Venezuelan cellist Horacio Contreras is considered one of the most outstanding cellists of his generation in his country. Trained in El Sistema, and prize winner at the Carlos Prieto Cello Competition, he has developed a diverse activity as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician; he is also engaged in interesting pedagogical labor.
As a part of his activities at El Sistema, he has been repeatedly invited to work with the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra cello section where he has had the opportunity to work with Simon Rattle
and Gustavo Dudamel and perform at the Salzburg Music Festival.
He has appeared as a concerto soloist with orchestras including the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, the Municipal Orchestra of Caracas, the Perpignan Conservatory Orchestra, the EAFIT University Orchestra of Medellín, the Virtuosi of Caracas and the Camerata de France. As a chamber musician and recitalist Contreras has performed at numerous festivals and music series Festival del Nuevo Mundo, the Aruba Piano Festival, the Mérida Music Festival and the Michigan Chamber Players. He has shared the scene gifted musicians, as are conductors Christian Vázquez, Rodolfo Saglimbeni, Pablo Castellanos and César Iván Lara, the members of the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society and the faculty members of the leadings conservatories and schools of music such as Geneva, Lausanne, Oberlin and the University of Michigan.
His pedagogic activity has included holding faculty positions at El Sistema’s Latin American Cello Academy and the Universidad de Los Andes in Venezuela. He has been invited to teach master classes at leading institutions such as the Juilliard School, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Universidad EAFIT de Medellín, Conservatorio Andino Itinerante, Centro Mozarteum de Caracas and the Festival del Nuevo Mundo.
After his first years at El Sistema, he graduated from the Perpignan Conservatory in France with the Gold Medal and Excellence Prize, and later received his Master of Music in Cello Performance at the University of Michigan. His principal teachers were William Molina, Philippe Muller, Lluis Claret and Richard Aaron. Contreras is currently completing his doctoral degree at the University of Michigan’s cello program under the guidance of Anthony Elliott.