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Carlos Miguel Prieto

Conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto has achieved success in North America as well as in his native Mexico, taking up conducting unusually late in life. He serves as music director of the North Carolina Symphony in Raleigh. Prieto was born on November 14, 1965, in Mexico City. Prieto's father, Carlos, was a cellist, and soon, the younger Prieto was playing violin in a family string quartet, the Cuarteto Prieto. He continued to play the violin while studying electrical engineering at Princeton University, where he graduated in 1992, and at Harvard, where he earned an MBA, but then he took a position with a sugar firm. It wasn't until several years later that the creative impulse fully asserted itself, and Prieto switched to conducting. He took classes at the Tanglewood Music Center and the Pierre Monteux School. He made his debut with the Mexico City Philharmonic in 1995 and became its music director in 1998. The following year, Prieto made his recording debut, leading the American Composers Orchestra on the album Marc-Antonio Consoli: Odefonia, Afterimages, Pensieri Sospesi. Prieto also held music director positions with other Mexican orchestras: the Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa, the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico, and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería (an orchestra headquartered at Mexico City's Palace of Mines), where he remained in the position as of the mid-2020s. Beginning with an assistant conductor post with the Houston Symphony in 2003, Prieto worked his way through American orchestral posts, becoming music director of the Huntsville Symphony in Alabama from 2003 to 2011. His tenure with the Louisiana Philharmonic began in 2005, one week before Hurricane Katrina, and he led the orchestra in key events connected with New Orleans' recovery. Remaining in his post until 2019, he continues to be active with the group as music director laureate. Prieto has also shared the conductorship of the Orchestra of the Americas with Gustavo Dudamel, and the two conductors have both taken an active interest in music education. Prieto's recording catalog includes releases on the Urtext (where he led the Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa in several recordings devoted to the music of composer Silvestre Revueltas), Cedille, and Artek labels, among others. In 2019, on the Linn label, he led the Orchestra of the Americas in the program Copland & Chávez: Pan-American Reflections. He returned with that orchestra in 2020 on a recording of Falla's The Three-Cornered Hat and Nights in the Gardens of Spain. In 2022, he collaborated with trumpeter Pacho Flores and the Minería Symphony Orchestra on the Deutsche Grammophon album Estirpe, which contained the jazz-classical Concerto Venezolano for trumpet by Paquita D'Rivera; that work won a Latin Grammy Award for Best Classical Composition. Beginning as an artistic advisor with the North Carolina Symphony in 2021, he began a four-year term as music director in 2023. Prieto's many honors include induction into the Order of Orange-Nassau by the government of the Netherlands and designation as Conductor of the Year for 2019 by Musical America magazine.
© James Manheim /TiVo


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