José Daniel Flores-Caraballo
Opalka Family Artistic Director
José Daniel Flores-Caraballo is a widely acclaimed conductor and musical director recognized for his artistry and integrity in stylistic performance of choral literature, his methodical and uncompromising approach to music learning, and his gifts as a patient and inspiring teacher. Dr. Flores-Caraballo brings that unique combination—along with an ambitious and energizing vision—to Albany Pro Musica (APM) as its Artistic and Executive Director, a role he has held since 2014.
As a trained organist as well as a celebrated orchestral and choral conductor, Dr. Flores-Caraballo brings an instrumentalist’s mentality to choral direction, placing strong emphasis on technical precision as the fundamental seed from which musical artistry can grow. He carried that sensibility to APM’s behind-the scenes operations as well, working with the board of directors to professionalize the group’s operations through the hiring of two full-time staff and leveraging the administrative staff of the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, where APM sits as chorus-in-residence. Dr. Flores-Caraballo joined Albany Pro Musica with the goal of building upon the group’s impressive and cherished legacy and elevating APM to be among the best choirs in the nation. His approach combines determinedly high expectations, unwavering dedication to the integrity of the music—whether it is a beloved classical masterpiece, a new work from a rising composer, or a popular song drawn from the world of Broadway or folk music—and the rare ability to build strong connections with audiences, creating intimate, transformative artistic experiences for performers and listeners alike.
Through Dr. Flores-Caraballo’s leadership, APM is pushing the boundaries of choral performance in the area, embracing challenging musical programming and innovative new national and international partnerships with world-renowned ensembles like Canadian Brass, the American String Quartet, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York City Ballet at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), the Vienna Boys Choir, New York City-based baroque ensemble ACRONYM, and the Puerto Rican chorus Camerata Coral. His plan for APM’s next three seasons includes the premieres of commissioned works by 2017-2020 composer-in-residence Ola Gjeilo; concerts in Boston, New York City, and Vermont; new civic events and partnerships; and the inaugural, week-long Pro Musica International Choir Festival in partnership with the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts at Queen’s University in Ontario, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), and in collaboration with Skidmore College and the University at Albany.
In his tenure at APM, Dr. Flores-Caraballo has introduced local audiences to challenging and bold choral repertoire, including Frank Martin’s a cappella Mass for Double Choir, the New York State premiere of the Requiem by Raymond Torres; entire concerts devoted to musical theater, innovative programs including art forms such as visual arts and dance, and a powerful multimedia presentation of Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace. Through APM’s composer-in-residence program launched in 2015, he has expanded the group’s library of commissioned works, sponsoring new compositions by celebrated local, national, and international composers including Steven Murray, Donald McCullough, and Ola Gjeilo.
Dr. Flores-Caraballo also serves as Conductor-In-Residence at the University at Albany (SUNY) and Chorus Director for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chorus, following the retirement of its founder, the preeminent composer and director, Maestro Robert DeCormier. He has prepared his choirs for prominent orchestral conductors, including Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Bramwell Tovey, Stéphane Dèneve, and Kensho Watanabe of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Andrews Sill of the New York City Ballet, David Alan Miller of the Albany Symphony Orchestra, and Anthony Princiotti of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra.
Dr. Flores-Caraballo came to the Capital Region from Vero Beach, Florida, where he was a musical force for more than a decade. There, he founded and directed three auditioned, community choral groups that transformed the musical landscape in the Treasure Coast: the Atlantic Symphonic Chorus, an intergenerational chorus that performs major choral works with orchestra; the Atlantic Schola Cantorum, a 24-member choir performing a cappella and accompanied chamber choral literature; and the Atlantic Children’s Chorale, a children’s chorus nationally known for its exceptional quality and mature sound. He also led the church music program at the Community Church of Vero Beach.
A native of Puerto Rico, Dr. Flores-Caraballo served as Dean of Academic Affairs at the Conservatory of Music founded by Pablo Casals in San Juan. He led prize-winning choral programs at San Ignacio and Maria Reina private schools as well as prestigious church music programs in Puerto Rico and the U.S. such as the Union Church of San Juan and the St. John’s United Methodist Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dr. Flores-Caraballo has studied under such highly regarded conductors as Helmuth Rilling, Don Moses, Fred Stoltzfus, Roselyn Pabón, and others. His organ teachers include Michael Farris at the University of Illinois; post-graduate studies and master classes with Anton Pauw at the St. Bravo Cathedral in Haarlem, Netherlands; Mme. Marie-Louise Langlais from the Paris Conservatory; James David Christie from the Oberlin Conservatory; and Todd Wilson from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Dr. Flores-Caraballo’s comprehensive training includes a Doctorate in Sacred Music with an emphasis on Choral and Instrumental Conducting from the Graduate Theological Foundation, a Master’s in Choral Conducting and Organ from the University of Illinois, and a Bachelor’s in Music Education and Instrumental Conducting from the Conservatory of Music in San Juan.
Dr. Flores-Caraballo is featured as a conductor and organist on numerous recordings, including several world premieres. He is a sought-after lecturer and has taken choral groups on tours throughout the U.S. and Europe. In a departure from his choral conducting career, Dr. Flores-Caraballo periodically joins his brother, Marcos Daniel, in a touring show titled “The Dueling Brothers.” With Flores-Caraballo on organ and Marcos on piano, the music aficionados celebrate a playful rivalry between instruments (and siblings) that evokes laughter while also delivering a challenging repertoire.
Dr. Flores-Caraballo and his wife Dharma live in Halfmoon with their cocker spaniel, Nala. Their grown children Frances, Carlos, and daughter-in-law Connie are glad to call New York their second home.