Born in Bogota in 1995, Santiago Cañón – Valencia has been praised as one of the most promising young cellist of his generation. His major musical mentors have been Henryk Zarzycki in Colombia, James Tennant in New Zealand and Andres Diaz in the USA. He is currently pursuing his Further Masters degree with Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt at the Kronberg Academy.
Santiago recently won third prize at the prestigious Queen Elisabeth International Competition 2017 in Brussels and he is a First Prize winner of the Carlos Prieto (2016), Beijing (2010), Gisborne (2011) and Lennox (2014) international cello competitions, and he is also a major prize winner of the Sphinx (2017), Casals (2014), Johansen (2012), Cassadó (2013) and Adam (2009), international cello competitions.
He has performed in recital and as a soloist with orchestras throughout Australasia, South America, the USA, Canada, South Africa, Europe, China, Japan, México, and Russia and has played as a soloist with Yuri Bashmet and the Moscow Soloists, the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie and Frank Braley, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Brussels Philharmonic.
Santiago has worked with world renowned conductors such as Stépane Denéve, János Kovács, Marco Parisotto and Bernhard Gueller among others and will make his debut with the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra and Muhai Tang in June 2017. He was also responsible for the Colombian premiere of Ginastera’s Cello Concerto No. 2 with the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia and also premiered Gulda’s Cello Concerto in Auckland, New Zealand with the Auckland Chamber Orchestra. He has also collaborated with world-renowned musicians such as Alisa Weilerstein, Shlomo Mintz, Dmitri Berlinsky, Richard Young, Andres Diaz, Emmanuel Ceysson, Wendy Chen and Roberto Gonzales-Monjas among others. Santiago has also shared the stage with Maxim Vengerov, Li-Wei Qin and Phillipe Müller.
Santiago has been a guest artist several times at the Cartagena International Music Festival and was part of the Verbier Festival Academy (Cello) 2016 and also was the responsible for the official opening concert of the First Waikato International Cello Festival 20016 in Hamilton, New Zealand.
His debut CD of solo 20th Century works has been internationally acclaimed by the Strad Magazine and others. Consecutively, he has just released two new recordings consisting of Russian cello sonatas and popular pieces of the cello repertoire with pianist Katherine Austin. All of his recordings have been made under the Atoll label in New Zealand. Santiago has been sponsored by the Mayra & Edmundo Esquenazi Scholarship through the Salvi Fundation since 2011 also, he is a recipient of the MPower ArtistGrants 2016 by the Sphinx Organization and will also receive the prestigious Monini Prize at the Spoleto Festival 2017 in July in Italy.