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Raphaela Lacerda

SBSO Assistant Conductor



Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Raphaela Lacerda is an accomplished conductor who has garnered recognition both in Brazil and the United States for her exceptional talent and dedication to the world of orchestral music.

Ms. Lacerda's impressive career has led her to conduct renowned orchestras, 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, where she currently holds the position of Assistant Conductor. She is also deeply committed to nurturing the next generation of musicians and serves as Assistant Conductor of the Diamond Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Musicians at Play Foundation. Additionally, she holds the esteemed role of Orchestra Director of the World Music Symphony Orchestra at Azusa Conservatory of Music.

Ms. Lacerda's dedication to her craft is exemplified by her extensive training and education. She has had the privilege of participating in courses and masterclasses under the tutelage of renowned conductors such as Marin Alsop, Stefan Blunier, Cristian Macelaru, Giancarlo Guerrero, Robert Treviño, Neil Thomson, Jean-Marie Zeitouni, Sarah Ioannides, Daisuke Soga, among others. Maestra Lacerda's talent and commitment were further recognized when Marin Alsop invited her to join the Conducting Class of the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra's Academy of Music. Notably, she also achieved the distinction of being a finalist in the competition for Assistant Conductor of the Experimental Orchestra of Repertoire (OER) in São Paulo, Brazil.

In 2022, Maestra Lacerda collaborated closely with the three-time Grammy-nominated American composer Miguel Del Aguila, where she conducted his composition "Toccata." Del Aguila himself praised her performance, noting, "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."

Continuing to excel, in May 2023, Ms. Lacerda graduated with a Master's degree in Instrumental Conducting from Azusa Pacific University, where she studied under the guidance of Professor Christopher Russell. Her dedication and exceptional academic achievements were further acknowledged through her receipt of the prestigious 2023 Dennis Royse Graduate Achievement and Academic Excellence Award from Azusa Pacific University.

Recently, Maestra Lacerda received the 2023 Emerging Professional Award from the Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO), a testament to her outstanding contributions to the field. Anne Viricel, Executive Director of the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra, commended her work, saying, "In December of 2022, she conducted a performance of Bizet’s Farandole from L’Arlesienne Suite No. 2 to significant community acclaim. We even received phone calls from community members and local music teachers asking when she would be back on the podium! It was the maturity of her conducting ability and demonstrated interest in orchestra operations that brought her to the attention of our Music director and Conductor Anthony Parnther."

Maestro Anthony Parnther, further explained, "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."


Raphaela Lacerda's journey as a conductor continues to thrive, with her passion for music and commitment to excellence shining brightly. These endorsements from esteemed figures in the orchestral world affirm her rising prominence and the significant impact she has made in the field.

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