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Meet The Conductor: Dr. Rafael Videira

Updated: Mar 6, 2018

Dr. Rafael Videira, the conductor for NYS's Junior Strings AND Prelude Orchestra, has been teaching music for over a decade. He currently teaches at the Suzuki Music Schools of Westport and Orange. Dr. Videira holds degrees from the University of Oregon (Eugene, OR), the University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM), and Sao Paulo State University (Brazil). His professional musical experience ranges from teaching private and group lessons to Suzuki students, to touring, performing, and recording, under the direction of conductors such as Kurt Masur and Helmuth Rilling.

We spoke with Dr. Videira about his background and career path. Here's what he said.

How long have you been with NYS? I just started on Fall 2017. When did you start playing music? I started playing viola as a Freshman in High-School. I knew I wanted to play an instrument, but I could not decide which one, and my family could not afford music lessons for me (and there was no music classes in the schools in which I studied growing up in Brazil). At a much younger age (6 and on), I had a lot of fun pretending to conduct Mozart and Beethoven symphonies as I listened to them on the stereo.  Did you have a music teacher that stood out and had an influence on you? So many of them! But I'd have to credit Ms. Susan Kempter, who showed me the joys and responsibilities of teaching. Taking her classes in Graduate School changed my life and made me decide to become an educator.

Rafael Videira with Conductor Kurt Masur after a performance and live recording of Mahler's 1st Symphony, in 2005.

Did you always want to be a conductor/music educator?  Not until Graduate School, when I started taking Conducting Classes and Music Education coursework. Up to then, I saw myself as a violist... I guess I always liked the idea of conducting, but had not worked towards that. If you weren't a conductor, what career would you want to try? Recording engineer 

2017, Rafael Videira at the J. S. Bach statue in front of the Bachhaus in Eisenach, Germany, where Bach was born.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that most people don't know. I almost became a professional soccer player, but music was more attractive, in the end! What advice would you give to NYS students or to a student who would like to audition for NYS? Work hard, listen critically and practice just the way your teacher tells you to do so. And, above all, have fun playing beautiful music!

Dr. Videira conducts NYS's Prelude Orchestra at the November concert.

* Edited 3/6/18 to add Dr. Videira as both Junior Strings conductor and Prelude conductor.


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