and Amazonia Ensemble, and serves in numerous international artistic committees including Songbridge, the World Youth Choir, and chaired the Artistic Committee for the World Choral Expo 2019; additionally, he is currently serving in the Artistic Committee for the World Symposium on Choral Music. In 2013 Dr. Grases started a new Choral Series entitled “The Choral Music of Latin America and the Caribbean” published by Gentry Publications as an editorial outlet for Latin American choral repertoire.