​Mississippi Symphony Orchestra

201 E. Pascagoula Street

Jackson, MS 39201

Phone: 601.960.1565

Fax: 601.964.1564

POI Executive Director

Juliana Cao

Phone: +1 240.815.9332

Director of Education MSO

Alex Encinas
(ext. *817)


As an avid chamber musician and soloist, violist Andrew Gonzalez (Heifetz 2012 and ‘13; Heifetz On Tour participant 2014-2015, Artist-in-Residence 2015 and 2016), is now a member of Ensemble Connect, a two-year fellowship program administered by Carnegie Hall for the finest young professional classical musicians in the United States that prepares them for careers combining musical excellence with teaching, community engagement, advocacy, entrepreneurship, and leadership.

Andrew has collaborated with such world-class musicians as Itzhak Perlman, and Heifetz Institute faculty members Daniel PhillipsShmuel Ashkenasi, Nobuko Imai, and Amit Peled. In addition to his Heifetz On Tour activities, Andrew appeared with violinist Gil Shaham on an extensive European tour, and performed at the prestigious Music@Menlo festival in California and the Verbier Festival in Switzerland.   A former winner of the Sphinx competition for minority musicians,  Andrew received his degree from Juilliard School, studying under Heifetz faculty member Heidi Castleman. 

Andrew Gonzalez

He was born in Madrid, Spain, in 1973, where he started to study cello at the age of eight with Maria de Macedo and later on also with Elias Arizcuren. At early age he plays solo recitals in Paris (France) and Madrid. From 1991 to 1994 he studied at Escuela Reina Sofia with Ivan Monighetti. At the same time he played for different maestros in Master-Classes: Rostropovich, Gutman, Starker, Helmerson, Greenhouse, Isserlis, etc.  During those years he played in the most important concert-halls in Spain, being recorded by Sony his performance of Mendelssohn´s Second Cello Sonata with the pianist Eldar Nebolsin.

In 1996 he obtains under the direction of Kim Scholes his Master in cello “with honors” in the Chicago Musical College. In the year 2000 he receives the Doctor degree in cello from the University of Indiana (Bloomington) where he studied with Janos Starker, Tsutsumi, and Hokanson.Recently he played together with the pianist Claudio Martínez-Mehner in Master Classes of the great hungarian master Ferenc Rados in Budapest.

He has been awarded several prizes in competitions: Juventudes Musicales, Chicago Musical College, Popper Competition, etc. He has played as soloist with orchestra in EEUU and Spain the concertos by Dvorak, Schumann, Shostakovich,Haydn, Beethoven´s Triple, Tchaikovsky´s Rococo Variations, etc. He has been awarded with scholarships by Fullbright, Juventudes Musicales, AIE, Albeniz , etc.

From 2001 he is co-principal cellist of the Castilla-Leon Symphony Orchestra with whom he made his solo debut performing Brahms’ Double Concerto. In 2002 he obtains the position of chairman of the cello department at the Superior Conservatory of Salamanca.

His performances of Kodaly Solo Sonata and other solo works have been very well received by the critics. Future recitals include performances in Spain, Croatia, China, Italy, and South America.

He has been invited to play Dvorak Cello Concerto with the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia as well as Strauss Don Quixote and Elgar Concerto.

In 2004 he was invited as professor by the Cello Forum of Madrid. He is the cellist of the Granados String Ensemble with whom he has extensively toured. Nowadays he plays a cello built in Piacenza by Giuseppe Nadotti in 1787. In 2009, he is invited to play as principal cellist in the Spanish Radio Orchestra and teaches as well string quartet at Musikene (Pais Vasco Superior Conservatory). He just recorded for Naxos Leonardo Balada's cello concerto called Caprichos No.5. He offers frecuently cello and chamber music master classes (Festivals of Asturias, León and Córdoba) and as a member of the Alborada Trio plays recitals in Spain and Belgium.

Aldo Mata

Maestro del Prado musical excellence has been nurtured by his assisting conductors including Daniel Barenboim at the Deutsch Staatsoper Unter den Linden and Leo Brouwer in the Cuba National Symphony Orchestra. The great pianist Jorge Luis Prats has special place in his artistic training as a mentor and artistic guide. Awarded with the highest honors bestowed to exponents of the national culture of Cuba, Ivan del Prado is recognized as one of the most gifted Latin American conductors.

Maestro del Prado musical excellence has been nurtured by his assisting conductors including Daniel Barenboim at the Deutsch Staatsoper Unter den Linden and Leo Brouwer in the Cuba National Symphony Orchestra. The great pianist Jorge Luis Prats has special place in his artistic training as a mentor and artistic guide. Awarded with the highest honors bestowed to exponents of the national culture of Cuba, Ivan del Prado is recognized as one of the most gifted Latin American conductors.

