Josué Casillas, Flute
Principal flute of the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra
Josué Casillas is the principal flutist of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Puerto Rico (OSPR) and the flute professor at the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico (CMPR).
Casillas won the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) and the National Flute Association Master Class Competitions in 1986. He has performed the Ibert Flute Concerto with the CIM Chamber Orchestra in Toledo, Ohio, and with the OSPR in San Juan. After winning the Festival de Orquestas Sinfónicas Juveniles de América Solo Competition in 1990, JosueCasillas was invited to be guest artist at the Festival Mayormente Mozart in San Juan, Puerto Rico for the following ten consecutive years. He has presented solo recitals at the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, the Universidad de Puerto Rico and the CMPR. Casillas appeared in the 2008 Casals Festival with Camerata Caribe, chamber music group in residence at the CMPR.
Born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, Casillas started his flute studies with family members, and at his hometown church. At the age of 15, Josué was already performing with relatives Nilda D. Betancourt Casillas, now professor of piano at the Interamerican University, San Germán, Puerto Rico, and David E. Betancourt Casillas, now in the first violin section of the OSPR. At that age, he became the youngest flutist hired by the Instituto de Cultura to perform with the Banda Estatal de Puerto Rico. He studied with Leslie López at the Escuela Libre de Música de San Juan, graduating from high school Summa Cum Laude, and then with Peter Kern (then-principal flutist of the OSPR) at the CMPR.
Josué continued his university-level training at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Maurice Sharp, Cleveland Orchestra’s Principal Flutist and earned his Bachelors in Music, and his Artist Diploma just a year later. At CIM, Josue studied chamber music with harpist Alice Chalifoux and oboist John Mack. He performed in the CIM orchestras under conductors Carl Topilow, Louis Lane, Jahja Ling, Michael Stern, and Pierre Boulez.
At CIM, Josué received scholarships from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Music Assistance Fund of The NY Philharmonic Orchestra. These grants enabled Josué to attend summer music festivals such as The Grand Teton and Blossom Music Festivals, where he worked with Philadelphia Orchestra’s solo flutist, Jeffrey Khaner. While at CIM,Josué Casillas also studied with Martha Aarons (flutist, Cleveland Orchestra) who encouraged Casillas to attend the Aspen Music Festival. At Aspen, Casillas worked with Mark Sparks (principal flutist, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra). In 1991, he attended the Ecóle de Formation Musicale (Nice, France), where he studied with renowned flute masters Maxence Larrieu (professor, Géneva Conservartory) and Raymond Guiot (professor, Paris Conservatoire).
In 1994, Casillas was awarded an internship with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, which enabled him to complete his M.M. at Rice University, where he studied with Aralee Dorough (principal flutist, Houston Symphony) and Carol Wincenc (solo concert artist). While in Houston, Casillas also organized his own chamber music group, The Keynote Chamber Players, presenting monthly recitals, some broadcasted on KUHF, Houston’s classical radio station. Josué Casillas has served as principal flutist with the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra during five consecutive seasons and with the Symphony of Southeast Texas for three years. In Houston, Josué performed under the direction of Christoph Eschenbach, Steven Stein, andVjekoslav Sutej, among others.
In 2006, Josué was invited to perform as soloist with TOCCATA, The Orchestra and Community Choral Artists of the Tahoe Area, in their Big Blue Summer Fest. He was received with such enthusiasm that he returned in 2007 and 2008 as principal guest artist, and looks forward to continuing the collaboration.
Currently, Josué Casillas mantains a busy schedule performing and teaching in his beloved San Juan, Puerto Rico, as well as in the US and Latin America.