Cellist Aristides Rivas made his solo debut at age fourteen with the Los Llanos Chamber Orchestra in Guanare, Venezuela. The following day he won the audition to become the associate principal cellist of the Los Llanos Symphony Orchestra. His musical training began at age seven when he started to learn the cuatro, one of the most representative folk instruments in Venezuela. After learning basic harmony and diverse sense of rhythm through the cuatro, he was encouraged by his teacher to explore classical music. At age ten, Rivas joins the Barinas city wing of the internationally known Venezuelan National Youth Orchestra Program, a musical-social project created by the visionary Jose Antonio Abreu. He was immediately attracted to the cello and since then he adopted both cello and classical music as his life long musical career.
After completing high school in Venezuela, he was offered a full scholarship from Baylor University in Texas to pursue his Bachelor of Music degree. After arriving in the United States, he soon became involved in international competitions and summer festivals, such as the Sphinx Competition in Michigan, Tuesday Music Competition in San Antonio (Texas), the Pacific Music Festival in Japan and the Youth Orchestra of the Americas. At Baylor, Rivas also participated in the concerto competition at the school of music, winning first place and performing with the Baylor Symphony on two occasions. During his time in Texas, he also became the principal cello of the Waco Symphony Orchestra. Rivas held this position until he moved to Boston to study at New England Conservatory, where he received his Master of Music degree.
During his time at New England Conservatory and to the present, Rivas has performed, taught, and collaborated with a variety of groups and organizations. He has been a member of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra since 2005. Rivas performs solo recitals and chamber music performances in classical, Latin Jazz, and folk Venezuelan music. He has performed several times with Paquito D'Rivera, one of the living legends in latin jazz, Grammy Award winner and the recipient of the 2005 National Medal for the Arts. Rivas teaches chamber music and cello lessons through several institutions in Boston. He performs and gives master classes in Venezuela and is on the faculty at the International Music Festival "Presjovem" in Spain. Rivas still plays the cuatro, and his cello repertoire includes many tunes from his native Venezuela's folk music.
Rivas's main teachers and mentors include Natasha Brofsky, Roberto Zambrano, Gary Hardie, Darrett Adkins and Mark Churchill. He has also played in master classes and been coached by Joel Krosnik, Paul Katz, George Neikrug, John Sharp and William Molina, among others. In his experience as a cellist, he has performed in some of the most prestigious halls in the world, including the Teresa Carreno in Venezuela, Teatro Colon in Argentina, National Theatre in Spain, Caramoor Music Festival in New York, Carnegie Hall in New York, Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Sapporo Concert Hall in Japan, and Symphony Hall in Boston.
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