Described as “a major career in the making” by Seen and Heard International, Colombian conductor and composer Carlos Ágreda is noted for his dynamic leadership on and off the podium, and breadth of repertoire. Currently Music Director and Conductor of the Empire State Youth Orchestra, Ágreda was formerly a Conducting Fellow at the Curtis Institute of Music under the mentorship of Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
Carlos has quickly started to build a reputation as a passionate artist with a unique ability to inspire audiences, orchestras and musicians to convene around the transformational power of symphonic music in the 21st Century. Carlos has worked with different orchestras in Colombia, United Kingdom, Mexico and the United States, including the Manchester Camerata, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, the Colombia National Symphony Orchestra, among many others, and innovative projects such as the Filarmonía Xalapa in Mexico.
Passionate about versatility, his musical interests and repertoire range from opera and choral music to contemporary and Latin-American music. For instance, his approach to new music has been widely developed by conducting more than 30 world premieres in the United States, Colombia and the United Kingdom. In accordance with this interest, Carlos conducted chamber pieces by British composer Jonathan Harvey in the prestigious Wigmore Hall (London), he conducted in the major festival New Music North West 2016, and conducted full-staged opera productions at the Opera Philadelphia and Curtis Opera Theatre (USA). Also, Carlos was invited as a Conducting Fellow to the Cabrillo Contemporary Music Festival 2017 (USA).
Carlos first came to international attention when he reached the third round in the Cadaqués Orchestra International Conducting Competition in 2013 at the age of 22, the youngest of the short-listed candidates. Since then, he has worked with the BBC Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata, Curtis Symphony and Liverpool Mozart Orchestras amongst others and has conducted a number of fully-staged opera productions.
As assistant conductor, Ágreda has worked alongside internationally renowned names such as Juanjo Mena, Peter Oundjian, Yan Pascal Tortelier, David Robertson, Leonard Slatkin, Jon Storgårds and Sir Mark Elder with orchestras such as the St. Louis and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras, the Royal Liverpol Philarmonic Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has also collaborated professionally with Sir Andrew Davis, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, and Osmo Vänskä and has been invited to participate in many high-profile masterclasses with Michael Tilson Thomas, Cristian Măcelaru ,Benjamin Zander, Stéphane Denève, and Vasily Petrenko, to name a few.
Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Ágreda studied conducting and composition at the Juan N. Corpas University under the mentorship of Jorge Alejandro Salazar, graduating with summa cum laude honours in 2012. He continued his conducting studies at the Royal Northern College of Music on the prestigious Master’s programme under the tutelage of Clark Rundell and Mark Heron, graduating with distinction in 2016 before taking up the Conducting Fellowship at the world-renowned Curtis Institute of Music.
Carlos is also passionate about social transformation through art and community education. This commitment allowed him to lead different workshops and concerts of social projects such as Play On Philly (Philadelphia, USA), All City Orchestra (Philadelphia), and youth orchestras such as the Stockport Youth Orchestra (UK) and the Unimusica Youth Orchestra (Colombia). In Colombia, Carlos was the Artistic Director of one of the projects of social transformation through music by the Bogota City Hall in collaboration with the Bogota Philharmonic.