Santiago Cañón Valencia


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Santiago Cañón-Valencia has been praised as one of the most promising young cellists of his generation. Born in Bogota in 1995, his major musical mentors have been Henryk Zarzycki in Colombia, James Tennant in New Zealand, Andres Diaz in the United States and Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt at the Kronberg Academy for Young soloists in Germany.

A 2022 BBC Next Generation Artist and Winner of the Silver Medal and “Audience Favourite” Award at the 2019 XVI International Tchaikovsky Competition, Mr. Cañón-Valencia has been a fixture of the International Cello Competition scene for many years. He was awarded the third prize at the prestigious Queen Elisabeth International Competition 2017 in Brussels. He is also a 2018 Starker Foundation Award recipient as well as a First Prize winner of the Carlos Prieto International Cello Competition, Beijing International Music Competition, Gisborne International Music Competition, and Lennox International Young Artists Competition. He was also a major prize winner of the Sphinx, Casals, Johansen, Cassadó, and Adam cello competitions.

Mr. Cañón-Valencia made his orchestral debut as a soloist when he was six years old with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá. Since then, he has appeared with all the major orchestras in his native Colombia and his international solo career has taken him around the world to perform with orchestras such as the Mariinsky Orchestra with Valery Gergiev, Frankfurt Radio Orchestra with Christoph Eschenbach, Brussels Philharmonic with Stephane Deneve, St Petersburg Philharmonic with Nikolai Alexeev, Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra with Janos Kovacs, Moscow Soloists with Yuri Bashmet, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Antwerp Symphony with Muhai Tang, among others.

Highlights of his 2021-2022 season include returning concerto performances in Colombia and Japan  as well as debuts as a soloist with the SWR Symphonieorchester with Andris Poga, Prague Philharmonia, RTVE Symphony Orchestra, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, and appearances at the Dresden, Casals and Moritzburg festivals.

Passionate about new music, Mr. Cañón-Valencia was responsible for Carlos Izcaray’s world premiere of his Cello Concerto “Stringmaster” alongside Alabama Symphony Orchestra. Santiago also premiered Jorge Pinzón’s Cello Concerto “Rapsodia a los 4 Elementos” at the Cartagena International Music Festival 2019. He was also responsible for the Colombian premiere of Ginastera’s Cello Concerto No. 2 with the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia as well as premiering Gulda’s Cello Concerto in Auckland, New Zealand with the Auckland Chamber Orchestra.

As a recording artist, Santiago enjoys immersing himself in both known and unknown works, with a particular interest in commissioning new pieces, arranging and writing his own. This is the case for his upcoming album, which will see its release at the end of this year. Earlier recordings include Santiago’s debut CD “Solo”, which has been internationally acclaimed by the Strad Magazine, as well as Russian cello sonatas and popular pieces of the cello repertoire with pianist Katherine Austin for the Atoll label. 

Mr. Cañón-Valencia has been sponsored by the Mayra & Edmundo Esquenazi Scholarship through the Salvi Foundation since 2011.