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about Juan Sebastian

is a Colombian composer who is currently based in Emeryville, California. His musical compositions are inspired by literature, using stories and moods from books as scaffolding, hoping to create a new personal read. Besides composing, Sebastian is a passioned educator of Music Theory and Composition, who looks for awake love in his friends and students for music, art, coffee and life.

His orchestral piece “Negra espalda del tiempo” was awarded the 2017 Bogotá Philharmonic Prize in Composition. In 2019, his Choir and Orchestra piece “Cuando fui mortal” won the National Composition Competition. His orchestral and chamber music have been performed, awarded and/or recorded by the Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, University EAFIT Symphonic Orchestra, Caldas Symphonic Orchestra, University of Memphis Contemporary Chamber Players and Periscopio Ensemble. 

Juan Sebastian obtained his DMA in composition at the University of Memphis, with Kamran Ince, John Baur and Mahir Cetiz. In 2016, Juan Sebastian earned an M.M. in composition from the University EAFIT, where he studied with Victor Agudelo. In 2014, Juan earned his bachelor’s in music education from the University of Caldas, where he studied with Juan Carlos Valencia, Hector Fabio Torres and Jaime Jaramillo. Besides that, Juan took composition lessons with Gustavo Parra, Juan Carlos Padilla, Cesar Cano and James Diaz. In 2015, he was given a condecoration for academic merit in the event "Noche de los mejores" by the former President of Colombia and Nobel Peace Prize.

He was Lecturer at Universidad de Caldas until June 2022, when he decided to relocate in Emeryville, CA.

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