Marlene Urbay was born in Havana, Cuba; she is the founder and music director of the Florida Chamber Orchestra (1995) and former Music Director of the National Ballet of Cuba (1982-1991). Urbay completed elementary school at the Alejandro Garcia Caturla Conservatory in Havana and continued studying at Cuba’s National School of the Arts, graduating in 1980 specializing in piano and choral conducting. In 1980, Urbay entered the “Instituto Superior de Arte” in Havana, earning a degree in 1985 with exceptional high honors in orchestral conducting.
After immigrating to the United States in 1991, Maestro Urbay was Assistant Conductor of the University of Miami Symphony Orchestra, studied at the Manhattan School of Music and earned a Master’s Degree with excellence in orchestral conducting from the University of Miami School of Music in 1996.
In 1987, Urbay founded the Chamber Orchestra of the Great Theatre of Havana to rave national and international reviews. She developed seasonal concerts leading the Chamber Orchestra on a widely acclaimed 35-city tour of Italy in 1990.
Urbay has been guest conductor at the Philharmonic Orchestra of Lima, Perú, Symphony Orchestra of Mexico D.F., Symphony Orchestra of Puerto Rico, Philharmonic Orchestra of Tokyo and Osaka, Japan; Symphony Orchestra Betica of Sevilla,, Symphony Orchestra of Silecia, Poland, Opera and Ballet orchestra in Prague, Czech Republic, Teatro de la Zarzuela, Liceo de Barcelona, and all the symphony orchestras in Cuba.
She was “Director Huesped” with the National Dance Company in Mexico, D.F. at the famous “Bellas Artes” theatre from 2004 to 2007. In October 2012, she was invited to conduct the orchestra at the prestigious XII Violin’s Festival Orchestra, Lima, Peru. In December 2011 she was invited to conduct the Nutcracker season with Ballet Concerto of Puerto Rico. In December 2013 she conducted the Nutcracker season at San Jose Ballet, California with the Silicon Valley Symphony Orchestra.
She is the only Latin American woman conductor to earn a special award at Poland’s prestigious G. Fitelberg competition for international orchestra conductors and the first Cuban conductor awarded at an international competition.
Maestro Marlene Urbay has received numerous accolades including recognition at the Congress for her contribution and dedication to the advancement of Latin Music in the United Stated (April 2013) recognition by The National Association of Professional Women (2009), Yahoo Hispanic (2008) “Hispana Triunfadora” in Mosaico Hispano, Pregones magazine for the development of Cuban music. (2003), “Asociación de Mujeres Cubanas” (2003), proclamation by the City if Miami “ Marlene Urbay’s Day” (September 28, 2000), “Hispana Triunfadora, GEMS TV Women of the Year in the Music category (1999), First Annual Award. Miami, ACCA (1996) for the best performance of the year in the category of chamber music.
In 2000, she released her first CD, “Memories of Cuba” and in 2005, “Échale Salsita.” Maestro Marlene Urbay commands an extensive repertory of different genres, including symphonic and chamber music, ballet, opera, zarzuela, operetta and musical comedy.
Urbay has been a member of the faculty at Miami-Dade Community College and currently leads the Music Department, at Belen Jesuit Preparatory School and at Conchita Espinosa Academy of the Arts.
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