Raphaela Lacerda has joined the staff of the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra as Assistant Conductor. In this role, she will assist Maestro Anthony Parnther and Principal Guest Conductor Lesley Leighton by supervising stage management, coordinating with the Musician’s Librarian, providing support to guest artists, assisting at rehearsals and educational concerts, collaborating with Maestro Parnther on the planning and selection of themes, repertoire, and soloists, and acting as cover conductor for rehearsals, concerts, and other programs. She will also assist Executive Director Dr. Anne Viricel by managing the Symphony’s social media, researching and developing new projects, and assisting with mission advancement especially as it relates to education and outreach.
Explained Maestro Parnther, “The moment I became aware of Raphaela through her professor Christopher Russell, I immediately shared the footage with our Principal Guest Conductor, Lesley Leighton. We agreed that opening an opportunity for this young conductor to showcase her talent with the SBSO was the logical next step. From the moment Lacerda stepped onto the SBSO podium at the California Theatre, she demonstrated a command and professionalism rare for a musician her age. It was at this moment that I made the rare decision to take on an Assistant Conductor to mentor, and learn the ropes of what it really takes to run and grow a regional orchestra.”
Shared Lacerda, “When I first heard the SBSO perform, I was blown away by the artistry and passion of the musicians. But it wasn’t until I learned about the incredible work the SBSO has been doing over the last few years that I knew I had to be a part of it. The SBSO has continually grown in excellence under the direction of Maestro Anthony Parnther, and I am excited to bring my skills and experience to bear on its continued success.”
Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Lacerda has conducted prominent orchestras in Brazil and the United States, including the Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra (OFMG), São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra (OSESP), São Paulo State Youth Orchestra (OJESP), Santo André Symphony Orchestra (OSSA), and San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra. She is the Assistant Conductor of the Diamond Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Musicians at Play Foundation. She also serves as Orchestra Director of the World Music Symphony Orchestra at Azusa Conservatory of Music.
In 2022, Lacerda worked closely with the three-time Grammy-nominated American composer Miguel Del Aguila, conducting his work “Toccata.” In Del Aguila’s words: “The performance was very energetic as she managed to keep the rhythmic and dramatic tension of the work forward. Her interpretation was personal and showed an unusual awareness of the overall architecture of the work. (…) She has that rare quality among conductors of getting a big sound and a dramatic response from the orchestra with spare but accurate and effective movements and directions.”
Apart from her training, Lacerda has also achieved notable accomplishments in her rapidly developing career. In 2019, she was a finalist in the competition for Assistant Conductor of the Experimental Orchestra of Repertoire (OER) in São Paulo, Brazil. In addition, she has experience conducting ensembles of all sizes and styles, including orchestra, choral, wind ensemble, opera, film scores, chamber music, concertos, and contemporary music. Lacerda earned her Master’s degree in Instrumental Conducting from Azusa Pacific University in 2023, where she studied under Professor Christopher Russell.
Concluded Lacerda, “I am thrilled to join an organization that shares my passion for music and community impact. With my skills and experience, I am eager to contribute to the SBSO’s continued success and growth. Maestro Parnther’s leadership has set the stage for even greater achievements, and I look forward to being a part of the SBSO’s journey towards musical excellence and community enrichment.”