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.
A graduate of Bristol University in England, she studied choral conducting with Alberto Grau, and went onto further studies in conducting and musical education with Helmuth Rilling, Luigi Agustoni, and Johannes B. Goeschl.
Currently, she conducts two of Venezuela’s most prestigious choirs, the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela and the Cantoría Alberto Grau, with both of whom 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 teaches in the Master Degree Program for Choral Conductors at the University Simón Bolívar, where she has been a professor and conductor for 28 years.
As a choral promoter and Director of the Schola Cantorum of Venezuela Foundation, she contributes to the permanent establishment of choral music centers for children and youths of disadvantaged backgrounds in Venezuela and other Andean countries. As conductor of the Polar Foundation Choir she has actively contributed to the development of choral music in private enterprises. She served for twelve years as the Latin American Vice President of the International Federation for Choral Music. She is also editor of the “Música de Latinoamérica” collection at Earthsongs, music editorial house.