Having been hailed by a critic as "a phenomenon who is without doubt already one of the finest cellists on the world stage today", the young virtuoso cellist Santiago Cañón Valencia has established himself as one of the most exciting new musical talents.
Born in 1995 in Bogotá Colombia, he commenced studies at the age of 4 with his mother, Rocío Valencia and the polish cellist Henryk Zarzycki, and gave his first concerto performance with the Bogotá Philharmonic at the age of 6. At an early age he had many performances with major orchestras, including the Haydn D Major Cello Concerto at age 9, the Dvorak Cello Concerto at age 12, and the Shostakovich Cello Concerto at age 14.
Santiago moved to New Zealand in 2007 to study with the American cellist, James Tennant, and received his Bachelor of Music Soloist Specialization from the University of Waikato with the highest honors in 2012. He was also received a Hillary Medal for Outstanding Achievers, and the Creative and Performing Art Person of the Year Award 2012
Since 2007 he has performed over 100 recitals around the Pacific region with pianist Katherine Austin. He has won major prizes at every international cello competition he has entered including the 2006 Carlos Prieto in México, the 2009 Adam International Cello Competition in New Zealand, the first prize at the 2011 Gisborne International Music Competition in New Zealand, the second prize at the 2012 Johansen International String Competition in Washington D.C, the top prize given at the 2010 Beijing International Cello Competition in China and recently, the best performer of the Cassado work at the III Gaspar Cassado International Violoncello Competition in Hachioji, Japan, Nov/Dec 2013, the first prize in Lennox International Young Artist Competition in Richardson, Dallas, Texas, January 11 of 2014, winner of the String Division at the SMU General Concerto Competition on 25th of January of 2014 and Second Prize at the Lynn Harrel Concerto Competition, April 2014.
Since 2011, Santiago has been sponsored by the Mayra and Edmundo Esquenazi Scholarship through the Salvi Foundation and one of his cellos was gifted to him by renowned Chilean-born cellist Andres Diaz. Santiago is very fond of new music and was responsible for the NZ premiere of the Gulda Cello Concerto with the Auckland Chamber Orchestra.
At the age of 16, Santiago finished recording his first CD which consists of 20th Century works for solo cello by Cassadó, Ginastera, Ligeti and Kodaly. The CD was released in January of 2013 and has been acclaimed internationally.
Prokofiev Sinfonia Concertante Op. 125 II Mov:
Santiago Cañón V (18) Winner of the SMU General Concerto Competition String Division.
Meadows Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Paul Phillips. Caruth Auditorium, May 4th, Dallas, Texas 2014.