Sebrina Maria Alfonso, conductor
Young Cuban American conductor Sebrina Maria Alfonso, made her New York debut conducting the American Symphony Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall in 1994, where her conducting was called ‘dynamic’ and ‘commanding’ by New York critics. After her California debut performances in San Jose, the San Jose Mercury News wrote that she ’usher(ed) the audience into chambers of fantasy, imagery and feeling,’ adding ‘this is the way conducting used to be.’
As a student at Peabody, she studied with Frederic Prausnitz and later under Harold Faberman and Daniel Lewis at the Conducting Institute. She was a prizewinner in the 1994 Stokowski International Competition where, the New York Times reported, ‘Ms. Alfonso was overwhelmingly favored by the audience;’ During her doctoral studies at Peabody, Maestra Alfonso was invited to be the Artistic Director and Conductor of the John Carroll Opera Company in Baltimore. The 2003-04 season marked her sixth season as Music Director of the Key West Symphony, which has seen remarkable growth under her formation and leadership since its inaugural concert in December 1998,enjoying sold-out concerts and a burgeoning reputation.
Maestra Alfonso made history this past June as the first Cuban-American to be invited to conduct the National Orchestra of Cuba in Havana. The concert was televised and broadcast by radio throughout Cuba. Ms. Alfonso has also appeared as guest conductor with the Pacific Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony, the North Carolina Symphony, the Charleston Symphony, the Ann Arbor Symphony, the Missouri Symphony Society, the Women’s Philharmonic, Prague Radio Symphony and the Aspen Music Festival Orchestra. Prominent performers with whom she has worked include Robert McDuffie, Sharon Isbin, Awadagin Pratt, and Jeffrey Chappell. In recognition of her expanding national reputation, Maestra Alfonso has been the recipient of feature stories on CBS radio news, CNN, Ms. Magazine (New York), Deco Drive and Miami News (ABC), and has been reported in Reuters. In her native Florida, Ms. Alfonso has been voted both Citizen of the Year and Island Person of the Year in Key West.
Maestra Alfonso is an advocate for American composers and has organized group commissions for various orchestras; she has recently recorded works of James Grant under the MMC label of Boston with the Prague Radio Symphony. At the Conducting Institute, Maestra Alfonso was invited to perform several world premieres, including her own composition, “Freedom Crossing,” commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Mariel Cuban boat-crossing in which thousands risked their lives to gain their freedom.