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B i o g r a p h y

Baritone JOE , aka José Luis Maldonado is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Vocal Performance at Michigan State University, and will be returning as an Emerging Artist at ÓperaMaya and as a Renée Fleming Fellow at the Aspen Music Festival this Summer 2023.


José Luis Maldonado, Jr. was born in Montebello, California and grew up in the city of Whittier. He began his musical studies at age 8 as a saxophonist. He did not begin singing until he was 19 years of age, when he studied Bel Canto with world class soprano, Ann Gresham.​

"In the words of Lotte Lehmann, It is 'more than singing'; we present our souls to the world through our instrument with words, music and body language. As an artist, I always want to create beauty and profundity through my singing."

Maldonado has been awarded music scholarships at Cerritos and Rio Hondo College, as well as, California State University, Fullerton. José is a member of the Los Angeles Opera College Advisory Committee and has performed in several LA Opera Masterclasses.  He is a proud member of the professional ensemble, project ERANOS. He was recently the winner of the New Century Singers young Artist Competition and was in Boston as a finalist for Classical Singer Magazine's Audition Plus Competition.  José has also toured for schools (k-12) across Southern California performing " Songscapes on Tour," under the direction of  Ann Gresham. In the Vocal Performance program at CSUF along with his merit scholarship, he received the Jane Smith Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship Award and the Opera Award. At CSUF he has performed as Dr. Falke in Johann Strauss’  Die Fledermaus in 2014.  His second operatic role was as Baron Mirko Zeta in The Merry Widow, by Franz Lehar,  in February, 2015. In March 2015, he presented his first professional recital in the city of Whittier titled: “Dulce et Decorum est…” alongside soprano, Kristin Kenaston. In April he performed the role of il Marito in G.C. Menotti’s Amelia Goes to the Ball. Mr. Maldonado went to Italy joining the Assisi Performing Arts Festival in June/July 2015 as a baritone soloist. In April 2016, he peformed the role of JJ Peachum in Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera After his senior recital in May, Jose graduated with BM in Vocal Performance from the Cal State Fullerton School of Music. José completed his graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music where he earned a Master's of Music degree under the tutlelage of  Mailtand Peters. 

At the Manhattan School of Music he performed the role of Haraschta in Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen and the role of
Kalmán Zsupán in the main stage production of
Die Zigeunerbaron by Johann Strauss II in 2017. He recently has performed the roles of Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, by W.A. Mozart in March
2018 and the role of Don Magnifico in Rossini’s
La Cenerentola in April 2018. In July he performed the title role of Falstaff in Falstaff, by Giuseppe Verdi for the Martina Arroyo
Foundation’s Prelude to Performance Opera Festival in New York City. José has performed the role of Poncio Pilatos in the opera  
El Caminante de Nazaret by Rafael Grulloón with the Mimesis Ensemble in New York City.  He has performed with OperaMaya in Cancun Mexico and the iSing Festival in China in the summer of 2019, where he also sang the role of Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen with the Missouri Symphony.  Maldonado performed La Cenerentola as he reprised the role of Don Magnifico with the Opera Buffs Inc. in December 2019.

He made his operatic comeback after a long pandemic, and also reprised Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte with The Opera Next Door in Brooklyn, NY back in May 2021.

Maldonado has been reviewed by Opera News as a "seemingly unlimited baritone", and he is a recipient of the
Opera Buffs Inc. Career grant and was recently awarded the

Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation. He was also a proud member of the  Holland Community Opera Fellowship with Opera Omaha in the fall of  2018.  In 2019, he was a Metropolitan Opera Competition Winner in the state of Nebraska.  In 2020, he was a finalist in the Tenor Viñas Competition in Barcelona, Spain. In 2021,  he won the Audience  Prize in the Opera Ithaca International Competition, and is currently in the Semi-Finals of the Vincerò International Competition as well as a Finalist in the Mario Lanza Legend Competition, taking place in September in Parma, Italy.

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