Carmen Flórez-Mansi, choral director
Carmen Flórez-Mansi, a native of New Mexico, currently serves as the Pastoral Associate for Music at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. Since 1989, she has performed as a vocal artist, choral conductor, vocal instructor and liturgy specialist throughout the Southwest, including solo appearances with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale and The Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra & Chorus. Carmen is also the Director of the St. Michael’s High School Choral Arts Society, which she founded in 2014. Under her direction, this advanced 42-member chorus won the New Mexico Music Educators 2017 State 4A Choral Championship, which took place at Cleveland High School in Albuquerque. In just their third year, this was the Choral Arts Society’s first year competing in state finals.
For the last several years, Carmen has been Choral Director for The Symphony’s annual November performances of Handel’s Messiah at The Lensic and “Carols & Choruses” at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in December. She was Children’s Chorus Master and Vocal Coach for the return production of Shoes for the Santo Niño at the Santa Fe Opera. She founded the St. Cecelia Institute for Liturgical Arts for children as well as her private vocal studio, Mariposa, in 2010. In 2012, she and her family moved to Napa, California, where she accepted a position as the Director of Liturgy & Music at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church & School. During this period, she was also the Director of Development & Donor Relations for the San Francisco-based early music group American Bach Soloists.
Carmen made her debut at New York’s famed Carnegie Hall as choral conductor for its Father’s Day concert on June 18, 2017, performing Mass of the Children by John Rutter. This was not her first appearance at Carnegie Hall, however: In 2007, she and 55 members of the Cathedral Chorus performed Messiah at the theater. That year, she released a recording of sacred psalms titled “Salmos de mi Alma.” In 2016, she returned to Carnegie Hall with nearly 100 Santa Fe singers—most of them from the Cathedral Chorus—to conduct Magnificat under the direction of Dr. David R. Thye. She and her choristers were later honored with an invitation to join the Sistine Chapel Choir in November of that year for the Closing Mass of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, celebrated by His Holiness Pope Francis, at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
From 2008 to 2010, Carmen led the Cathedral Basilica in an 18-month liturgical and musical celebration of the 400 Years of Faith in New Mexico Quarto Centennial events, which included the visit of the Spanish Royal Family. She has hosted and served as choral conductor and liturgist for events at the Cathedral Basilica, such as Vesper Service for the Papal Nuncio and 285 members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. She has also served as a plenum speaker and clinician in the areas of sacred music and liturgy for the Southwest Liturgical Conference, Hispanic Pastoral Musicians Conference and National Pastoral Musicians Conference.
Carmen and her husband Tom have two sons, Thomasluke and Estevan.