Dr. Giselle Elgarresta Rios is a renowned choral conductor, educator, soprano and global advocate of the arts dedicated to fostering music and art development. Her global appeal has been illustrated by her dedication to the arts, as she effortlessly shifts amongst her task as a conductor, singer, charismatic public speaker, scholar, and administrator. Dr. Elgarresta Rios is the first Cuban-American woman to conduct in Carnegie Hall in New York City.
She has been instrumental in furthering the interest for the arts in South Florida through strategic collaborations and board engagements with organizations such as The Florida Grand Opera, St. Martha’s Concert Series, Peermusic Publishing, Colonial South Florida’s Collection of Early Florida and Cuban documents and artifacts, and the Miami Music Festival. In addition, she has served as a choral adjudicator and clinician for The Walt Disney Company and is part of the artistic committee of Chorus Inside International, chosen among the most devoted and relevant personalities of the music and choral environment.
Lauded as a committed music educator and vocal pedagogue, Dr. Elgarresta Rios is a Professor of Music and Music Program Director at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida, where she has served since 1996. Along with conducting the Barry University Chamber Ensemble and teaching applied voice and related subjects, she has excelled at securing art funding opportunities, strategic planning, and overseeing the visiting artist program while cultivating interdisciplinary arts projects. Most recently she has conducted major works for the University, such as Carmina Burana, Stabat Mater, Coronation Mass, Misa Criolla; provided musical direction for Fiddler on the Roof, Godspell, and Urinetown; and collaborated with instrumentalists and chorales from South Florida including the Greater Miami Youth Symphony, South Beach Chamber Ensemble, the Civic Chorale of Greater Miami, and Opera Atelier, among others.
Other conducting engagements have included conducting choral concerts at the Notre Dame and Eglise Madeleine in Paris, France, Carnegie Hall with the New England Symphonic Orchestra, and with the Miami Pops Symphony and Chorus at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. Dr. Elgarresta Rios has served as guest faculty for the Music Institute of Pontificia Universidad Católica in Santiago, Chile since 2012 where she has led the International Course of Repertoire and Choral Studies program. For L’Associazione Coro dell'Accademia of Pescara, she has been visiting conductor leading choral workshops and festivals in Pescara and Scanno, Italy. Throughout her conducting projects there is a focus on choral repertoire by Latin American and Caribbean composers.
Dr. Elgarresta Rios is also a prominent soprano soloist, with professional appearances at national and international venues. She has performed in various venues across the United States, Europe and Latin America, performing in recitals, as well as prominent opera roles, such as Violetta in La Traviata, Mimi and Musetta in La Boheme, Norina in Don Pasquale, and Masha in The Music Shop, to name a few. She has also performed with chamber ensembles throughout the Abruzzo region of Italy since 1988.
Dr. Elgarresta Rios earned her academic degrees, with highest honors, from the University of Miami with a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting; her primary teachers were Dr. Jo-Micheal Scheibe and Dr Lee Kjelson at the University of Miami, with additional studies in Austria and Italy. Dr. Elgarresta Rios is currently a member of the prestigious Iron Arrow Honor Society and American Choral Directors Association, College Music Society, National Association of Teachers of Singing, and Music Educators National Conference.
Dr. Elgarresta Rios' passion and commitment to the community is demonstrated by her volunteer service and leadership on a myriad of cultural initiatives for organizations and projects such as Habitat for Humanity of South Florida, Temple Israel, Betsy Hotel, Doral Conservatory and School of the Arts, Archdioceses of Miami, Merrick Festival Caroling Competition, Corpus Christi Catholic Church’s Women Empowerment Program and Actors' Playhouse. She also serves as Artistic Director for several projects involving South Florida’s youth as ambassadors of the arts, with Crecer Cantando in Chile, Las Tunas Foundation in Argentina and Inspired Gateways in France.