Music Director and Conductor
A Grammy Award-winning artist nominated for two other Grammys, conductor Jorge Martinez-Rios studied viola and piano at the Conservatorio de las Rosas in Morelia, Mexico. In 2003, he completed his Master of Music degree in Viola Performance at Western Michigan University. In 2007, he completed another Master of Music Degree in chamber music and studied conducting under the instruction of Dr. Frank Wiley. Jorge Martinez-Rios has conducted the Contemporary Music Ensemble in Morelia Mexico, Conservatorio de Las Rosas Chamber Orchestra, Camerata de Coahuila, and the NMSU Philharmonic Orchestra.
Martinez specializes in chamber music and he is the violist and founding member of the La Catrina Quartet, which has been hailed by Yo-Yo Ma as "wonderful ambassadors for music." He has performed in Germany, United Kingdom, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Aruba, El Salvador, and all over the United States. Recent appearances include Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, and Symphony Space in New York City; Meany Hall World-Series in Seattle; Chicago Center for the Arts; UCLA Concert Series; Festival Internacional in Chihuahua, Mexico; Palacio de Bellas Artes and National Center for the Arts in Mexico City; San Miguel de Allende Music Festival and Festival Internacional Cervantino in Guanajuato, Mexico.
He has recorded over 10 albums. In 2012, he was a featured artist on the Latin Grammy Winning Recording of Seresta for Double Quartet by Brazilian composer Francisco Mignone with the Cuarteto Latinoamericano. During the same year, he was invited by the National Endowment for the Arts in Mexico to record the String Trio and the Sonata for Viola and Piano as part of the Moncayo Compilation Project. In 2014, he was nominated for another Latin Grammy for the recording of String Quartet No. 2 by Cuban Composer Yalil Guerra. He is currently nominated for a 2018 Latin Grammy for the recording of String Quartet No. 3 (In memoriam Ludwig van Beethoven) by the same composer.
Martinez is Associate Professor at the New Mexico State University Department of Music, principal violist of the Las Cruces Symphony and the San Antonio Chamber Orchestra, and he has a busy performing, conducting, and recording agenda.
Dr. Marianna Gabbi
Music Director and Conductor
In the Fall of 2012, retired music professor Dr. Marianna Paone Gabbi came out of retirement to conduct the New Horizons Symphony. Orchestra members were greatly saddened to learn of her sudden death at the age of 90 on September 11, 2018. Both the orchestra and the community benefited greatly from her vast experience, musicianship and style.
Born in South Philadelphia in 1928, her love of music grew at an early age as did her talent for playing the violin. She studied at the Philadelphia Settlement Musical Academy and later received a scholarship to the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris where she studied violin with Yvonne Astruc and Georges Enesco. She lived and studied in cities throughout Europe and later returned to the United States to study conducting in Texas under Anshel Brusilow. Dr. Gabbi received a Masters in Music from Southern Methodist University and a Doctor of Musical Arts in violin and conducting from North Texas State University.
Marianna accepted a position at New Mexico State University in 1975 and very quickly demonstrated the vitality and ability to excite others into action that has enhanced the artistic quality of life in Southern New Mexico. In addition to the Las Cruces Symphony at NMSU subscription series, she instituted the Youth Concert Series, the Young Artist Competition, and the Summer String Workshop. The Las Cruces Symphony Association and its affiliate volunteer organization, the Las Cruces Symphony Guild, were also her inspiration. She brought many notable guest artists to play with the symphony which served to put Las Cruces on the cultural map.
She was honored by numerous local and state awards including "Marianna Gabbi Day" (1982) and two Governor's Awards for Outstanding Women (1989) and Excellence in the Arts (1997).
Her talent and fame were international and in 1988 she received an official invitation from China to conduct two orchestras, the Beijing Central and Beijing Conservatory, reaching an enthusiastic audience of over 5,000. In January of 1996, Dr. Gabbi was guest conductor of the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra in Bolshoi Hall, the first woman to conduct that symphony, and again in 1998 when she conducted a concert of all American composers. Dr. Gabbi is in the international Music Museum (London, England) and has performed in Italy, France, Germany, England, Switzerland, and Mexico.