Claudio Gonzalez, Professor Emeritus of music and conductor of the Andrews University Symphony Orchestra, and teacher of orchestral conducting, viola, and history, retired at the end of the 2021-2022 school year, having taught at Andrews since 2004.
Gonzalez began his music studies in his native Venezuela. In 1974 he attended the World Orchestra of the International Federation of Young Musicians as a delegate from Venezuela and had the opportunity of playing under Leonard Bernstein, Michael Tilson-Thomas, and Seiji Ozawa. In 1975, under the guidance of Dr. José Antonio Abreu, he formed part of the group that became the National Youth Symphony of Venezuela.
Between 1978 and1981, he studied violin at the Royal College of Music in London, where he completed a degree in violin performance. While at the RCML he was a member of its Chamber Orchestra and had the opportunity of playing under Lorin Maazel and George Solti. He subsequently worked and taught as a violinist and conductor at some of the leading schools in Venezuala and guest conducted several orchestras. He was very active as a chamber musician with the Cuarteto Rios Reyna of Caracas and was assistant orchestra of the Chaco Youth Symphony from 1995-1999.
In 1992, he had come to the U.S. under the auspices of the Fulbright Foundation of the government in the United States and the Ayacucho Foundation of Venezuela. He completed a master\'s degree in violin performance at Michigan State University in 1994. From 1995 to 1999 he served as assistant conductor of the Chacao Youth Symphony in Caracas and music director of the Chamber Orchestra of Universidad de Carabobo in Valencia, Venezuela. He completed a doctoral degree in orchestral conducting at MSU in 2003 and in the following year accepted the conducting position at AU.
While teaching at AU, he Claudio collaborated with Adventist Universities in Asia, where he helped in create a music program at Central Philippines Adventist College. He also conducted orchestra clinics in several Latin American countries, an activity he will continue ifn retirement. He also will pursue his ongoing interest in restoring and repairing string instruments.
Sources: Andrews University Department of Music website and printed program biographies; "Excellence and spirituality in music," Claudio Gonzales retires after a career made whole,” Andrews University Focus magazine, Spring 2022, 17.