Conductor, violist and composer, born 2 June 1962 in Fortaleza, Brazil.
Florêncio studied at the Minas Gerais University in Belo Horizonte and honed his skills at master courses in Brazil, The Juilliard School of Music in New York, the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna and the Music Academy in Warsaw. He graduated with honours from the Academy in Warsaw, having studied conducting with Henryk Czyż. After that he was a viola concertmeister in the Minas Gerais Symphony Orchestra in Belo Horizonte and the Bahia Symphony Orchestra in Salvador as well as giving concerts and recitals.
Upon his move to Poland in 1985, Florêncio embarked upon a range of conducting activities as a guest conductor of numerous symphonic and chamber concerts and opera and ballet productions in Poland, Europe, North and South America, and Asia.
His Polish appointments have included the positions of the resident conductor of the Grand Theatre in Łódź, music director at the State Opera in Wrocław, general and artistic director of the Orchestra and Choir of the Polish Radio and Television in Krakow, conductor at the Grand Theatre - National Opera in Warsaw (from 1991), music director of the Grand Theatre in Poznań (1995-97) and the general and artistic director of the Poznań Philharmonic (1998-2004). He was part of a number of tours with the Poznań musicians and participated with them in Polish and international music festivals. Florêncio has also worked with numerous orchestras, such as the National Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Radio, Sinfonia Varsovia, Israel Symphony Orchestra, Braunschweig Orchester, Beethoven Halle Orchester, Berliner Kammerorchester, Orquestra Clássica do Porto, Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de São Paulo, Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira and Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra. The singers and instrumentalists with whom he has worked have included, respectively, Ewa Podleś, Paata Burchuladze, José Cura, Gegan Grigorian, Andrzej Dobber, Olga Pasiecznik, Małgorzata Walewska, and Julian Rachlin, Dimitri Sitkovesky, Antonio Menezes, Ivan Monighetti, Dang Thai Son, Nelson Goerner, Garrick Ohlsson, Evgueni Buschkov and Konstanty Andrzej Kulka.
José Maria Florêncio's artistic achievements include many world premieres of contemporary works, notably of Mikis Theodorakis's opera Electra, Marta Ptaszyńska's cantata Holocaust as well as of music dedicated to him personally by Polish, French, Israeli and Brazilian composers. His many recordings include the one of Jacques Bondon's and Henri Tomasi's concertos for clarinet and orchestra, performed with the Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra, for DUX label. It received the top French phonographic award - the five diapasons - and was named the Record of the Year 2004.
Florêncio's achievement has been recognised with many other awards and distinctions, including the Srebrna Łódka (Silver Boat), which he received twice for the best theatre productions of the year, Giuseppe Verdi's Ernani (1992) and Pietro Mascagnini's Cavalleria Rusticana (1993), both produced at the Grand Theatre in Łódź; the São Paulo Music Critics' Award for the best conductor of the year 1992; and the prestigious Sereia de Ouro (1997) of the Brazilian Globo Television.
Florêncio has led master courses at the Moscow Conservatory.
He is presently a conductor with the Orquestra Sinfonica do Teatro Municipal de São Paulo and acting artistic director of the Opera Bałtycka in Gdańsk.
Author: Małgorzata Kosińska, Polish Music Information Center, Polish Composers' Union, June 2008.