ABOUT THE ENSEMBLE

ORFEÓN SAN JUAN BAUTISTA

The Orfeón San Juan Bautista is a professional ensemble created in 2001. It is directed by professor Guarionex Morales Matos (its founder) and Daniel Alejandro Tapia Santiago, DMA. Its repertoire includes sacred and secular works from the great universal choral traditions, as well as folkloric and popular pieces from Puerto Rico and Ibero-America. This diverse collection of compositions has been recorded in the following discography: Puerto Rico a capella (2002), Yale Institute of Sacred Music: Orfeón San Juan Bautista (2002), Reverencia (2004), El Orfeón (2005), Pura Navidad (2005), Antología: Quinto Aniversario 2001-2006 (2006), Himno al Alma Mater (2006), Pentagrama en blanco y negro: las voces de Jack Délano (1914-1997) (2007), Estampas criollas (2007), Cantos sagrados (2011), Orfeón San Juan Bautista: Cronología en música, grabaciones selectas 2001-2012 (2012), La Garita del Diablo (2013), Glorificamus te (2015), VII (2016), Anti-fonal (2016), Orfeón San Juan Bautista: quince años de absoluta armonía 2001-2016 (2017), and Por fin llegaron (2018).

The expressiveness, the technical skill, and the consistent exceptionality of the Orfeón all distinguish the 12 annual musical performances that it delivers in Puerto Rico. Outside of the island, it has presented its works at Yale University (Connecticut, US, 2002); the Chiesa di Santo Stefano al Ponte Vecchio (Florence, Italy, 2005); Ohio State University, Dayton University, and Sinclair College (Ohio, US, 2005); Trinity Episcopal Cathedral (Florida, US, 2007); Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, The Spence School, and The Church of the Blessed Sacrament (New York, US, 2008); the Iglesia de San Alberto and the Iglesia de San Marcos (Sevilla and Huelva, Spain, 2010); the Conservatorio Nacional de Música and the Catedral Metropolitana Santa María de la Encarnación, Primada de América (Dominican Republic, 2011); the Sala Beethoven del Conservatorio Antonio María Valencia (Santiago de Cali, Colombia, 2012); St. James United Church and l’Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal (Montreal, French Canada, 2013); Harvard University and Westminster Choir College (Boston and New Jersey, US, 2014); the Oratorio San Felipe Neri and the Basílica Menor de San Francisco de Asís (Habana, Cuba, 2015); The Hispanic Society of America (New York, US, 2016); and the Teatro de la Ciudad de Puebla and the Foro Boca (Puebla and Veracruz, Mexico, 2019).

The ensemble is committed to Puerto Rican composers and the fostering of contemporary works. For this reason, it holds yearly music premieres and in 2011 founded the Concurso de Composición Orfeón San Juan Bautista, a music composition contest for undergraduate students. Moreover, in March 2006, along with the Asociación de Exalumnos de la Universidad de Puerto Rico (the association of former students of the University of Puerto Rico), it created the Beca Abel Di Marco, a scholarship aimed at providing musical instruments to academically distinguished students.


ARTISTIC DIRECTORS

DANIEL ALEJANDRO TAPIA SANTIAGO
Music and Artistic Director

DANIEL ALEJANDRO TAPIA SANTIAGO

Daniel Alejandro Tapia Santiago, DMA, was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. After graduating from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, he was awarded a full merit scholarship to study at Yale’s School of Music and its Institute of Sacred Music, where he earned a master’s degree in music with a concentration in choral conducting. He subsequently studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a second full merit scholarship. It was there that he earned a doctoral degree in musical arts with a primary concentration in orchestral and choral conducting and a secondary concentration in harpsichord performance, the latter under the mentorship of the renowned harpsichordist Charlotte Mattax-Moersch.

Tapia Santiago is the music director of the Orfeón San Juan Bautista. As director, he worked with Guillermo Figueroa and Maximiano Valdés Soublette, both distinguished in their fields, during the concert seasons of the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra and the Casals Festival. Moreover, he has led the group on performances in Spain, Italy, French Canada, the United States, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Mexico, as well as on many musical productions. He collaborated, furthermore, with directors Marguerite Brooks, Michael Beck, and Joseph Flummerfelt on the preparation of Brahms’ A German Requiem, Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem and Bach’s Mass in B minor, respectively. He has worked on many other compositions and with numerous composers, such as Ernesto Cordero, Loyda Camacho, Alfonso Fuentes, Robert Manthey, and Benjamin Montalbano.

