African American Orchestra Fellow
Luciano Valdes is a percussionist and timpanist originally from Miami, Florida. He currently serves as the Principal Timpanist of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra and holds a fellowship with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Valdes is pursuing a Master of Music degree at the University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music, where he is studying under Joseph Pereira and Jim Babor.
Valdes holds a Bachelor of Music degree from New York University, Steinhardt Music and Performing Arts Professions, and has studied under notable teachers such as Jonathan Haas, Eriko Daimo, Sean Statser, Joshua Quillen, Valerie Naranjo, Javier Diaz, and James Saporito. He was awarded the Ida Bodman Service Award upon graduation from NYU in recognition of his leadership qualities.
Valdes has been recognized as an emerging young instrumentalist by the New World Symphony and has performed on the side-by-side New World Symphony concert series under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. He has also served as Principal Percussionist of the New York Youth Symphony under Maestro Michael Repper. In addition, Valdes contributed to the album Works by Florence Price, Jessie Montgomery, Valerie Coleman as part of the NYYS. This achievement marked a significant milestone as the NYYS became the first youth orchestra to win a Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance in 2023.
In addition to his classical music pursuits, Valdes has also played the marimba chair for Players Theatre, Beauty and the Beast Off-Broadway Show. He is an alumnus of the Aspen Music Festival and School and Texas Music Festival.