Rachel Taratoot Ciraldo
Rachel Taratoot Ciraldo is the principal flutist of the Baton Rouge Symphony and Meridian Symphony Orchestra. As the Development Coordinator of the Hattiesburg Concert Association and Coordinator of the Community and Educational Outreach Program at Southern Miss, she affects social and economic development in south Mississippi. From 2007-2013, she was Instructor of Flute at Southeastern Louisiana University from and has served as a visiting instructor of flute at both Louisiana State University and the University of Southern Mississippi. Rachel won Third Prize and the award for the Best Performance of the Newly Commissioned Work in the 2007 National Flute Association’s Young Artist Competition, and she won first prizes in the 2006 Byron Hester Flute Competition, 2002 James Pappoutsakis Memorial Flute Competition and the 1998 Flute Festival Mid-South Young Artist Competition. Rachel holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University where she studied with Thomas Robertello and Jacques Zoon and a Master of Music degree from Boston University where she studied with Marianne Gedigian. She has also studied extensively with Jill Felber and Amy Porter. Rachel is an active chamber musician and performs regularly with guitarist and husband, Nicholas Ciraldo, in Duo Cintemani, and in Lagniappe Trio, with harpist Stephanie Gustafson-Amfahr and violist Christopher Lowry.
Nicholas Ciraldo is a leader among his generation of American classical guitarists. Ciraldo pursues numerous solo, chamber, and concerto performances across four continents, now having played in such venues as the United States’ He is a full professor of the University of Southern Mississippi School of Music, in Hattiesburg, where he manages the guitar program. He has received several awards and grants, including the College of Arts and Letters’ Creative Activity Award, the Lucas Faculty Excellence Award, and the Mississippi Arts Commission’s Performing Artist Fellowship. Nicholas Ciraldo earned a Bachelor of Music from Indiana University at Bloomington, where he studied with Ernesto Bitetti. He earned a Master of Music with Honors and Distinction in Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with David Leisner. He earned a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Texas at Austin, as a three-year recipient of the “Freeman Fellowship,” and he studied with Adam Holzman. His doctoral research involved the “1928 Manuscript” of the Etudes for Guitar by Heitor Villa-Lobos. He has released three full-length recordings.
Having performed together for more than two decades, Nicholas and Rachel Ciraldo are a fun pair of musical talents with a reputation for being distinctive, expressive, and colorful. Early on, they were prizewinners at the 2004 National Flute Association Chamber Music Competition and semifinalists at the 2006 Gaettano Zinetti Chamber Music Competition in Italy. They trained with flutist Thomas Robertello, guitarists David Leisner, Eliot Fisk, and Adam Holzman, clarinetist Ethan Sloane, pianist Edward Auer, and the Shanghai String Quartet. They went on to perform at the Hampden-Sydney Music Festival, where the Richmond Times-Dispatch praised them for their “distinctive readings of the music of Astor Piazzolla” and the Center for Arts in Natick, where they wrote later that “you can’t get better than this!” Duo Cintemani has since performed at prestigious festivals and series such as the Boston Classical Guitar Society Guitar Festival, FestivalSouth, the Pelican State Chamber Series, the Lamar Chamber Series, the New York Guitar Seminar at Mannes, and several other series across the country. The duo has also been featured artists at the Simposio academico de violão, in Curitiba, Brazil. They have collaborated twice with the Community Partnerships Program of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and performed for the Austin Classical Guitar Society’s Educational Outreach Program, among other organizations.