César Leal, Artistic Director

Dr. César Leal holds a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Kentucky, a Bachelor’s degree in music performance from Javeriana University in Bogotá, Colombia, and a Master’s in instrumental conducting from Florida International University.  Dr. Leal is currently the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra at The University of the South where he also teaches courses in musicology. Additionally, he serves as a member of both the faculty and the artistic advisory committee of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival.

Leal’s activities as a Conductor and Musicologist often intersect.  In September 2013, in collaboration with the Lexington Ballet, he directed a full-stage production devoted to Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes.  He has led ensembles across the U.S., Panama, Colombia, France, and the Ukraine. He has recorded works by several Latin American composers and has presented scholarly papers in the U.S., Canada, Greece, Japan, Italy, France, England, Peru, Colombia, and Switzerland. An advocate of young musicians, Leal often teaches conducting workshops and acts as a guest clinician with youth orchestras in the U.S. and abroad.

Nikolasa Tejero, Production Director


Nikolasa Tejero is Associate Professor of Clarinet and Woodwind Area Coordinator at The University of Tennessee–Chattanooga, where she also coaches chamber music and researches Latin American music traditions (in 2014, Scholars’ Press published her book Music and Culture: Folklore in Cuban Clarinet Music). An active performer, lecturer, and clinician, Dr. Tejero has presented at conferences and festivals across four continents, including the International Clarinet Association’s ClarinetFest®, College Music Society, Spoleto USA, International Music Festival, Southeastern Composers League, and the New Dischord Festival, among others.  Celebrated for her engaging programs, she appears regularly as recitalist and soloist.  The Post and Courier, (Charleston, SC) has described her playing as “…[possessing] technical and musical mastery…rhythmic and expressive flavor.” A proponent new music, she has premiered many compositions written for her (including multiple works by Mario Abril, Gary Nash, Tim Hinck, Peter Temko, and Harvey Stokes).  Tejero is a member of Carl Fischer Music’s Trade Winds Recording Ensemble, which records annually the publisher’s newly-released compositions.

Dr. Tejero is an advocate for the arts as a vehicle to effect positive change in our communities. To this end, she has created events like the River City Clarinet Winter Festival, which during its five-year run drew participants to Chattanooga from across the US.  More recently, she has partnered with the Chattanooga Public Library to create Symphonic Tales, a music-and-literacy program for young children, now in its fourth season.