(1925 - 2006)
"You need to have some of Don Quijote inside to create a symphony orchestra," said Maestro Ochoa, founder and music director of The Miami Symphony Orchestra. This effort finds its roots in his family, from whom he inherited a profound musical tradition. His mother, Caridad Ochoa, was an excellent opera singer graduated from the Royal Conservatory San Fernando de Cadiz - where Manuel de Falla studied music. It was with his mother that at a very early age Maestro Ochoa began his music studies.
Born in Cuba, Manuel Ochoa made his professional debut at the age of 17 conducting Verdi's Il Trovatore. From 1942 to 1946, he created and conducted the Choral Society. As Music Director of the Sociedad Coral, he presented renowned international artists - among them the famous Vienna Boys Choir, with whom a close collaboration was started. This relationship served as inspiration to create the "Ninos Cantores de la Habana" (Havana Boy's Choir) for Cardinal Archbishop Monsignor Manuel Arteaga. Maestro Ochoa graduated from the Conservatorio Internacional de Musica in Havana, and began his rise to become the most famous choral conductor in Havana. He was the conductor of several of the best choirs in Havana - among them El Coro de Madrigalistas - considered the best choir in Cuba. With this group, he presented not only "a capella" polyphonic works but also combined several choirs for the premieres in Cuba of several symphonic-choral works. In Europe, he graduated from the Real Conservatorio de Madrid after receiving a scholarship from the Instituto de Cultura Hispanica. He then continued his studies of conducting technique at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome under Maestro Bonaventura Somma and in Vienna under Hermann Scherchen, an extraordinary musician and creator of the German School of Conducting. Upon returning to Cuba, he was named Professor of Conducting Techniques at the Conservatorio Nacional and conducted the Orquesta Filarmonica de la Habana. He then returned to Europe, where he conducted the Orquesta y Coro de la Radio Nacional de Espana, the Orquesta de Camara de Madrid and the Piccola Opera Di Roma.