Born in Caracas, Venezuela, 1971. After many years of lessons on Composition and Choral Conducting with renowned educators on three continents, he obtained his Master in Music in Jazz composition at CODARTS, The Netherlands.
He had conducted some of the most audacious choral projects of Venezuela at its time: Eduardo Plaza Aurrecoechea Chamber Choir (3rd Overall Prize, National Choir Competition 1998), Diseño Vocal FAU UCV Choir, Sies Seis (Bronze Diploma, Vokal.Total Graz, 2007) and Vocalia (digital EP Soñando a Venezuela nominated for Best South American Recording, CARAwards 2013). Also founded and leaded Caffeine (the vocal jazz group) in Rotterdam. He is currently working as a freelance composer, preparing the new season of his Jazz Ensemble and conducting Sing With Style choir from Ridderkerk and the pop choirs Prestige in the cities of Alblasserdam and Gouda. He has also being guest conductor of the belgian Vocaal Ensemble Reflection in Antwerp within the Meet The Conductor event in April 2023.
As a composer and arranger, Santaella has been already recognised as one of the most important Venezuelan composers on choral music. For his outstanding work he has received different awards and recognitions in Venezuela (Several national composition competitions between 1996 and 2010), the Netherlands (2de plaats, Grote Arrangeerwedstrijd, Ricciotti Ensemble 2015, with Laudatio for Extended Jazz Orchestra) and Japan (Honorary Mention, Japan International Choral Competition 2021, with Deus Caritas Est for SATB a cappella choir). In the Netherlands he has been also recipient of commissions from the Pedagogical joint program of CODARTS/Ricciotti Ensemble (2016 with TruncoTranco for Street Orchestra), AKOM ensemble for Woordnacht Festival (2018, with Jazz Indigo for quintet and reciter) and the Beroepsvereniging van Improviserende Musici-50 Jaar compositieopdracht project (2021-2022 with Across for Jazz quintet). Some works of his extensive catalogue are available through Edition Ferrimontana (Ober-Mörlen), Donemus (The Hague) and Cayambis Music Press (Blackburg).
He is a dedicated researcher and educator giving workshops and seminars about the interactions between voice and choral music and jazz all around the world including, among other venues, the World Symposium on Choral Music in Barcelona, 2017; the 10th International Symposium on Traditional Polyphony in Tbilisi, 2020; and Jazzedú in Cancún, 2021.
His recorded works included digital releases for Vocalia (Soñando a Venezuela, 2013) Sies Seis (Güaréver, 2007-2018) and Caffeine (On Xmas, 2016, his first solo album (Miguel, 2020) and the first live concert recording with his Jazz Ensemble (Across, 2023)