Horacio Contreras

Associate Professor of Cello


Cello, Strings, Instrumental Studies

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Venezuelan cellist Horacio Contreras has gained esteem through a multifaceted career as a concert cellist, chamber musician, pedagogue, and scholar. He has collaborated with prestigious institutions across the Americas and Europe as a concerto soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, and masterclass clinician.

Highlights of his career include solo performances with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and Municipal Orchestra of Caracas in Venezuela, the EAFIT University Orchestra in Colombia, the Camerata de France, and the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra and the Music Institute of Chicago’s Chamber Orchestra in the United States; chamber collaborations with members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and members of the Detroit, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh symphony orchestras, and the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin; and masterclasses at Bloomington, Juilliard, Michigan, Oberlin and the ASTA National Convention, as well as at many programs from Latin America. Recent collaborations include the recording of works for cello and piano by Ricardo Lorenz, the commission and premiere of Diáspora for cello and piano by the Schubert Club’s composer-in-residence Reinaldo Moya, and the recording of Shuying Li’s World Map Concerti with the Four Corners Ensemble. 

Horacio serves on the faculty of the University of North Texas, the Music Institute of Chicago and the University of Michigan’s MPulse summer institute Center Stage Strings. His students have made solo recordings, soloed nationally and internationally, attended festivals such as Aspen, Orford and Domaine Forget, and won awards at international and national competitions. They have continued their education at institutions including the University of Michigan, San Francisco Conservatory, Haute École de Musique de Lausanne in Switzerland, and Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Mannheim, Germany. Some of his former students have pursued successful careers as orchestral musicians, chamber musicians, teachers, and freelancers. Others have devoted their energies to grow in other professional areas and enjoy a meaningful connection with music through the cello. 

He is the founder and artistic director of Strings of Latin America, an official partner to the Sphinx Organization with the purpose of social engagement through the promotion of diversity in the classical music world. As a part of his efforts to help diversifying the repertoire, he coauthored The Sphinx Catalog of Latin-American Cello Works, a comprehensive database with information about works for cello written by Latin American composers created in partnership with the Sphinx Organization and CelloBello.org. His pedagogic book Exercises for the Cello in Various Combinations of Double-Stops has received recognition as a significant contribution to the instrument’s literature.

He is a member of the Four Corners Ensemble and the Reverón Piano Trio. He started his musical studies in Venezuela through El Sistema, and holds degrees from the Conservatoire National de Région de Perpignan, France, Escola de Musica de Barcelona, Spain, and the University of Michigan. He is represented by Meluk Kultur Management and Halac Artists together with his colleagues of the Reverón Piano Trio.