Head of the Music Department
Maestro Marlene Urbay was born in Havana, Cuba. She is the founder and music director of the Florida Chamber Orchestra (1995) and former Music Director of the National Ballet of Cuba (1982-1991). Urbay graduated from the Alejandro Garcia Caturla Conservatory in Havana. She graduated from the National School of the Arts (1980), where she specialized in piano and choral conducting and from the “Instituto Superior de Arte” in Havana (1985) with exceptional high honors in orchestral conducting.
After immigrating to the United States in 1991, Maestro Urbay was Assistant Conductor of the University of Miami Symphony Orchestra. She studied at the Manhattan School of Music and earned a Master’s Degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Miami School of Music in 1996.
Urbay has been a guest conductor at the Philharmonic Orchestra of Lima, Perú, Symphony Orchestra of Mexico D.F., Symphony Orchestra of Puerto Rico, Philharmonic Orchestra of Tokyo and Osaka, Japan; Symphony Orchestra Betica of Sevilla, Symphony Orchestra of Silecia, Poland, Opera and Ballet Orchestra in Prague, Czech Republic, Teatro de la Zarzuela, Liceo de Barcelona, and all the symphony orchestras in Cuba.
She was “Director Huesped” with the National Dance Company in Mexico, D.F. at the famous “Bellas Artes” theatre from 2004 to 2007. In October 2012, she was invited to conduct the orchestra at the prestigious XII Violin’s Festival Orchestra, Lima, Peru. In December 2011 she was invited to conduct the Nutcracker season with Ballet Concerto of Puerto Rico and in December 2013 she conducted the Nutcracker season at the San Jose Ballet in California with Silicon Valley Symphony Orchestra. In 2019 she was invited to the LUKAS Award Annual Gala in London, United Kingdom.
Maestro Marlene Urbay is the only Latin American woman conductor to earn a special award at Poland’s prestigious G. Fitelberg competition for international orchestra conductors and the first Cuban conductor awarded at an international competition. Throughout her career, Maestro Urbay has received numerous accolades. She has been recognized by I.C.C.A.S. University of Miami as part of “Grandes Leyendas Musicales” (November 2015), by the Mayor of the City of Miami honoring her extraordinary career as a Music Director, conductor and outstanding contributions to the world of music and the community (October 2015), and by the US Congress for her contribution and dedication to the advancement of Latin Music in the United States (April 2013). In addition, she has been recognized by The National Association of Professional Women (2009), Yahoo Hispanic (2008) “Hispana Triunfadora” in Mosaico Hispano, Pregones magazine for the development of Cuban music (2003), “Asociación de Mujeres Cubanas” (2003) “Hispana Triunfadora”, GEMS TV Women of the Year in the Music category (1999), First Annual Award Miami, and ACCA Best Performance of the Year for chamber music (1996). In 2000, she released her first CD, “Memories of Cuba” and in 2005, “Échale Salsita. She has been a member of the faculty at Miami-Dade Community College and head of the Music Department at Belen Jesuit Preparatory School. Maestro Urbay has led the Music Department at Conchita Espinosa Conservatory of the Arts for 25 years.