Carmen Maria Montiel earned praise from her peers and industry awards for her work as a journalist for the Spanish-language television station Telemundo Houston. Before becoming a professional journalist, she won the Miss Venezuela and Miss South America titles in 1984 and was second runner-up in that year’s Miss Universe Pageant. Carmen Maria Montiel donates a great deal of her time and expertise to a broad range of cultural and philanthropic activities, including the Miss Houston pageant, UNICEF, and Virtuosi of Houston.
A premier young artists chamber orchestra, Virtuosi of Houston was established in 1996 to expand the opportunities for gifted musicians in the 11- to 18-year-old age range to receive professional-level training and participate in meaningful public performances. At the same time, it significantly expanded the repertoire of chamber music available to Houston audiences.
Because Virtuosi of Houston is a chamber orchestra of 50 to 60 musicians (significantly smaller than a symphony orchestra or high school band), its members have the opportunity for more focused instruction and training. The smaller orchestra size also helps the musicians build confidence and leadership, as well as performance skills that might not develop so well in a larger orchestra.
The orchestra performs publicly three times during the season. During the five weeks prior to each concert, there are 10 rehearsals. At each rehearsal, one of the orchestra’s two maestros conducts the music, while the other works with individual musicians, helping them to perfect their technique on the various instruments they play.
Auditions for Virtuosi of Houston are held in the spring and fall of each year. More information about how to become a member, as well as more information about Virtuosi of Houston, is available on its website at http://www.virtuosiofhouston.org.