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NCCO8 Featured Artists

For our 8th Biennial National Conference, the Executive Board has invited two artists of national and international renown to share their wisdom and experience with our membership.

María Guinand
María Guinand
Schola Cantorum de Venezuela

María Guinand is artistic director of Schola Cantorum of Venezuela and conducts choral projects throughout Latin America, Europe, the United States, and Asia. Renowned as an authentic interpreter and trainer of Latin American choral music of the 20th and 21st centuries, she is a recipient of the Helmuth Rilling Preis (2009), the Robert Edler Preis für Chormusik (2000), and the Kulturpreis of the InterNationes Foundation (1998), three of the most distinguished prizes in choral music conducting.

Currently, she conducts two of Venezuela’s most prestigious choirs—the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela and the Cantoría Alberto Grau—both of which she has toured extensively and won many awards. Always interested in new choral music, she has been involved in projects such as the premieres, performances, and recordings of Osvaldo Golijov’s La Pasión según San Marcos and John Adams’ A Flowering Tree.

For over three decades, María Guinand has been the Associate Conductor and Advisor of Choral Symphonic Performances and Activities for El Sistema (FESNOJIV), the world-renowned music program in Venezuela. She previously taught in the Master Degree Program for Choral Conductors at the University Simón Bolívar, where she was a professor and conductor for over 30 years.

Damien Sneed
Damien Sneed
Cover Conductor & Composer-in-Residence
Houston Grand Opera, HGOco

Damien Sneed is a pianist, organist, conductor, composer, producer, arranger, and arts educator whose work spans multiple genres. Sneed has worked with jazz, classical, pop, and R&B legends including the late Aretha Franklin, Wynton Marsalis, Jessye Norman, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Ashford & Simpson, Lawrence Brownlee, and many others. The multi-genre recording artist is a recipient of the prestigious Sphinx Medal of Excellence, which is presented annually to emerging Black and Latino leaders in classical music.

Sneed is the founder and artistic director of Chorale Le Chateau, which has gained a global reputation for its vivid interpretations of vocal literature, from Renaissance period pieces to art songs to jazz, spirituals, gospel, and avant-garde contemporary music. He is featured on the recording of Wynton Marsalis’ Abyssinian Mass as a conductor, with Marsalis, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Chorale Le Chateau.

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