Director of String Ensembles
Daniella Valdez is CYSO Director of String Ensembles and conducts CYSO’s Preparatory Strings and Accelerando Strings ensembles. She received her musical training at Texas Tech University and Northwestern University School of Music, where she received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees respectively.
In 2011 Ms. Valdez joined the faculty staff at Maine West High School, in Des Plaines, Illinois, as the Director of Orchestras. In this capacity she conducts one full orchestra, two string ensembles and teaches piano classes. Prior to her appointment at Maine West, Ms. Valdez was an orchestra director at Elm Place Middle School in Highland Park, IL. Her career as a music educator and conductor has led to developing strong and successful orchestra programs. Ms. Valdez is an active judge and clinician working with community schools, festivals and workshops and has written several publications for music education journals. She is an active member of the Illinois Educators Association and she sits on the board of the American String Teachers Association’s Illinois chapter. In addition to her work with orchestras, she is also active in various diversity, equity and inclusion committees. Her work was recently featured on a WGN-TV Chicago segment for Hispanic Heritage Month. Earlier in the year she was also awarded CYSO’s Note of Excellence Award at the 2023 Gala: Women in Music in recognition of her work as an educator and her many years of service to CYSO.
Ms. Valdez has performed with several ensembles in Texas and in surrounding areas of Chicago including the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, the Abilene Symphony Orchestra, the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, the University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Evanston Symphony Orchestra. Also an accomplished commercial player, she has performed on stage with Chuck Mangione, Marvin Hamlish, Toni Tennille, and John Pizzarelli. Daniella lives in Chicago and enjoys traveling, cooking and being with family and friends.
What is the first album/CD/cassette you ever bought?
The first album I ever purchased was Michael Jackson’s, Thriller. The first CD I ever purchased was “The Best of Vivaldi”! Hahaha!!
What is your favorite musical memory from when you were young?
One of my favorite musical memories from when I was younger is the music we would listen to on road trips with my family. We listened to mostly Spanish music and we all knew every word of every song.