One of the leading names in the Polish music world, an excellent musician with a significant international career, born in Brazil and living in Poland since 1985.
He began his music education in his hometown of Fortaleza, then went on to study conducting at the University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte. He perfected his skills participating in numerous masterclasses in Brazil, at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, Musikhochschule in Vienna, and at the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw under Professor Henryk Czyż.
Almost immediately after arriving in Poland, the artist embarked on a successful career as a conductor. He led a series of symphony and chamber concerts, opera productions, and ballet performances at almost all of the country’s music halls and opera houses. Subsequently, he toured all over Europe, both Americas, and Asia, where his performances were welcomed with appreciation both by the audience and critics, many of whom did not hesitate to call him ‘one of the best conductors of his generation’.
To date, he has served as the first conductor of the Łódź Grand Theatre and of the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera, Warsaw; the music director of the Wrocław Opera, the Poznań Opera House, and the Baltic Opera, Gdańsk; the general manager and artistic director of the Orchestra and Choir of Polish Radio and Television, Kraków; the general manager and artistic director of the Poznań Philharmonic; Maestro Titular Orquestra Sinfônica do Theatro Municipal de São Paulo and Chief-Conductor of Capella Bydgostiensis of Pomeranian Philharmonic, Bydgoszcz.
Over the last few years he led masterclasses and a gala concert at the Moscow Conservatoire as the first Polish (and Brazilian) conductor in the institution’s 160 years of history, following in the footsteps of such excellent artists as Sir Georg Solti or Mstislav Rostropovich.
Among his numerous artistic achievements, he may boast a range of world premieres and recordings of contemporary works, including world premieres of the operas Elektra by Mikis Theodorakis and Olga by Jorge Antunes, the cantata Holocaust by Marta Ptaszyńska, and works dedicated to him by Polish, French, Israeli, and Brazilian composers. His album of French music (Henri Tomasi and Jacques Bondon) was honored with five Diapason d’Or stars, the highest phonographic appraisal in France.
Other recent releases have included works by Heitor Villa-Lobos featuring the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (Orpheus Music) and Brazilian music (with Capella Bydgostiensis). Spectacles performed with the Baltic Opera were recorded and broadcasted by the international television Mezzo. These were the first music performances by the Polish ensemble at the time when the Baltic Opera in Gdańsk was included in the BBC’s ‘The Best European Operas’ television programme, next to theatres in Barcelona, Amsterdam, Brussels and London.
José Maria Florêncio received a number of awards and distinctions. Most recently, he was honored with a Silver Gloria Artis Medal for Services to Culture by the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage. He also serves as an Honorary Consul of the Federative Republic of Brazil in Poland.
Currently, he is the music director of the Baltic Opera in Gdańsk.