Music Director

Walter Morales is in his eleventh season as the Music Director and Conductor of the Edgewood Symphony Orchestra. Morales served seven years as Assistant Director of Orchestral Studies at Carnegie Mellon University and Assistant Conductor of the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic. During his time at Carnegie Mellon University he prepared the Philharmonic for such conductors as Erich Kunzel, Sir Andrew Davis, Keith Lockhart, Peter Oundjian, David Effron, Thomas Baldner, and Juan Pablo Izquierdo. He has been a guest conductor with the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Philharmonic, University of Costa Rica Symphony Orchestra, Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, McKeesport Symphony Orchestra, Edgewood Symphony Orchestra, Helix New Music Ensemble, and the Rutgers Chamber Orchestra. In April 2005, Morales conducted the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as a finalist for the post of Assistant Conductor. In 2008, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh appointed him as Head of Music.

A champion of new music, Morales served as Music Director and Conductor of the Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Ensemble from 2003 to 2009. During his tenure CMCE performed over one hundred works and premiered over thirty new works. He has collaborated with such composers as John Adams, George Crumb, Richard Danielpour, Derek Bermel, Gary Schocker, Katherine Hoover, Mike Mower, Diefer Kieffer, Reza Vali, Nancy Galbraith, David Stock, Amy Williams, Roger Zahab, Eli Tamar, Leonardo Balada, and Zulema de la Cruz among others.

Equally at home in opera, Morales has conducted for Opera Theater of Pittsburgh Ullman’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis, Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle, Bolcom’s A View from the Bridge, Britten’s Noyes Fludde and Bizet’s Djamileh as well as their most recent productions of Menotti’s Amahl and The Night Visitors, Mozart’s The Impresario, and Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. He was chorus master and assistant conductor for Floyd’s Susannah and Bernstein’s Candide, and served as assistant conductor of Maestro Julius Rudel for the Pittsburgh premiere of Weill’s Die Burgschaft. His most recent collaboration as assistant conductor for OTP was for the first American production of Jonathan Dove’s chamber orchestra arrangement of Wagner’s Rhinegold, The Valkyrie, Siegfried, and Twilight of the Gods. Last season, Morales collaborated with composer John Adams on scenes from Nixon In China for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and was Music Director for a production of Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites at Carnegie Mellon University in collaboration with international stage director Elizabeth Bachmann. This past summer he was Assistant Conductor for a production of Gounod’s Faust with DaCorneto Opera of Chicago.

In addition to his commitments as a conductor, Morales is an active concert pianist. Last season, he performed Brahms’ First Piano Concerto with the University of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and conducted the world premiere performance of Roger Zahab’s Vioentelechron in the same program. Recent performances as both soloist and conductor included Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A major, K. 414 with the Carnegie Mellon Chamber Orchestra, and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the Edgewood Symphony Orchestra. He has performed as soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, Symphony Orchestra of Chile, Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic, Carnegie Mellon Wind Ensemble, McKeesport Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Mellon Virtuosi, Princeton Pro Musica, University of Costa Rica Symphony Orchestra, College of Charleston Symphony Orchestra, and the International Piano Series Orchestra.

As a recitalist, Morales has toured through out the United States, Central and South America. He has appeared at Severance Hall in Cleveland, Piccolo Spoleto Festival, International Piano Series, Rutgers SummerFest and at the Universities of Wisconsin, Florida, Youngstown, Duquesne, Pittsburgh and New York. In New York City he has performed at Steinway Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall and Lincoln Center. His commitment to the music of Latin American composers has led to engagements at the 1999 & 2000 International Music Festival “Semanas Musicales” of Frutillar in Chile and the Fifth & Ninth Seminars of Music Composition held in San José, Costa Rica.  In 2002, Morales performed the piano works of Alberto Ginastera at Chatham University, including a performance of the First Piano Sonata to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of its world premiere in the city of Pittsburgh and recently performed several recitals dedicated to the music of Brazil, Costa Rica and Argentina.

Morales is the foremost interpreter of Costa Rican music in the United States, having championed such contemporary composers as Alejandro Cardona, Eddie Mora, Vinicio Meza, Benjamin Gutierrez, Bernal Flores, Luis Diego Herra, Mario Alfagúell, William Porras, and Marvin Camacho as well as the entire piano works of Alejandro Monestel, Julio Fonseca and Félix Mata. In 2008, Morales premiered the Piano Sonata of Felix Mata and the Piano Album of Alejandro Monestel. During the summer of 2010, Morales traveled to Costa Rica to perform seven historic recitals of Costa Rican piano music, including a gala performance at the National Theater in San José, Costa Rica.

His first commercial recording featuring George Crumb’s Makrokosmos III: Music for a Summer Evening is available on Mode Records. In June 2007, this recording received the Diapason d’or, the highest phonographic award in France. Recent releases include “Small Bear, Large Telescope,” featuring several ensemble works by American composer Carson Cooman, “Season Within,” a premiere recording of selected works by composer Marilyn Taft Thomas, and the first recording of Tlanehuatl, Books I & II by Costa Rican composer Alejandro Cardona in the Quindecim label.

In great demand as a collaborative artist and rehearsal pianist, Morales has worked with such artists as Sarah Chang, Midori, Lior Eitan, Wissam Boustany, Gary Schocker, Walfrid Kujala, Alberto Almarza, Alexander Kerr, Michelle De Young, Cuarteto Latinoamericano, and with such conductors as Mariss Jansons, Sir Andrew Davis, Leonard Slatkin, Manfred Honeck, Gianandrea Noseda, David Robertson, and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. Morales worked for three consecutive years as staff accompanist for the National Flute Association Convention and as accompanist of the studio of Jeanne Baxtresser at Carnegie Mellon University.

A native of Costa Rica, Morales began his piano studies at age fourteen at the School of Music of the University of Costa Rica. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the College of Charleston and a Masters in Piano Performance from Rutgers University. His teachers include Maria Clara Cullell, Enrique Graf, and Ilana Vered. He has also studied with Marian Hahn, Maria Curcio Diamand, Nybia Mariño, Margarita Feodorova, and Marina Yung. Morales also holds a Masters and an Artist Diploma in Orchestral Conducting from Carnegie Mellon University, where he studied under the direction of Maestro Juan Pablo Izquierdo.

Visit Walter Morales’ website at