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Maria Guinand (born 1953 in Caracas, Venezuela) is an internationally renowned choral conductor.
María Guinand received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of Bristol, England, in 1976 and 1982, respectively. Guinand then earned a Choral Conductor Diploma from the Youth Orchestra Academy in Caracas in 1980.
Her leadership positions have included being the dean of the Jose Angel Lamas Music School and of the University Simón Bolívar in Caracas where she is a professor of music. In Venezuela, she conducts the Cantoría Alberto Grau, the Orfeón Universitario Simón Bolívar, and the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela. Guinand served as the conductor of the Festivalensemble Choir for The European Music Festival from 2001 to 2004. She has served on the Executive Committee of the International Music Council of UNESCO, and as Vice President for Latin America and First Vice-President in the International Federation for Choral Music. She was the principal organizer of the Americas Cantat III held in Caracas in 2000.
Guinand is widely known from her association with La Pasión Segun San Marcos (St. Mark Passion) composed by Osvaldo Golijov. The piece was commissioned by Helmuth Rilling to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the death of J.S. Bach. It was premiered at the 2000 European Music Festival with the Schola Cantorum de Caracas (now of Venezuela) and the Orquesta La Pasión. Infused with the rhythms of both the popular and classical music of Latin America, La Pasión is a singular work and has been performed around the world under Guinand’s direction.
In 1996, Guinand conducted the world premiere of Golijov’s Oceana Cantata for Vocalist, Boy Soprano, Chorus, and Orchestra, as part of the Oregon Bach Festival held in Eugene, Oregon, US. She has edited a series of Latin American choral pieces available from Earthsongs.
Hänssler released a recording of the Golijov Pasión in 2001, and a new recording by Deutsche Grammophon is forthcoming. Her recording of Golijov’s Pasión según San Marcos was nominated in the 44th Annual Grammy Awards (2002) in the Best Choral Performance category, and in the 3rd Annual Latin Grammy Awards (2002) in the Best Classical Album category.
In 2006, Guinand worked with John Adams and Peter Sellars as Choir Master in the World Premiere of A Flowering Tree in Vienna, Austria and in its 2007 recording with the London Symphony Orchestra for Nonesuch Records.