Member of the 2018 class of the prestigious Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview (League of American Orchestras), Raúl Gómez-Rojas inspires audiences and artists of all ages and backgrounds to use music as a vehicle to connect, pursue excellence, and spread joy. Lauded as a “visionary conductor” (Oregon ArtsWatch), Raúl has built a reputation as an insightful leader that “captivates both performing musicians and audiences alike,” and whose “positive attitude and enthusiasm make him a joy to be with” (C. Mumm, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, NY).
In high demand as a guest conductor, Raúl is equally at home on stage and in the pit, leading professional orchestras in the USA and Latin America, new music ensembles, youth, and community groups, and collaborating with a vast array of guest artists across many genres and disciplines. Recent highlights include performances with the Oregon Symphony, Oregon Ballet Theatre, 45th Parallel Universe, Fear No Music, Third Angle New Music, Tilikum Chamber Orchestra, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the Oregon International Ballet Academy, jazz violinist Regina Carter, Steward Copeland, Boyz 2 Men, Lyle Lovett, The Tenors, Kermit Ruffins, Rick Springfield and more.
As Music Director of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony in Portland, Oregon, Raúl leads a team of 12 conductors serving over 500 students in 14 ensembles. He has led the organization to new artistic heights while creating “concert programs that any forward-looking orchestra should envy.” (Willamette Week). Raúl’s skills to “inspire children and young adults to make music to the best of their ability are astonishing” (D. Seldis, The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra). Raúl also currently serves as Music Director of YMA: Young Musicians and Artists and Guest Conductor with Oregon Ballet Theatre.
A native of Costa Rica, Raúl received full scholarships for graduate studies at Louisiana State University in violin/viola (MM) and conducting (DMA). Beyond the podium, his work extends to frequent engagements as a violinist/violist, clinician, public speaker and, since 2020, as a Contributing Host and Producer for On Deck with Young Musicians on All Classical Portland.
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."
During the 2020 lockdown, Raúl served as the co-host of SoundPost, a podcast by the Orchestra of the Americas, along with Music Director Carlos Miguel Prieto. The roster of guests on the podcast includes luminaries such as Yo-Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero and Gil Shaham. Raúl also served as the host of bi-weekly MYS Virtual Hangouts, livestreamed on the MYS YouTube channel. Guests included 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.
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.
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.