Miguel Ángel Santaella
Composer & Conductor.           

the bio


Born in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1971, he’s the first son of a military band conductor and arranger and a former choral alto singer, and with them he learned first hand how to listen to music. Now he's teaching his two children how to love music the way he did. 

During his 10-year tenure as bass singer of Orfeón Universitario UCV, one of Venezuela's most prestigious choirs, he received lessons on Composition and Choral Conducting with renowned composers and conductors on three continents. After that he went to study Composition at IUDEM, also in Caracas. He obtained his Master in Music, Jazz Composition at CODARTS/Rotterdamse Conservatorium  in the Netherlands, studying with Paul M. van Brugge, Rene Uijlenhoet and Hans Leenders, among others. 

He had conducted some of the most audacious choral projects of Venezuela at its time: Eduardo Plaza Aurrecoechea Chamber Choir, Diseño Vocal FAU UCV Choir, Sies Seis and Vocalia, the only Venezuelan vocal group nominated for a CARAwards for its sole recording 'Soñando a Venezuela' . Actually he founded and is conducting Caffeine, an innovative quartet which makes emphasis on the interactions between improvised and written vocal jazz music.

As a composer, he had been awarded several times in Venezuela and recently in The Netherlands for his symphonic, choral and jazz compositions and recompositions. Some works of his extensive catalogue are available through different publishers, such as Edition Ferrimontana (Choral Music), Donemus (Contemporary Jazz) and Cayambis Music Press (Chamber Music).

On recent years, his explorations on vocal jazz music gave him thew chance to be an authoritative lecturer on the field, with distinguished presentations, lectures and workshops being held in Latin America and Europe, especially during the 11th World Symposium on Choral Music of  Barcelona (Spain) in 2017.

He has been vice-president of the Choral Federation for Central America and the Caribbean and member of the Venezuelan Society for Contemporary Music. He's also a current member of the International Federation for Choral Music, Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), the Professional Association for Improvisational Musicians of the Netherlands (de Beroepsvereniging van Improviserende Musici-BIM), the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers (ISJAC) and the European Voices Association. 

the awards


• Ricciotti's Grote Arrangeerdwestrijd 2015, with Laudatio (Recomposition for jazz orchestra).

 • Nomination as Best South American Album, The Contemporary A Cappella Records Awards 2013, for Soñando a Venezuela (Vocalia, Singer, Arranger,     Conductor, Co-Producer of the project).

• Premio José Rafael Rivas de Arreglos Corales, 60 Aniversario Orfeón ULA 2010, with Canción de Esperanza (Arrangement for mixed choir).

 • Premio Municipal de Música Vocal 2009, with Dos Canciones Corales (Composition for mixed choir). 

 • Mención Honorífica, Premio Municipal de Música 2008, with Yadrigal (Composition for mixed choir).

 • Bronze Diploma, Vokal.Total A Cappella Jazz Competition 2007, with Sies Seis (Singer, Arranger, Conductor of the vocal group). 

 • Premio al Mérito Estudiantil UCV, 1999, with Diseño Vocal FAU UCV Choir (Founding Conductor of the choir). 

 • 3er Premio General, Concurso Nacional de Coros Merida 98, 1998, with Eduardo Plaza Aurrecoechea Chamber Choir (Conductor of the choir). 

 • Premio Municipal de Música Sinfónica Breve, 1997, with Novilunium (Composition for orchestra).

 • Premio Municipal de Música Sinfónica Larga, 1996, with Atmospheria (Composition for orchestra).

 • Premio Municipal de Música Vocal 1996, with Yambambó Yambambé (Composition for mixed choir).

 • Premio Único de Composición Coral 100 Años Electricidad de Caracas, 1995, with Domine Exaudi (Composition for mixed choir).