Aristides Rivas enjoys a versatile and international career as a multi-genre cellist, public speaker, lecturer, and teacher. He is the principal cellist of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. Rivas was nominated for the Grammys for best contemporary jazz album in 2010 as part of the Julian Lage Group recording of Sounding Point [Emarcy Records]. He is a founding member of the fusion world music group Voci Angelica Trio with which he tours internationally and has recorded two albums. Rivas is also an active solo and chamber musician whose versatility in different music genres has brought him to some of the most prestigious international venues, including the Barbican, Carnegie Hall, Caramoor Music Festival, Tanglewood, Newport Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, and North Sea Jazz Festivals, among others. This season 2017-18, Rivas is partnering with pianist Spencer Myer for a project featuring the performance of the complete works for cello and piano by Beethoven. The performances will take place at Longy School of Music of Bard College.
In 2015, Rivas gave a TEDx Talk about this early music training in the Venezuelan El Sistema music program and how he survived poverty and crime. He continues to speak publicly about the power of music and the importance of social change through music training. Since his early training in Venezuela, Rivas has been an avid teacher, ranging from private lessons, group lessons, strings technique master classes, and orchestral repertoire. Rivas has taught master classes worldwide in a range of conservatories, universities and youth orchestras, such as the New England Conservatory of Music, Skidmore College, and Stanford University in the US; Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes in Mexico, El Sistema Hanwha Youth Orchestra, El Sistema Bucheon Youth Orchestra and Sejong Dream Tree Youth Orchestra in South Korea; International Music Festival Presjovem in Spain, and Vivace Vilnius International Music Festival in Lithuania, among others.
Based on his extensive teaching experience, Rivas also teaches workshops for music educators who wish to improve their skills, especially for those teaching group classes in music programs inspired or similar to El Sistema. In November 2017, he returned for the fourth time to South Korea, as a guest lecturer at the South Korean El Sistema annual forum in Seoul, where he offered workshops to music educators, program directors and administrators. Other future teaching engagements include a workshop and seminar with the American Youth Orchestra in New York City in February 2018. Future performances include Part II of the Beethoven project on April 2, 2018 at Longy School of Music and the performance of Brahms’ Double Concerto on May 26 and 27, 2018 in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
Rivas received his bachelor degree from Baylor University and master's degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. Among his principal teachers are Roberto Zambrano, Gary Hardie, Natasha Brofsky and Bernard Greenhouse. Rivas currently serves as cello faculty at the Longy School of Music of Bard College.