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Santiago Cañón Valencia

Santiago Cañón Valencia
“Santiago possesses a musical maturity that is way beyond his years. His technical precision is quite staggering and he is without doubt already one of the finest cellists on the world stage today."
Adam Chalabi, Melbourne, October 2012, Elgar Cello Concerto with the Orchestra Victoria
“Playing the Shostakovich First Concerto, Valencia proved to be a phenomenon."
William Dart, New Zealand Herald, March 2011
"On Sunday, Friedrich Gulda’s Cello Concerto, a work idiosyncratic to the point of wacky, was the perfect vehicle for the brilliant Santiago Cañón Valencia… For Valencia it was like a workout in a musical gym, veering effortlessly through the treacherous lines of the Overture, firing away in almost demented moto  perpetuo over the closing March…while the eight-minute Cadenza ranged from the crooning double-stops to fire-siren glissandi, the clear-cut lyricism of its opening revealed Valencia’s very special musicianship."
William Dart, New Zealand Herald, May 2012
“The audience responded enthusiastically to his golden tone and immaculate phrasing, and prolonged applause”
Schumann Cello Concerto with KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, Durban, South Africa , June 6Th of 2013- Michael Green (courtesy of artSMart)
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Santiago Cañón Valencia


Having been hailed by a critic as "a phenomenon who is without doubt already one of the finest cellists on the world stage today", the young virtuoso cellist Santiago Cañón Valencia has established himself as one of the most exciting new musical talents.
Born in 1995 in Bogotá Colombia, he commenced studies at the age of 4 with his mother, Rocío Valencia and the polish cellist Henryk Zarzycki, and gave his first concerto performance with the Bogotá Philharmonic at the age of 6. He has performed with major orchestras many times since, including the Haydn D Major Cello Concerto at age 9, the Dvorak Cello Concerto at age 12, and the Shostakovich Cello Concerto at age 14.
Santiago has since gone on to perform concertos with orchestras in Colombia, Australia, New Zealand, China, South Africa, United States, Canada, Hungary and recently,  he was invited to perform  Haydn in C Major cello Concerto with the Moscow Solists and Yuri Bashmet as conductor, in Bogotá, Colombia. He has also been a guest artist several times at the Cartagena International Music festival and in 2015, he will play with the Mahler Chamber Soloists at the same festival...
Santiago moved to New Zealand in 2007 to study with the American cellist, James Tennant, and received his Bachelor of Music Soloist Specialization from the University of Waikato with the highest honors in 2012: Hillary Medal for Outstanding Achievers and Creative and Performing Art Person of the Year Award 2012.
Since 2007 he has performed over 100 recitals around the Pacific region with pianist Katherine Austin. Santiago Cañón Valencia is a prize winner at several International Competitions such as:
 • Third prize at the Pablo Casals International Violoncello Competition, Budapest, Hungary, September 2014
 •  Second prize at the Lynn Harrel Concerto Competition, Dallas, Texas, April 2014
 • Winner of the String Division at the SMU General Concerto Competition, Dallas, Texas, January 2014.
 •  First prize at the Lennox International Young Artist Competition in Richardson, Dallas, Texas, January 2014.
 •  Best performer of the Cassado´s work at the III Gaspar Cassado International Violoncello Competition in Hachioji, Japan, Nov/Dec 2013.
 • Second prize at the  Johansen International String Competition in Washington D.C. March 2012
 • First prize at the  Gisborne International Music Competition in New Zealand, November/December 2011.
 • Winner of the III Beijing International Cello Competition in Beijing, China, October 2010.
 • Two prizes at the  Adam International Cello Competition in  Chirstchurch, New Zealand, March 2009.
 • Winner of the Elizabeth Parisot Prize at the V Carlos Prieto International Cello Competition in México, August 2006.
Santiago is very fond of new music and was responsible for the NZ premiere of the Gulda cello Concerto with the Auckland Chamber Orchestra. At the age of 16, Santiago finished recording his first CD which consists of XX Century works for solo cello by: Cassadó, Ginastera, Ligeti and Kodaly.  The CD was released in January of 2013 and has been acclaimed internationally. Santiago is now doing a Performer Diploma degree with a full scholarship at Southern Methodist University with Maestro Andres Diaz.
Since 2011, Santiago is sponsored by the Mayra and Edmundo Esquenazi Scholarship through Salvi Foundation and one of his cellos was gifted to him by renowned cellist Andres Diaz.
About the CD Solo
Kodály: Sonata for cello solo; Cassadó: Suite for cello solo; Ginastera: Puneña No.2; Ligeti: Sonata
Santiago Cañón Valencia (cello)
(Atoll ACD 884)
“Colombian-born cellist Santiago Cañón Valencia delivers simply tremendous playing on this warmly recorded CD…. Technically flawless, he’s totally under the skin of the composers’ idioms…. He has the sense of structure to let the music breathe”
Joanne Talbot The Strad, 22 October 2013

“An impressive debut recital, recorded at the age of 16. Everything on this disc is highly approachable, and this young cellist has all the technique and musicianship to do them justice. The final work on the programme is Kodály’s Sonata for solo cello, regarded as the most important work for solo cello since Bach’s Suites. Valencia’s performance is extraordinarily impressive by any standard.”
Radio New Zealand, program The Critics Chair for 14 April 2013