Iván del Prado

Mario Rivera is violist of the Ajax Quartet, currently graduate quartet-in-residence at the University of Colorado Boulder, where they study with the Grammy award winner Takacs Quartet.  Mr. Rivera has been a vivid chamber musician and has done collaborations with renown musicians such as Alexander Kobrin, William Preucil, Wendy Warner, Klauss Stoll, and has work with the Jupiter String Quartet, Escher String Quartet, American String Quartet, and the Pacifica Quartet.

Mr. Rivera has collaborated with several orchestras including the Honduras Philharmonic Orchestra, Costa Rica National Symphony Orchestra, Youth Orchestra of the Americas, and Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in Sapporo, Japan. He has also appeared as soloist several times with the San Pedro Sula Chamber Orchestra (Honduras) and the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra (USA).

He has toured in more than twenty countries including USA, UK, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Germany, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Japan, among others. Conductors he has collaborated with include Valery Gergiev, Jun Märkl, Keith Lockhart, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Matthias Bamert, Helmuth Rilling, and JoAnn Falletta. Venues in which he has appeared include Carnegie Hall (Perelman Stage and Weill Recital Hall), Sapporo Concert Hall Kitara, and the Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City.

Mr. Rivera holds degrees from Escuela de Musica Victoriano Lopez (Honduras), Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University, and the University of Colorado Boulder.

Mario Rivera

Machado’s versatility on the double bass and captivating stage presence has inspired many composers to write works for the double bass dedicated to him. Recently, he gave the world premiere performance of Arthur Barbosa’s Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra which was written for Machado, the world premiere of Frank Proto’s Partita for Solo Double Bass at the International Society of Bassists Convention in San Francisco, CA, and the South American premieres of Frank Proto’s Concertos: A Carmen Fantasy and Nine Variants on Paganini for double bass and orchestra. 

Dr. Machado maintains an active performing and teaching schedule, touring the USA, Europe and South America. Associate Professor of double bass at The University of Southern Mississippi since 2005.

He is also the director of the Southern Miss Bass Symposium. In South Brazil, he is the founder and pedagogic director of the Pampa International Music Festival (FIMP Bagé).


While on sabbatical in 2014, Machado worked on a book of technique, “Tao of Bass,” and this CD, Metamorfora, with Brazilian pianist Ney Fialkow. In 2014 he was also artist-in-residence at the Conservatório Nacional de Música de Lima in Peru. Marcos Machado performs on a David Tecchler double bass, c. 1700 and uses a Boris Fritsch bow.


Marcos Machado

During more than twenty years as a pedagogue, Mr. Roberto Valdes has worked as a  head of the string department of the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba, and the Conservatorio de Musica de Valencia, Venezuela. Mr. Valdes was also a professor at the Academia Latinoamericana de violin in Caracas, Venezuela and the Universidad  EAFIT in Medellin, Colombia. 

He has been invited to give master classes at the Universidad Simon Bolivar in Caracas, Venezuela; the Summer course of the  Academia Reina Sofia, Madrid, and the Universidad de Valencia, Spain. For more than ten years Mr. Valdes has collaborated with the Fundacion del Estado para el Sistema Nacional de Orquestas Juveniles e infantiles de Venezuela (FESNOJIV), as a violin teacher and music coach of the member of the Orquesta Sinfonica Simon Bolivar.

 Roberto Valdes was born in Havana, Cuba, and finished his musical studies at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory and the Gnesen Institute in Moscow from where he holds a Master of Fine Arts degree. Among his students are some talented artists. As a violinist, Mr. Valdes was concertmaster and director of the Conjunto de Camara de la Habana; concertmaster of the Orquesta Sinfonica de Valencia, Venezuela; concertmaster of the Orquesta Sinfonica de Medellin, and musical director of the Orquesta Filarmonica del Caribe, Colombia. He has been guest concertmaster of the opera season at the Palau de la Musica de Valencia, Spain. He is the musical director of the Camarata Ensemble da Guarda and Camarata Ibero-Americana. Mr. Valdes is well regarded as a soloist and chamber musician in Europe and the Americas, his repertoire covers all the most important masterpieces of the violin literature. Nowadays Roberto Valdes is a professor at the Universidade de Aveiro and the Academia de Musica de Lisboa.


Roberto Valdés

OShe started her studies at the Institute of Arts in Vladikavkaz, Russia, where she obtained her baccalaureate and also was titled as an Orchestra Artist and Violin Teacher. In addition, he obtained a Master's degree in the Astrakhan Conservatory, Russia, where he obtained the title of Orchestra Soloist, Chamber Set Artist, and Professor. He has taught Violin and Chamber Music at the National Conservatory of Music in Lima. As an instrumentalist he joined the Astrakhan Symphony and Chamber Orchestra, recording two albums, then made several concert tours in Russia. With the Inter-Orchestra he performed in Russia and participated in the Lima Camera Festival, directed by Maestro David del Pino. In addition, he joined the Philharmonic Orchestra of Lima recording several albums with this group.



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