Venezuelan cellist, Maria Gabriela Figueroa, was born in Caracas where she started her music education in the “Conservatorio de Música Simón Bolívar” and soon joined El Sistema Infant Orchestra with children from all over the country. This enriching experience gave her the opportunity to grow and travel around the world with friends for life. Parallel to her university studies at UNEARTE University of the Arts where she obtained a Bachelor’s degree with a special mention in Instrumental Execution, she worked for El Sistema as a trainer of children’s and youth orchestras. She was also a coordinator and professor at the National Academy of Violoncello, Emil Friedman School.
For thirteen years, she performed as part of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, participating in international tours and under the baton of great masters such as Gustavo Dudamel, Sir. Simon Rattle, Claudio Abbado, Krzysztof Penderecki, among others. María Gabriela currently resides in New York City where her teaching career has taken center stage in her life. She teaches at programs inspired by the El Sistema model including the Union City Music Project and at the Bloomingdale School of Music. Recently, she has joined the faculty at CelloBello digital platform created by the respected cellist and pedagogue Paul Katz, where she teaches classes in Spanish for children and young people internationally. She is also developing various personal educational projects of her own held virtually.