Mexican-born Socrates Villegas was appointed second clarinet of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 2016 by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. His numerous awards include two consecutive first place prizes at the Mexican National Clarinet Contest (2003 and 2004), a First Prize at the 14th European Music Competition at Amiens, France (2008), Second Prize at the 2008 Young Artist Competition (International Clarinet Association), and First Prize at the Temple University Concerto Competition in 2015.
Mr. Villegas holds a Master of Music degree from Temple University, where he studied with Ricardo Morales, principal clarinet of The Philadelphia Orchestra; a unanimous first prize for excellent from the Versailles Conservatory in France, where he studied with Philippe Cuper, principal clarinet of the Paris Opera; a Bachelor of Music degree from the National Conservatory in Mexico City, where he studied with Marina Calva; and a New Horizon fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival and School, where he studied with Joaquin Valdepeñas, principal clarinet of the Toronto Symphony. Mr. Villegas has previously held positions with the Orchestre de la Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris, the Orquesta Filarmónica de Toluca, the Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería, and the Orquesta Filarmónica de la UNAM in Mexico City.
Mr. Villegas has a passion for teaching and empowering future generations of musicians with opportunities to study and perform. He is currently the founder and director of the Festival de Música de Coyotepec, a summer music festival and school in his hometown, Coyotepec, State of Mexico, Mexico. He plays on Zenit clarinets by A. Uebel, Germany.
Photo: Jessica Griffin