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Yabetza Vivas Irizarry

Yabetza Vivas-Irizarry is an emerging Puerto Rican conductor known for her charismatic stage presence, nuanced interpretations, and commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity in classical music. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Yabetza developed a deep passion for music at a young age, inspired by the vibrant rhythms and melodies of her island’s rich musical heritage. Among her distinctions is being the first Puerto Rican woman to conduct a classical season concert with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra.

Maestra Vivas-Irizarry is dedicated to championing the works of underrepresented composers, particularly those from Puerto Rico and Latin America. Through her programming choices, she strives to celebrate the diverse musical expressions of her culture, infusing her performances with the richness and vibrancy of her heritage. Since the 2020-21 season, Vivas-Irizarry has appeared as a fellow guest conductor of the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra (OSPR), with whom she recorded two virtual concerts and conducted three successful season concerts. In addition, she conducted a virtual production and the premiere of the new comic opera ¿Y Los Pasteles? Ópera Jíbara in Two Acts by the Puerto Rican female composer Johanny Navarro. The development received funding from OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Female Composers program, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, and Opera of Puerto Rico sponsored the production.

In addition to her artistic endeavors, Maestra Vivas-Irizarry is a passionate advocate for music education and community engagement, believing in the transformative power of music to inspire, heal, and unite communities. Through workshops, outreach programs, and educational initiatives, she works tirelessly to foster the next generation of talent and is committed to providing guidance and support to aspiring musicians and conductors, particularly women and individuals from underrepresented backgrounds. This led her to become the musical director of the Puerto Rican Youth Symphony Orchestra’s El Sistema 100 x 35 program.

From 2019 to 2022, Vivas-Irizarry received mentorship from Music Director Mei-Ann Chen as a Freeman Conducting Fellow with the Chicago Sinfonietta. Highlights from the 2023/24 season include guest conducting a Mother’s Day POPS concert of the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra.

Throughout her career, Vivas-Irizarry has worked with renowned conductors such as Mei-Ann Chen, Dr. Emily Freeman-Brown, Kenneth Kiesler, and Roselín Pabón. She has also participated in various conducting master’s classes in the USA and England. Professionally, Vivas-Irizarry has conducted Angélica Negrón’s What keeps me awake, Amy Beach’s Gaelic Symphony, Johanny Navarro’s ¿Y los Pasteles? Opera, Aaron Jay Kernis’s On Wings of Light, Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, Aaron Copland’s Suite from Appalachian Spring, Frank Loesser’s musical The Most Happy Fella, Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, Beethoven’s Symphony no.7 in A Major, Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony Op. 110a, Dvorak’s Symphony No. 7, Poulenc’s Gloria, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Britten’s Simple Symphony No. 4, and more. Furthermore, Vivas-Irizarry has accompanied solo musicians such as clarinetist Kathleen Jones, oboist Ivonne Pérez, guitarist Matthew Ardizzone, soprano Meechot Marrero, and tenor Pedro Arroyo.

Maestra Vivas-Irizarry currently serves as the manager of the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra; holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Choral Music Education from the Puerto Rico Music Conservatory and a Master of Music degree in Orchestra Conducting from Bowling Green State University.


Current & Upcoming Performances

Upcoming Performance Schedule Coming Soon

Past Performances

Past Performance Schedule Coming Soon

Symphonic showcase for women composers, conductor, and players – Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra

Afterwards, the guest conductor Yabetza Vivas Irizarry presented the “Double Concerto for oboe, clarinet and orchestra”, by the director, organist and composer, June Caldwell Kirlin (1910-2013). … The three movements are an exaltation of the towering nature of the mountains, lakes and waterfalls that make up the landscape of the northwestern state of Oregon. The interpretation in the traditional neoclassical format of the Italian “concerto”, Allegro-Andante- Allegro scherzando, was informed of the musical intelligence, aplomb and fluidity of the teachers Jones and Pérez. Yabetza Vivas‘ direction served to unify a graceful collaboration with the reduced orchestra, as is customary. – Luis Enrique Juliá, El Nuevo Dia, April 2023


OPERA PREMIERE: “¿Y los Pasteles?” by Johanny Navarro

The orchestral version, emphasized in the melodic motifs, was dynamic and sandunguera. Yabetza Vivas’ baton, was tasty and contagious. Laurels for her and the musicians. – Alina Marrero for Fundación Nacional para la Cultura Popular, August 2022