Director of Orchestras
Degrees and Certifications:
Mr. Gabriel Balderrama
Mr. Balderrama, (Mr. B), is a college graduate from the University of Texas at San Antonio earning his bachelor’s degree in Music Studies with an emphasis in music education. Mr. B started playing the violin in the 5th grade and has continued to do so for the last 24 years. He was a previous member of Judson High School’s Honor Orchestra (2005-2008) UTSA’s Symphony Orchestra and UTSA’s Opera Orchestra (2008-2014). Most recently, he has been a guest artist with Angelo State University’s Symphony Orchestra, playing viola. (2018-2019) While attending college, Mr. B was a part of UTSA’s String Project, a teacher training program serving as both a teacher and student director, for six years and taught an after-school strings program at Krueger Elementary in San Antonio’s Northside Independent School District.
From 2015-2019, Mr. B was the head orchestra director of Lee Middle School in San Angelo, Texas. Under his leadership, the students earned many recognitions and awards including: 2017 UIL Superior Stage Rating, 2017 Bluebonnet Classic Superior Rating/Outstanding Performance, 2018 Bluebonnet Classic Superior Rating, 2019 UIL Sweepstakes, and 2019 Soundwaves Festival Superior Rating/ Best in Class/Best in Festival. The Lee Middle School Symphony under Mr. B’s direction was invited by Tarpley Music Company to perform at their annual Fiddle Fest in store during the 2018 and 2019 school years, their performances were streamed live on social media. Mr. B also coached a student in his program to audition and perform for the Worldstrides Honor Performance Series, an invitation-only 8th grade composite orchestra made up of students from all around the world at Carnegie Hall in New York City back in 2019. Previously, Mr. B served as the Vice-President of the Concho Valley Youth Orchestra in San Angelo, Texas, helping to run the organization, act as a sectional coach to various sections within the orchestra and conducted repertoire.
As the director of the San Marcos High School Orchestra, Mr. B has led the orchestra program to UIL Sweepstakes in the 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 school years, and many orchestra students have qualified and earned superior ratings at UIL Area and UIL Texas State Solo and Ensemble. The orchestra program also had several students make placement in both the TMEA Region 12 Philharmonic and Symphony orchestras, a composite orchestra made up of the best orchestra students in the greater San Antonio area, including San Marcos High School’s first All State orchestra member back in February 2022. This past year, the San Marcos High School Chamber and Philharmonic orchestras won Superior Ratings, Outstanding Performance Rewards, Outstanding Soloists, and a Best in Festival trophy from American Classic’s Big D Classic Festival in Dallas, Texas. Mr. B has also had the honor of being invited multiple times to serve as a clinician for the Angelo State University Summer Music Camp by Orchestra Professor, Dr. Fagner Rocha. (2021-present)
As an active member of the American String Teachers Association, Texas Music Educators Association and the Texas Orchestra Directors Association, Mr. B is always on the forefront of learning new and exciting ways to teach students not only music, but to be future role models in society. Mr. B is currently serving a term of 2 years as the TMEA Region 12 Orchestra Chairman, his duties include: oversee all TMEA orchestra/mariachi activities and auditions within Region 12, hire clinicians for Region activities, and organize the annual December TMEA Region 12 Orchestra Clinic and Concert.
In his free time, Mr. B loves learning new music on the violin, viola and playing his electric bass. He dabbles in composing and arranging music for orchestra as well! Mr. B is also an avid fan of video games, basketball, and pro wrestling. (Ask him about Destiny 2 loadouts, how to optimize a Biotic character in the Mass Effect Trilogy, and why Mick Foley is the greatest “unsung hero” of pro wrestling.
Philosophy for the San Marcos High School Orchestra Program
I want to pass on the love of music that I hold near and dear to my heart to my students so they can go out and have fun making and listening to music as much as I do. When enrolled in the orchestra program, you will learn several integral lessons that you can use in your everyday life such as discipline, the value of hard work, having a positive outlook, responsibility, uniformity, being a role model etc. through these main points:
- Develop a sense of importance of music in the life of each student
- Develop self-confidence and self-discipline in each student through positive interaction with teachers and peers
- Develop the musical potential of each student to the fullest
- Develop student understanding of stylistic traits of different periods of music
- Develop self-expression and creativity through practice and performance
- Develop the highest possible standards of performance for each student in the program
- Learn proper concert etiquette through participation in and attendance at live performances
- Develop the ability to work in a group as a team for a common goal
- Represent our school and community in a positive manner
Through these main goals, I hope that all my students not only become great musicians, but learn the qualities of how to be a good person and a future leader in our society.