Born in Caracas, Venezuela, violist Maria Valencia began her music studies at the Carabobo Music Conservatory. She then transcended her studies to the Simon Bolivar Music Conservatory and into the Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela. From a young age she has performed internationally with many different orchestras and ensembles such as Venezuela Youth National Orchestra, New Jersey Youth Orchestra, Peru National Orchestra, Gustav Mahler Symphony Orchestra, and Latin-American Symphony Orchestra, Orford-Canada, Musica en Compostela-Spain, Parma Conservatory in Italy, and many more.
Ms Valencia holds a BM Performance degree from University of Kentucky, and a MM Performance degree from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro where she worked as a Teacher Assistant. She has held orchestra principal Viola positions and currently performs with the Winston Salem Symphony Orchestra. Back at home in Venezuela she is considered founder of el Sistema’s Carabobo Music Conservatory. Her Major teachers include Santiago Garmendia, Margaret Karp, John Graham, and Scott Rawls. She has worked with distinguished conductors including Eduardo Salazar, Joshua Dos Santos, Gustavo Dudamel, Sir Simon Rattle, and Claudio Abbado.
Currently Ms Valencia is the orchestra director at Lucas Middle School and Northern High School in Durham, NC. Her ensembles have achieved Excellent and Superior ratings. Her students hold principal and assistant principal positions at District, State, and National level orchestras, and participate in major performances at Carnegie Hall in NYC, Oberlin Music Conservatory in Ohio, UNCG, and many more.
Ms Valencia enjoys performing contemporary works. She incorporates contemporary repertoire within her teaching curriculum for young students and ensembles. She directs Violin Choir II group class, and teaches violin and viola at Duke University String School.