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Soloists who give prominence to our country’s music include (...) Horacio Contreras, to name a few of the teachers and pillars of Venezuela’s System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras (El Sistema).
— Paul Desenne, El Nacional (Caracas)

A product of Venezuelan El Sistema, cellist Horacio Contreras has been praised for his “expressive playing” and his “phenomenal work” (mundoclasico.com) and is currently considered “one of the best Venezuelan cellists of his generation” (El Universal, Caracas). Horacio has appeared as a concerto soloist with orchestras including Lawrence University Symphony Orchestra, Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy Chamber Orchestra, Municipal Orchestra of Caracas, Virtuosi of Caracas, EAFIT University Orchestra in Medellín, the Camerata de France, and Simón Bolivar Symphony. 

Horacio is a member of the faculty of Lawrence University and the Music Institute of Chicago, and a former faculty member of the University of Michigan’s String Preparatory Academy, the Universidad de Los Andes (Venezuela) and El Sistema’s Latin American Cello Academy (Venezuela). He has presented master classes at institutions including Juilliard, Michigan, Oberlin, Bloomington, and top programs in South America. His artist faculty appointments have included Center Stage Strings (University of Michigan), Bravo! Summer Music Academy, and the Aruba Symphony Festival, among many others. 

As a chamber musician and recitalist Contreras has performed in festivals across the Americas and in Europe. His chamber music collaborations have included performances with musicians from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, members of leading orchestras, and faculty members of renown schools of music. His active interest in new music has resulted in collaborations with specialized chamber groups and relevant composers, including Khemia Ensemble, Four Corners Ensemble, and the composers Bright Sheng, Steven Mackey, Derek Bermel, Ricardo Lorenz, Reinaldo Moya, and Paul Desenne. Horacio is currently a member of the Reverón Piano Trio, an all-Venezuelan piano trio committed to the promotion of Latin American music.

Horacio is also an avid researcher. He is a co-author of the Sphinx Catalog of Latin-American Cello Works, the most comprehensive database of works written for cello by composers of Latin America. His pedagogic materials include an adaptation for cello of Dr. Roland Vamos’ Exercises in Various Combinations of Double-Stops published by Carl Fisher, and his articles have been published in scholarly journals in Latin America.

Horacio began his studies through El Sistema in Venezuela. He graduated from Perpignan Conservatoire (France) and Escola de Musica de Barcelona (Spain) and earned both his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan.