Dr. Jesus Alfonzo
Jesus Alfonzo serves as associate professor of music at Stetson University, DeLand, Florida where he teaches viola, chamber music and music history. He also conducts the Viola Consort and leads the viola clinic. He is member of the Bach Festival Orchestra in Winter Park, Florida, and has been a member of the Rios Reyna String Quartet since 1987. He received a diploma and post-graduate diploma from the Juilliard School of Music and master of music and doctorate in musical arts degrees from Michigan State University. His viola teachers include Jose' Francisco Del Castillo, Julia Adams, Margaret Pardee, Harry Shub, Robert Dan, Bronislaw Gimpel, and Rony Rogoff. He studied chamber music with Joseph Gingold, Felix Galimir, Jascha Brodsky, the Juilliard and the Amadeus string quartets. He has appeared with orchestras in the United States and South America, and has performed recitals and chamber music concerts in Europe, South America and the United States.
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Dr. Alfonzo is a founding member of the El Sistema, the Venezuelan National System of Youth Orchestras, an opportunity, which allowed him to develop both his teaching and playing skills. In 1980 and 1981, he served as principal violist of the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra. He became principal violist of Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for sixteen years. During his career he has collaborated with distinguished conductors and soloists including Claudio Abbado, Gustavo Dudamel, Leonard Bernstein, Jose Antonio Abreu, Maxim Schostakovich, Kristoff Penderecki, Zubin Mehta, Serge Baudo, Carlos Chavez, Jerzy Semkov, Eduardo Mata, Claudio Arrau, Joseph Silverstein, Mstislav Rostropovich, Pinchas Zukerman, Yo-Yo Ma, Montserrat Caballe, Jean Pierre Rampal, Yehudi Menuhin and Henry Szeryng. In Venezuela, he taught at the Conservatorio de Musica Simon Bolivar, the University Institute of Musical Studies (IUDEM), and the Colegio Emil Friedman.
He recorded The Johannes Brahms Viola Sonatas (1988), and Pipocas with the Rios Reyna String Quartet (1997), a CD set containing string quartet music by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Silvestre Revueltas, and Inocente Carreño. His publications include Soggetto Cavato I: La Historia y mis Relatos de los Primeros Cinco AÃ±os de El Sistema (2015), Soggetto Cavato II: Mis Relatos en la Historia de El Sistema (1980-1984) (2018) and Viola Music by Latin American Composer: Catalog of Works (2018).
From 1998 until 2014, he presented an annual series of viola and string pedagogy master classes at El Sistema throughout Venezuela. In addition to his teaching duties and performance schedule, Dr. Alfonzo maintains a private studio of distinguished students in Florida.