He has also made contributions to academic literature. One of these is “Jack Délano’s (1914-1997) ‘Burundanga or Cantata Antillana’: an art-music portrayal of Luis Palés Matos’s (1898-1959) black Caribbean,” a study on Delano’s choral symphony and its relationship to the poetry of Luis Pales Matos. Another important contribution by Tapia Santiago is the essay “Un compositor de entresiglos: obra y estilo musical,” a prologue to two publications by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture: Música popular puertorriqueña: adaptaciones corales and Composiciones corales originales (1994-2014), both of which gather a collection of musical pieces and arrangements by composer Guarionex Morales Matos (b. 1968). He served as professor and choral director at the University of Puerto Rico, and he regularly acts as a musical advisor and evaluator on various committees of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture. He works as an assistant professor of the humanities department of the Ana G. Méndez University, Gurabo Campus, where he also directs the chorus program.


GUARIONEX MORALES MATOS
Composer, arranger and co-director

GUARIONEX MORALES MATOS

In 2001, he established the Orfeón San Juan Bautista, a professional secular choir currently under his co-direction. As an arranger and composer, he has written more than a hundred pieces of music, most of which are a cappella choral works. However, he has also composed art songs, film scores, choral music with instrumental accompaniment, choral symphonies, ballet music, opera and a cappella choral adaptations of popular and folkloric music from Ibero-America. His compositions have been performed in Spain, Italy, Poland, France, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Canada, the United States, and Austria, where the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra played, along with tenor Joel Prieto, Morales’ adaptation of Villancico yaucano by Amaury Veray Torregrosa (1922-1995). This performance took place at the annual concert Christmas In Vienna (2013), under the musical direction of Erwin Ortner. In 2014, Prieto recorded Misa a San Francisco de Asís, another composition by Morales for mixed chorus, the oboe, the harp, the cello, and the harpsichord.

In 2014, he wrote Fault Lines, a piece for sopraninos commissioned by the plastic artists of Allora & Calzadilla. It premiered in New York during the exhibition of the same name in September of that year andis now part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Along with Allora & Calzadilla, he composed the soundtracks of two short films called Breaking into Trunks (2017) and Foreign in a Domestic Sense (2017). Other works by Morales include international collaborations with the Vassar College Women’s Chorus (US), Exaudi (Cuba), Seraphic Fire (US), el Coro de la Universidad Central de Venezuela and The Elm City Girls’ Choir (US). In Puerto Rico, the main national choruses have sung his arrangements and many of them commission him periodically to create music.

For eight years (2004-2012), Morales Matos served as the radio announcer, script writer, and producer of Mayormente a capella, a radio series specialized in choral music aired on Radio Universidad, the University of Puerto Rico’s radio station. He also worked as a professor of music and art history at the Universidad Central de Bayamón (Bayamón Central University) and boasts countless collaborations in the field of advertising, among other professional activities. As part of his volunteer work, Morales Matos headed the board of the directors of the Asociación de Exalumnos de la Universidad de Puerto Rico (the association of former students of the University of Puerto Rico) from 2003 to 2013.

Guarionex Morales Matos holds a bachelor’s degree in public communications and a master’s degree in cultural management and administration, both from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus.


MEMBERS OF THE ORFEÓN

ORFEÓN SAN JUAN BAUTISTA ENSEMBLE

SOPRANOS

Carolina Buxó
Anisabel Torruella Suárez
Keisha M. Díaz Villalobos
Aranxa N. Gutiérrez Collazo
Solimar Santiago Carrillo
Sage Bladow
Blanca Marina Grant Rivera
Nakairí Alvarado Espinosa
Yara Meléndez Ordóñez
María Eglée Pérez Hernández
Enid Milagros Mercado Chapman
María Paloma Cruz Pérez

Altos

Milamarys Colón Solla
Daisy Torres Rivera
Angélica V. Ortiz Saldaña
Leira D. Nieves Rivera
Cecille Marie Martínez Martínez
Johly An Quiñones
Camille N. Toro Massari
Gabriela E. Alicea Irizarry
Elba Enid Ortiz
Melliangee Pérez
Marilú Alemán Sánchez

Tenors

Alberto Santáliz
Manuel O. González Cruz
Xavier Pabellón Guadalupe
Javier J. García Colón
Juan C. Pizarro Cortés
Adelbert E. Soto González
Xavier Cruz Santiago
José R. Hernández Meléndez
José Luis Calderón Natal
Jimmy Jared Zayas Lorenzo
José Emilio Rodríguez Parissi
Gibram Núñez Pascual
Enrique Y. Meléndez González

Basses

Cristian Dávila Malone
Miguel A. Rodríguez Rodríguez
Juan Rosario Castro
Samaliel Cruz Monell
Rabel E. Echevarría Valentín
Félix José García Hiraldo
Carlos Daniel Romero París
Ángel H. Ortiz Rivas
Rafael David Martínez Ortiz
Carlos Gutiérrez del Arroyo Pagán
Sunder Shiwdin, Jr.
David Andrés Hernández Ibarra