In February 2008, Chilean conductor Maximiano Valdés was named Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Puerto Rico Symphony. Mr. Valdés recently ended a 16 year tenure as Music Director of the Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias in Spain and was named the orchestra's Conductor Laureate. He is a former Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic and served as Chief Conductor of both the orchestra and opera at the Teatro Municipal in Santiago, Chile, where he returns annually for both symphonic and opera performances. In March 2010, Mr. Valdés also accepted the position of Artistic Director of the famed Festival Casals in San Juan.
Born in Santiago, Maximiano Valdés began his studies in piano and violin at the Conservatory of Music there and continued at the Accademia de Santa Cecilia in Rome where he took courses in composition and conducting. Completing his diploma in piano, he decided to concentrate entirely on conducting and enrolled in the conducting classes of Franco Ferrara in Bologna, Siena and Venice and also worked with Sergiu Celibidache in Stuttgart and Paris. In 1976 Mr. Valdés was engaged as Assistant Conductor at the Teatro la Fenice in Venice and the following year was a conducting fellow at Tanglewood where he worked with Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa. He won First Prize at the Nicolai Malko Competition in Copenhagen, First Prize at the Vittorio Gui Competition in Florence and Second Prize from the Rupert Foundation Conducting Competition in London.
Mr. Valdés made his American symphonic debut in October 1987 with the Buffalo Philharmonic and was immediately re-invited for the following season. After a successful return to the orchestra in 1989, he was appointed Music Director, a position he held for almost 10 years. In North America he has guest conducted many of the leading orchestras including the Saint Louis, National, Montreal, Baltimore, Seattle, Houston, Dallas and New World symphonies and the Calgary Philharmonic. Summer festival appearances have included the Mann Music Center with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Caramoor, Interlochen, Grand Teton, Eastern Music Festival, Chautauqua, Music Academy of the West and Grant Park in Chicago.
Recent and upcoming engagements include appearances with the Indianapolis, Vancouver, Colorado, Phoenix, Edmonton, Syracuse and San Diego symphonies, the Buffalo and Louisiana Philharmonics and National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa in North America; the Dresden Philharmonie, Russian State Symphony Orchestra, Warsaw, Krakow and Katowice Philharmonics, Nice Opera Orchestra, Lisbon Philharmonic and all of the major Spanish orchestras in Europe; and the Malaysian Philharmonic, Orquesta de Sao Paolo in Brazil and Mexico City Philharmonic. In October 2011, Mr. Valdés led the Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias in a concert for the Pope at the Vatican.
An experienced opera conductor who has led productions in many of Europe's leading opera houses, Mr. Valdés made his highly successful opera debut in France with La Traviata at the Nice Opera. Since then he has conducted productions in Paris, Lausanne, Rome, Berlin, London, Barcelona, Oslo, Copenhagen, Bonn, Asturias and Santiago. Mr. Valdés made his American operatic debut in May 1992 with the Seattle Opera conducting Cosi fan tutti and returned there in the fall of 1998 to lead Gounod's Faust. During the 10/11 season he returned to the opera house in Oviedo, Spain to conduct Katya Kabanova and led a production of La Traviata in San Juan.
Maximiano Valdés has recorded with the Royal Philharmonic, Monte Carlo Philharmonic, Nice Philharmonic and the Simon Bolivar Orchestra and had an exclusive agreement with Naxos to record works by Latin American and Spanish composers with his orchestra in Asturias.