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Appears on: Comfort and Joy: A Classical Christmas and Stewart Copeland: Police Deranged with the Oregon Symphony
Raúl Gómez-Rojas is passionate about building community and creating joy through his work as an orchestral conductor, violinist/violist, educator, radio producer and public speaker.
Lauded as a “visionary conductor” (Oregon ArtsWatch), Raúl inspires audiences and artists of all ages and backgrounds to use music as a vehicle for connecting with others. Recent highlights include performances with the Oregon Symphony, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and guest artists as diverse as Regina Carter, Boyz 2 Men, Lyle Lovett, The Tenors, Kermit Ruffins, the 610 Stompers, Rick Springfield and more. As Music Director of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony in Portland, Oregon, Raúl “creates concert programs that any forward-looking orchestra should envy.” (Willamette Week), and leads a team of 12 conductors serving over 500 students in 14 ensembles.
In 2018, Raúl was selected as one of six conductors to be featured in the League of American Orchestra’s Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview, after competing for the honor with nearly 150 applicants from around the world. Conductors were selected for their “experience, talent, leadership, and commitment to a career in service to American orchestras.”
With MYS, Raúl conducted the us West Coast and European premieres of Florence Price’s Symphony No. 1 in 2019. He also led the creation of “The Authentic Voice,” a collaboration with FearNoMusic’s Young Composers Project, through which MYS commissions, performs and records full orchestra works by promising young composers.
Starting in 2020, Raúl joined All Classical Portland as a Contributing Host and Producer for “On Deck with Young Musicians,” a program that features interviews with young musicians in the Portland area. During the 2020–021 season, Metropolitan Youth Symphony held a fully online season due to the global pandemic, during which Raúl created and hosted bi-weekly “Virtual Hangouts,” livestreamed on the MYS YouTube channel. Guests interviewed include Pulitzer-prize winning composer Caroline Shaw, MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient Regina Carter, and leading artists such as Monica Huggett, Johannes Moser, Gabriela Lena Frank, Colin Currie and more. Additionally, Raúl served as the co-host of SoundPost, a podcast by the Orchestra of the Americas, along with Music Director Carlos Miguel Prieto during the 2019–2020 season. The roster of guests on the podcast includes luminaries such as Yo-Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero and Gil Shaham.
Raúl has previously served in artistic and musical leadership positions with the Orchestra of the Americas, Mississippi Youth Symphony Orchestra, Premier Orchestral Institute, Louisiana Sinfonietta and Kids’ Orchestra (Baton Rouge, Louisiana). A native of Costa Rica, Raúl received full scholarships to complete graduate degrees (DMA, MM) at Louisiana State University, where he studied with Carlos Riazuelo (conducting), Kevork Mardirossian and Espen Lilleslåtten (violin/viola). Additional conducting training includes a fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival and numerous masterclasses with leading conductors.