Angelica Durrell, Founder and Executive Director, is an Ecuadorian-born violinist, educator and social entrepreneur. She began her musical studies at the National Conservatory of Music in Quito at age six, continuing them in the Norwalk Public Schools under the direction of her father, David Durrell. She was concertmaster of the Norwalk Youth Symphony and first violinist at the Chamber Music Institute for Young Musicians, in Stamford, CT.
She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from the University of Connecticut, which awarded her a full talent-based scholarship from the Louis and Sylvia Lazar Endowment for the Arts. She has studied violin with Julie Rosenfeld, Theodore Arm, Asya Meshberg, and Stephen Clapp, and conducting with James Sinclair and Kenneth Kiesler from the University of Michigan and the Conductor’s Retreat at Medomak, Maine.
She was a guest concertmaster of the Ecuadorian National Conservatory Symphony Orchestra and performed with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ecuador under the baton of Andrea Vela. UConn’s Center for Undergraduate Research and the United States Embassy in Quito, Ecuador, funded her 2010 research trip to Ecuador, which led to the first international tour of the university’s Collegium Musicum Ensemble, of which Durrell was the Artistic Assistant. In 2015, she was invited to perform for Pope Francis on his first visit to Latin America at St. Francisco Church in Quito, Ecuador. There she joined renowned indigenous musician, Jesús Fichamba, in a quichua rendition of a song celebrating the Pope’s visit.
She was a faculty member of the Chamber Music Institute for Young Musicians in Connecticut. In 2010, she co-founded a pilot strings project at the Hall Neighborhood House in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where she taught violin, and then went on to work with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.
She is a recipient of the Sphinx Organization’s inaugural MPower Artist Development Grant, is an alumna of its 2007 Sphinx Performance Academy, and served as the Assistant Dean of the Sphinx Performance Academy at Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio and Roosevelt University in Chicago. Sphinx Organization President and Founder Aaron Dworkin, a 2005 MacArthur Fellow and President Barack Obama’s first nominee for the National Council for the Arts, has been Durrell’s mentor since 2007.
She has attended the American Express Leadership Academy in New York City. In 2014, she became the first person from Connecticut to be accepted into the Advocacy Leadership Institute hosted by the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) in Washington, D.C. In 2016, she was accepted into NALAC’s Intercultural Leadership Institute. Her leadership has been recognized by the National Assembly of Ecuador, which awarded her the Immigrant Women Award and named her a cultural ambassador between the cities of Riobamba (Ecuador) and Norwalk (Connecticut). She is an Artist Ambassador for SpreadMusicNow and became the first Latina to be appointed to the inaugural Arts and Cultural Commission for the City of Stamford.
She has served on local and national art grants panels, including the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts and Regional Initiative Arts Grants, Greater Hartford Arts Council, and Stamford Public School Extended School Hours grant. She has had speaking engagements at the University of Michigan, Princeton University’s Keller Center for Social Entrepreneurship and at the University of Connecticut.