Gabriela Garza Canales is a rising Mexican conductor and percussionist living in the United States of America. Currently in her second year of doctoral studies at the University of Washington’s School of Music, Ms. Garza studies under the mentorship of David Alexander Rahbee and Ludovic Morlot. She is co-conductor of the UW Campus Philharmonia Orchestras and assistant conductor of the UW Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, Ms. Garza serves as a guest conductor for the UW Modern Ensemble. In October 2018, the Whidbey Island Orchestra invited Ms. Garza to conduct the West Coast premiere of Curci’s Concerto Romantico. In November 2018, Ms. Garza was appointed assistant conductor of the Whidbey Island Orchestra.
Music was ingrained in Ms. Garza from early childhood. For her, the act of listening is at once both physical and practical. Storytelling through music has been a crucial element of her academic and professional work. As such, Ms. Garza’s conducting is rooted in a deep respect for working with people. Her praxis seeks to unite individual members of an ensemble through a professional appreciation for and understanding of their unique strengths and specialties.
Prior to her Doctoral studies, Ms. Garza earned a Master’s Degree in Orchestral Conducting from the University of New Mexico (UNM) under the mentorship of Dr. Jorge Pérez-Gómez. She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance with an emphasis in percussion from UNM under the direct instruction of Professor Scott Ney.
Over the summer of 2018, Ms. Garza served as a returning guest conductor with the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra in New Mexico as well as guest conductor with the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León Philharmonic Orchestra (UANL) in Monterrey, Mexico. At UANL, she taught two masterclasses on conducting technique and posture. In the spring, she was granted a conducting fellowship with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, assisting maestro Ludovic Morlot in the development of a suite of compositions inspired by the sea, featuring works by Sibelius and Britten. Over the past two years, Ms. Garza has conducted multiple orchestras, university ensembles, opera performances, chamber groups and concerto competitions. In July of 2016, Ms. Garza was selected to attend the conductor’s summit at Wintergreen Summer Music Festival, studying under Victor Yampolsky and Erin Freeman.
Ms. Garza began her percussion studies at UANL in 2009 under the instruction of professor Noel Savón Favier and has toured extensively as a percussionist in a wide variety of ensembles throughout North America. She has performed in wind ensembles, symphony orchestras, steel bands, Mexican marimba bands, popular Latin groups, and world-percussion groups. Additionally, she has attended clinics and lessons with renowned percussionists and artists including Valerie Dee Naranjo, Janis Potter, and Bernard Purdie.
An active performer and percussionist in Seattle metropolitan region, she has performed with the Puget Sound Symphony Orchestra, the UW Modern Ensemble, the UW Symphony Orchestra, and the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra. In February 2019, she formed part of the ensemble performing during the live screening of Variety (1925) at the Paramount Movie Theater.