Orlando Cela

Venezuelan-born musician Orlando Cela is committed to giving audiences lively performances that open new worlds of experience to them. Known for his engaging performance style using imaginative programming, he has premiered over 100 works both as a flutist and a conductor. 

As a flutist, Cela has performed at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Center for New Music and Technologies at the University of California, Berkeley. His credits abroad include concerts at the Zentrum Danziger (Berlin), the Espace des Femmes (Paris), and at the Musikverein (Vienna). He has collaborated with flutist Paula Robison, tabla player Samir Chatterjee, harpsichordist John Gibbons, and shen (mouth organ) virtuoso Hu Jianbing. As former music director for the Willow Flute Ensemble, he arranged over 100 works from the Baroque to the contemporary, and he recently launched FluteLab, an online forum in which he answers composers’ questions about writing for the flute with commentaries and video clips.

As a conductor, Cela launched the orchestral department at Ningbo University in China and conducting the inaugural concert of the Ningbo City Symphony Orchestra. In the U.S., he has worked with orchestras and choruses at Randolph College and the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and guest conducted the Marquette Symphony Orchestra, the Northern Michigan State University Orchestra, and the Brandeis New Music Ensemble. He is currently the music director and conductor of the Arlington Philharmonic Orchestra and the orchestra of the Governor’s School of North Carolina.

A dedicated music educator, Cela is known for his dynamic workshops and lectures at places such as Tulane University, Brandeis University, the Central Conservatory of Music in China, and the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart in Germany, as well as at flute festivals in Ithaca and Syracuse, New York, and at Shanghai Normal University. In addition to teaching at Berklee, he teaches world music at Middlesex Community College.

  • Career Highlights
    • Instruments include classical flute, Chinese dizi (笛子), and Venezuelan cuatro
    • Leader of the orchestra of the Governor’s School of North Carolina and the Zephyr Flute Quartet
    • Member of Music at Eden's Edge and Juventas New Music Ensemble
    • Performances with Salvatore Sciarrino, Paula Robison, Samir Chatterjee, John Gibbons, and Hu Jianbing
    • Performance include Rewin by Anna Clyne (North Carolina premiere), Flying Banner by Liza Lim (American premiere), Estampas Mexicanas by José Elizondo (world premiere), World Enough by Alwynne Pritchard (American premiere), and The Old Harp by Maxwell Dulaney (world premiere), among others
    • Recordings include Project Extended (FlyNote Productions, 2013), New Lullaby (Six String Sounds, 2010), The Complete Boismortier Concerti, op. 15 (2010), World Winds, (Willow Flute Ensemble, 2009)
, and Aflame in Flight (Centaur Records, 2005), among others
    • Guest lecturer at the Central Conservatory of Music (Beijing, China); Tulane University (New Orleans, Louisiana); University of California, Berkeley; Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart (Germany); and DePauw University (Greencastle, Indiana)
    • Recipient of Barlow Endowment LDS Commission in conjunction with Peter McMurray (2008)
    • Classes with Glenn Michael Egner, Anne Reynolds, and Paula Robison
  • Awards
    • Producer, Best Original Series, Arlington Community Media, Inc. (2018)
    • Third Place in the American Prize, Conducting, Community Orchestras Division (2018)
    • Recipient of second prize, London Classical Soloists Conducting Competition (2017)
    • Recipient of second place in the American Prize, Ernst Bacon Memorial Award in Excellence of Performance of American Music, Youth Division (2016)
    • Recipient of the American Prize, Orchestra Conducting, Youth Division (2016)
    • Recipient of the American Prize, Orchestral Programming, Maestro Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award, Youth Orchestra Division (2016)
  • Education
    • M.M., New England Conservatory, conducting
    • M.M., New England Conservatory, flute performance
    • B.M., DePauw University

In Their Own Words

"My style is the one where no straight answers are given. Students are encouraged to discuss, try, and decide on what is usually the best solution to a problem, and most importantly, they are taught to support their findings with concrete arguments. I want my students to be able to teach themselves."

"Compared to Berklee, no other school has such a diversity of students from so many countries, backgrounds, talents, interests, and instruments that they play. This is truly a microcosmos of our world, and wonderful things happen when these students collaborate."

"As a conductor, I lead people to do their best for the better of the ensemble. I encourage my players to have their own voice, either playing, or collaborating ideas during rehearsals and planning. I wish for my students to understand that, in any musical collaboration, they should bring the best out of every person they work with. They must understand that not even a conductor has all the right answers, and that's okay."