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” ( 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 the Municipal Orchestra of Caracas, the EAFIT University Orchestra in Medellín, the Virtuosi of Caracas, the Camerata de France, and the Simón Bolivar Symphony. 

He has been invited by El Sistema’s Simón Bolívar Symphony to work on concerts featuring major orchestral repertoire with conductors Gustavo Dudamel and Simon Rattle. As a chamber musician and recitalist Contreras has performed at festivals and on concert series as the Festival del Nuevo Mundo, the Aruba Piano Festival, Latin IS America and Michigan Chamber Players. 

He has also performed alongside the renowned musicians of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and faculty members of leading conservatoires and schools of music such as Geneva, Lausanne, Oberlin, and the University of Michigan, and has given cello classes at Michigan, Julliard, Oberlin, El Sistema’s Latin-American Cello Academy and the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He has been on faculty on the Universidad de Los Andes and El Sistema’s Latin American Cello Academy (Venezuela) and has taught at summer festivals and institutes such as Center Stage Strings (University of Michigan), Encore Chamber Orchestra (University of Cincinnati), Festival InternacioUNAL de Violoncello (Colombia), and Conservatorio Andino Itinerante (Ecuador). Horacio is currently on the faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago and the University of Michigan’s String Preparatory Academy, and a member of the Ann Arbor based new music chamber group Khemia Ensemble. 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.