Jean da Silva Reis

1960 -

Jean Reis is a versatile musician primarily known for his conducting, artistry on the violin, studio teaching, and abilities as an artistic director. He enjoys a reputation in Brazil as a creative organizer of orchestras, festivals, and other successful music projects, the most recent being the Music on the Mountains Festival, an event that in its first four years grew from 150 students to over 650.

Jean was born in Taquara, Brazil, the only son of Jose dos and Jacy da Silva Reis. His parents were teachers at the Seventh-day Adventist school, Instituto Adventista Cruzeiro do Sul, and he spent his first seventeen years in that academic environment. Music was important in the home. Jean and his sisters sang, played guitar and piano, and listened to the many records his parents owned.

His father was an amateur musician who assisted with the percussion section in the school's marching band, and at age six Jean began playing in that section. At twelve, he started study on the trumpet with Harry Bennet, Jr., music teacher at the school. He continued study on the instrument a year later with Omar Pruess, and in the following year, at age fourteen, he began taking lessons on both piano and violin, the latter being taught by Gemano Streithorst. Jean particularly enjoyed playing the violin and found his study with Streithorst to be inspiring.

At age eighteen, he enrolled at Instituto Adventista de Ensina (IAE), the Adventist college in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where, because of his background in violin, he was asked to teach violin and organize an orchestra. Although he was taking theology, he decided to go into music in 1982 after playing in music festivals in Campos do Jordao and Terezopolis. He attended the Conservatorio Dramatica e Musical de Sao Paulo and graduated from there in 1984 with a B.Mus. in violin performance. During his study at the conservatory, he taught violin and continued to conduct the orchestra at IAE.

Reis attended Redlands University in California from 1985 to 1987, where he completed an M.Mus. in violin performance and choral conducting. During this time, he studied violin with Lyndon Taylor and conducting with Jon Robertson, played in a number of orchestras in the area, and conducted the University of Redlands Community Music School Orchestra.

The following year Reis attended Andrews University, where he graduated in 1988 with another M.Mus. in violin performance and instrumental conducting, studying the latter under Zvonimir Hacko. While attending AU, he worked with its Early Music Ensemble and conducted its summer choir and orchestra.

Upon his return to Brazil, he taught at IAE in Sao Paulo for two years while conducting Brazil's Youth Soloists Orchestra on Sao Paulo's cultural television channel and serving as art director for the Symphonic Orchestra of Pocos de Caldas. Beginning in 1990, he established a private studio, teaching violin. He also did guest conducting during this decade.

Reis returned to IAE in 1994, where he taught for five years. Beginning in 1997, he also began an association with the Universidade Livre de Musica in Sao Paulo that continued until 2006. In 1999 he was invited by Benito Juarez, conductor of the Campinas Symphonic Orchestra, to be his assistant and lead out in organizing a youth orchestra.

Other conducting assignments have included serving as adjunct conductor for productions of the musical plays Beauty and the Beast in 2002/2003, and Chicago in 2004, both presented in Sa Paulo. In 2005 he conducted premieres in Argentina of works by that country's composers Enrique Roel and Edmundo Villani Cortes. In the U.S., he has conducted American premieres of works by Arthyr Barbosa and Guilherme Bernstein Seixas at the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Reis is an organizer with a natural ability to bring people together and create musical experiences that excite and draw out the best in participants. An outstanding example of his work is in the Music on the Mountains Festival, which he started in 2000. Within three years, it was being hailed as "outstanding" by Bravo magazine, and listed as one of the ten best music festivals in Brazil, having grown from 150 to 300 participants. By January 2004 it was attracting over 650 students and had become a popular tourist event. It continues to as a treasured experience with Brazilian musicians.

Beginning in 2008, Reis enrolled at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he is working on a DMA. He is a conducting student of Jay Dean.


Sources: Information provided by Reis in 2009; Other online sources.