A closer look at six young leaders in Miami’s classical music scene

Arts / Article

By Sebastian Spreng, Visual Artist and Classical Music Writer

In uncertain times, when the music world faces conditions more precarious than usual, it is important to recognize the young people who play important artistic roles in our city, a city that needs to make good use of their enthusiasm, impetus and energy if it is to attain the international renown to which it aspires. The new blood of these six artists, natives of Europe or the Americas, provides the vigor and talent crucial to withstanding headwinds.

Ramón Tebar, age 35 A native of Valencia, Spain, the conductor has just been honored by the Spanish monarch, Felipe VI, with the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Civil Merit for his “extraordinary cultural contribution, efforts toward the preservation of Hispanic legacy and strengthening of the bonds between Spain and the United States.” Though his job title at the Florida Grand Opera is no longer “Music Director” but “Principal Conductor,” he continues to expand his work into yet another city by taking on the job of artistic director of Opera Naples, on Florida’s west coast. He completes a Florida triangle in his role as artistic and music director of the Palm Beach Symphony. He is also music director of the biannual Santo Domingo Music Festival, which draws international stars to the Dominican Republic. He recently conducted Carmen in Sao Paulo, La Traviata, starring Elena Mosuc and the legendary Leo Nucci, in La Coruña, Spain, and Madama Butterfly in Cincinnati, and opened the Florida Grand Opera season on Nov. 15 with the same Puccini masterpiece, starring Kelly Kaduce and Martin Nusspaumer.

Marina Radiushina, 33 The illustrious Ukrainian pianist is another representative of a new generation of musicians willing to make Miami a magnetic pole for art. Radiushina is a rara avis, an excellent performer who took charge of the Mainly Mozart Festival and gave it a broader, more varied repertoire. This year’s series at the Arsht Center, featuring Amit Peled and Yi-Jia Hou, was a resounding success. The program of the 2015 season, which should run from April through May, as usual, has not been announced, but if it was crafted by Radiushina, put it on your calendar. You won’t regret it.

Patrick Dupré Quigley, 37 The founder and artistic director of Seraphic Fire continues to achieve success after success, extending his activities to the Gulf Coast and Carnegie Hall. The New Orleans native will soon be returning to his home town to conduct the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, followed by the Mobile Symphony Orchestra, with a stop at the Naples Philharmonic. In every case, the programs center on Baroque and early music, areas in which his reputation has been steadily rising. PDQ orchestrated Seraphic Fire’s intense season in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, where his presence and repertoire continue to grow.

Roberto Berrocal, 36 Creator and director of the St. Hugh-Steinway Concert Series, the Basque pianist has carved out a much needed space for local and international voices at his recitals in Coconut Grove’s St. Hugh Church. He continues to enjoy a large following, bringing to the venue such opera notables as Eglise Gutierrez, Sandra Lopez, Elizabeth Caballero, James Valenti and Stuart Neill, and devoting to piano one concert each season.

Christian Reif, 24 The young Bavarian conductor succeeds Teddy Abrams and Joshua Gersen as conducting fellow at the New World Symphony. Since his distinguished debut last year, and from the very beginning of the current season, he has been amassing noteworthy successes. He has conducted Wagner, Beethoven and Brahms at three different concerts, exacting from the orchestra outstanding performances that evince stylistic rigor and a varied sound spectrum. With his innate charisma and elegance, he is one to watch.

Abiram Brizuela, 28 Director of Academic Program of the Miami Music Project founded by James Judd, he shares the organization’s goal of helping disadvantaged youth through musical education following the principles of “El Sistema.” He recently conducted an ambitious concert of the youth orchestra at the Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall that featured the compositions of four titans: Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Borodin and Shostakovich. The interaction between the Venezuelan conductor and composer and the young instrumentalists demonstrated his fervent commitment to and contagious passion for the noble task.