Maria 'Pia' Ugarte is the Founder and Director of The Ugarte Studio as well as the Founder and Artistic Director of the performing arts organization known as Voices and the female vocal band Zaphyra.
Ms. Ugarte's music career started in Peru under the tutelage of Maestro Manuel Cuadros Barr, Founder and Artistic Director of "Camerata Vocale Orfeo" and Artistic Advisor to the President of the Republic of Peru. Encouraged by her first mentor, she moved to New York were she continued her vocal studies at The Juilliard School and NYU. She continued to coach opera under Maestro Vincent La Selva, Founder and Artistic Director of New York Grand Opera, winning an apprentice scholarship with the company and further performing in many of the company's concerts at Carnegie Hall and fully staged opera productions in Central Park. Her association with the company now covers over two decades.
In 1996, Ms. Ugarte moved to Atlanta where she has continued performing and is glad to contribute to the artistic life of The Southern Crescent. In addition to her career in music, she continues to act, write, and produce. In 2010, she completed the filming of "Angel's Wings" in the role of Ms. Linda and is currently working on a combined recording and writing project titled 'Songs for Eli' composed by Lithuanian pianist, Inna Satunovsky.
The Ugarte Studio was established in 1996 and has been serving the Southern Arc providing high quality of instruction in music and performance. Studio members and graduates are consistently seen performing leads and placing and winning in international, national and local competitions. In certain instances where multiple studio members have participated, 40 percent of winners and finalists have belonged to the studio. Many studio members go ahead to pursue professional careers in performing and music and are accepted to institutions of higher learning with honors and scholarships.
The studio's summer program has allowed members to experience performing with organizations like New York Grand Opera in Central Park as part of their fully-staged productions under the baton of world-acclaimed Maestro Vincent La Selva. Through this program, students have had access to private master classes with the likes of Maestro La Selva and Dianna Heldman, Associate Director of Vocal Performance at NYU's Steinhart School. Additionally, studio members audition and are accepted to prime performing arts organizations as the Spivey Hall Children's Choir, New York Grand Opera, and the Atlanta Opera where 4 out of the 12 members of the children's choir belong to The Ugarte Studio.
Ms. Ugarte is the Performing Arts Reviewer for Examiner.com and has contributed to Diario "El Comercio" in Peru as Cultural Correspondent. She is a member of MTNA/GMTA, NATS, and The Recording Academy, as well as an adjudicator for the Shuler-Hensley Awards (Atlanta Chapter of the High School Musical Theater Awards.)