After finishing her two-year tenure as Studio Artist at the prestigious Houston Grand Opera Studio, as well as the Merola Opera Program of the San Francisco Opera, Ana Maria Otamendi is now the Head Vocal Coach of the Moores Opera Center at the University of Houston. During the summers, she is Head Coach and Conductor for the Franco American Vocal Academy in Salzburg and France (FAVA). She also founded the Octave Illusion Ensemble, a Houston-based two pianists and two percussionists quartet encompassing three continents and four countries. The ensemble is devoted to arranging, performing and promoting repertoire usually reserved for large orchestral settings, in an effort to bring contemporary music to a wider audience.
Since her orchestral debut at age twelve, Ana María has performed as a soloist and collaborative pianist at important venues and with renowned orchestras in Austria, Panama, Brazil, the United States, Spain, Italy, and Venezuela. She has won First Prize at all the major Venezuelan piano competitions, as well as the University of South Carolina Concerto Competition and the Ouro Branco Festival Competition (Brazil). She is also a regular guest, as performer and teacher, at different Universities in the US such as the University of Michigan, University of Texas at Austin, University of Minnesota, Bemidji State University and the University of South Carolina. Ana María holds a Master’s degree in piano performance from the University of Wisconsin, an Artist Certificate from the University of South Carolina, and a Doctorate in collaborative piano from the University of Michigan, where she studied with renowned pianist Martin Katz.
She was principal keyboardist of the Venezuelan Symphony Orchestra (2007–08) as well as assistant professor at the University of Musical Studies in Caracas. Besides her musical training, Ana María is fluent in English, Spanish, French, and Italian, and also a Geophysical Engineer. Her thesis was published in the prestigious journal Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors.