Ariel Quintana, pianist, singer, composer, and conductor, has been active as a composer and minister of music since his teenage years. He is a published composer whose works have been performed by professional choral groups at significant events in high profile venues. He is presently Minister of Music at the Loma Linda University Church and Associate Minister of Music at the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood.
Ariel was born in Libertador San Martin, Entre Rios, Argentina, and grew up in Montecarto, Misiones, in the northern part of the country, the oldest of three children of Omar and Ofelia Lavooy Quintana. Ofelia, a secretary and teacher in a small typing school in their home, was also an amateur pianist. His father taught, did accounting, and managed a Sheraton hotel at different times.
Ariel started playing piano at age three and while in kindergarten accompanied his classmates. At age thirteen he formed his first vocal ensemble, Choral Montecarlo. He attended high school and college at Universidad Adventista del Plata, where he graduated in 1984 with a B.Mus.Ed. with piano as his performance area. During this time he served as arranger and composer for the University Vocal Ensemble.
He earned a master's degree in piano performance from the National Conservatory of Music in Buenos Aires in 1988. In that same year he married mezzo-soprano Helene Urigu, whom he had met five years earlier while a senior at UAP. They moved to Glendale, California, in 1989.
Soon after moving to the U.S., he founded the Opus 7 Chamber Singers with a group of friends from Argentina. In 1989 they sang under conductor Lalo Shifrin at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles and toured in Europe in 1994, 1995, and 1997. They were invited by the Los Angeles Philharmonic to perform Misa Criolla by Ariel Ramirez in 2002 for the first anniversary concert of the September 11 events at the Hollywood Bowl.
In 1996 Quintana had joined the Los Angeles Master Chorale under the direction of Paul Salomunovich, who conducted some of Ariel's arrangements and premiered his Hodie Christus Natus Est in December 2000. It was performed again in February 2003 at Avery Fischer Hall in New York during the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) National Convention. Written for an a cappella double chorus, it was published by Alliance Music Publishing in 2005.
Ave Verum Corpus, premiered by the Cathedral Choir of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood under the direction of Quintana, is published by Santa Barbara Publishing. Other compositions are published by Pavane Publishing, Augsburg Fortress, and Fred Bock Music Publishing. His Mass From Two Worlds, a self-published work distributed by PanaMusica Japan, has sold over 3000 copies in that country. His latest composition, Postludio, was premiered in 2013 during a choir tour to Europe with Kimo Smith, organist at the LLU church.
From 2006 to 2010 Quintana was Assistant Conductor of the Los Angeles Master Chorale. In this position he conducted the LAMC Chamber Singers and was invited to conduct the chorale at Disney Hall. He also prepared the chorus for conductors such as John Adams, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Gustavo Dudamel. Grant Gershon, current conductor of the LAMC, continues to include Quintana’s arrangements and compositions as part of the group’s repertoire.
Quintana completed a D.M.A. in choral conducting at the University of Southern California in 2009, where he studied under William Dehning, Morton Lauridsen, and David Wilson. His teachers and mentors in prior studies have included Estrella Gregorio Steger, Perla Brugola, Julio Fainguersh, Valdo Sciammarella, Waldemar Wensell, John Perry, and Paul Salomunovich. He also studied choral conducting with John Alexander at California State University Northridge.
Currently, in addition to his responsibilities at Loma Linda University Church and the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, he also teaches as an adjunct professor at California State San Bernardino, Asuza Pacific University, and La Sierra University. Quintana continues to write commissioned works and serves as a clinician and adjudicator in choral festivals and workshops.
In 2009 the Quintanas did an acclaimed FPCH Cathedral Choir tour in their native Argentina. Every concert was attended by overflow and enthusiastic audiences. The highpoint of the tour was their performance at San Martin University where they had both been students. Their parents, relatives, and friends, as well as others, were part of a standing-room-only crowd. Appropriately, his 2001 composition, Mass from Two Worlds, an eclectic mix of musical styles and influences, including South American rhythms, was a featured work on the tour.
The Quintanas presently reside in Crestline, California, where Helene sings in the Los Angeles Opera Chorus and the LA Master Chorale. In 2012 she was a featured soloist in a presentation of the Verdi Requiem at the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. Their daughter Antonella, who plays the violin, bells, and piano, attends the Colburn School of Music in Los Angeles.
Sources: Information provided by Ariel Quintana, December 2013; Biographies at Alliance Music Publications, Inc., The first Presbyterian Church of Hollywood; other online sources.