BIOGRAPHY

Raúl Gómez-Rojas is in his fourth season as Music Director of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony (Portland, OR), where he enjoys working with a vibrant community of conductors, coaches, staff, families and over 500 students in 14 orchestra, band and jazz ensembles. Mr. Gómez was recently selected as one of six conductors to be featured in the League of American Orchestra's 2018 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."

 

A sought-after guest conductor for professional ensembles, Mr. Gómez's recent and upcoming engagements include multiple appearances with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the Oregon Symphony, Southwest Florida Symphony, the Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio and Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, Asia/America New Music Institute and Sinfonietta Belo Horizonte, as well as engagements in Mexico, Brazil and Costa Rica. 

 

Mr. Gómez 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). He has also served as cover conductor with the Oregon Symphony, assisting Carlos Kalmar, and the Allentown Symphony, where he was a conducting fellow and assisted Diane Wittry.

 

A native of Costa Rica, Gómez holds masters and doctoral degrees from 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.  

 

A passionate advocate for equity and access, Gómez has led the recent expansion of several MYS programs, including the creation of new beginning strings classes and ensembles in Hillsboro, OR, responding to fast-paced demographic changes in the area. He enjoys speaking publicly about the transformative power of music education. His TED talk “El Concierto Inolvidable” was an audience favorite in TEDxPuraVida 2014.

 

An avid supporter of new music, Raúl has recently conducted world premieres including Ronaldo Cadeu’s Crime & Punishment and Hitchhikers’ Guide to ‘The Planets’ (to be performed alongside Holst’s music); as well as New Orleans jazz legend Wardell Quezergue’s posthumous premiere of “Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ,” produced by the Jazz Foundation of America and recorded for broadcast by WWOZ, New Orleans. 

 

A native of Costa Rica, Gómez holds masters and doctoral degrees from Louisiana State University, where he studied with Carlos Riazuelo (conducting), Kevork Mardirossian and Espen Lilleslåtten (violin/viola). Additional conducting training includes work with Robert Spano, Larry Rachleff, Hugh Wolff and Murry Sidlin at the Aspen Music Festival; and masterclasses with Victor Yampolsky, David Effron, Carl Topilow, Theodore Kuchar, Diane Wittry, Mark Scatterday, Donald Hunsberger and Michael Votta. In his home country, Gómez studied violin with José Aurelio Castillo, and later studied privately with Dylana Jenson in Grand Rapids, Michigan and jazz violinist Christian Howes in Columbus, OH. 

 

Gómez lives in Portland, OR with his wife –theatre and screen actor Sarah Ellis Smith. They enjoy giving back to the community by supporting local performing arts organizations and advocacy groups.  

 

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-Biography current as of August 2018. Please discard older versions.-