Joao Tiago Santos
Recently appointed as Principal Conductor of the University of Paraiba Symphony, Brazilian conductor Thiago Santos was a Leverhulme Arts Scholar at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, where he completed his Master of Music degree with distinction mentored by Clark Rundell and Mark Heron. He served as Assistant Conductor at the BBC Philharmonic and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (2014-2016), collaborating with conductors such as Juanjo Mena, Vasily Petrenko, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Ton Koopman, and John Storgards.
Thiago has worked with Brazilian orchestras such as Porto Alegre Symphony, Minas Gerais Philharmonic, Sao Jose dos Campos Symphony and Rio de Janeiro Federal University Symphony. In England, Thiago has worked with the BBC Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata, among others. His first professional position at the age of sixteen was as Assistant Conductor of Sacra Vox Chamber Ensemble, a group dedicated to early music performance (2001-2004).
In 2011, Thiago won the Porto Alegre Symphony Competition for Young Conductors, a major competition in Brazil. In 2015, he participated in the Antal Dorati Conducting Competition, winning through from 120 applicants in the first round to the semi-final opened for 10 candidates. In the same year, Thiago collaborated with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra members by conducting their orchestral masterclasses for young musicians in England.
His repertoire embraces symphonic works and opera, from baroque to new music, having conducted several world premieres of works by Brazilian and British composers. In 2016, he made his debut at the Rio de Janeiro Municipal Theatre - one of the most important opera houses in South America - conducting Savitri by Holst, and served as assistant conductor for productions of Lo Schaivo, by Carlos Gomes, and Jenufa, by Leoš Janáček.
An advocate of Brazilian music, Thiago also collaborates with the Brazilian Academy of Music editing works of Brazilian composers such as Villa-Lobos, Francisco Braga, Henrique Oswald, Mario Tavares, José Siqueira, and Ernani Aguiar.
He started his musical studies at the age of nine when he learnt piano and sang in junior choirs. He went on to study at the School of Music of Rio de Janeiro Federal University where he graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Orchestral Conducting. Thiago has taken part in many masterclasses, counting as mentors prominent maestros such as Sir Mark Elder, Juanjo Mena, Marin Alsop, Giancarlo Guerrero, Vasily Petrenko, Jac van Steen, Mark Shanahan, Ronald Zollman, Donald Schleicher, and Christopher Zimmerman.