Dr. Gwyneth Bravo, PhD

Cello Teacher, Administrator

Gwyneth Bravo

SAA Member

Gwyneth Bravo is a cellist, music educator, and musicologist who has global leadership experience in higher education and in the non-profit sector as a founder and president. Bravo holds a Ph.D. in Historical Musicology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and she is an Assistant Professor of Music at NYU Abu Dhabi and a Global Assistant Professor at NYU in New York.

An experienced leader and advocate for the arts and music in education, Bravo was the founder, president, and executive director of several, US-based, non-profit organizations. As the appointed President of the Executive Board of Directors of the Suzuki Music Association of Los Angeles (the largest chapter in the US), she led the 600+ membership of the organization in the development of its strategic educational mission in service of communities throughout the Los Angeles region. This included the direction of annual instrument graduations for 400+ students at the Colburn School of the Arts and other sites throughout the Los Angeles area, oversight and hiring of 25+ teachers for the annual SMAC/LA Summer Institute, the development of scholarship programs for children and youth as part of community engagement, and the management of an endowment fund toward the development of the long-term viability and sustainability of the organization. In her role as President, she also worked closely with the board of directors to secure Claremont College as the new site for the SMAC/LA Summer Institute, which continues to serve over 100 children and youth from the Western United States annually.

Bravo’s commitment to providing access to music lessons and programs for underserved children and youth has been at the core of her work as a leader in the non-profit sector and as educator in diverse public school contexts in the state of California. As the Founder and Executive Director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Cello Program at the Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Sacramento, she received Artist in Schools and Neighborhood Arts Grants from the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission in the development of her non-profit music program that provided group and private cello lessons to children from the school and surrounding communities for a period of over 4 years. The program was the focus of local news coverage in the form of numerous articles and television programs, which highlighted the important role the program was playing in supporting and protecting children from the community in an afterschool school context.

Born in Los Angeles, Bravo began cello lessons at age twelve with Gretchen Geber. Her principle teachers were Yehuda Hanani at Peabody Institute of John Hopkins University and later Janet Horvath, Tanya Remenikova, and Andrew Luchansky. She holds an M.M. in Cello Performance from California State University, Sacramento, where she served as the Cello Instructor for the Community Music Division of the University for over 3 years while also performing professionally in regional orchestras and as the cellist in the university-based Cypress Piano Trio. Bravo completed her pedagogical training as a cellist under the direction of Nancy Yamagata, Pam Devenport, Jean Dexter, and Lorraine Fink at the Colburn School of the Arts, the Chicago Institute of Music, and Ithaca College. Additionally, she has a broad background in the field of education and also holds a state of California multiple-subject teaching credential in Cross-cultural, Language, and Academic Development (CLAD) with an additional specialization in music, which she earned from the Bilingual/Multicultural Education Department at California State University, Sacramento. Following her Fulbright Scholarship to Germany, Bravo returned to the USA, where she built a successful cello studio in Los Angeles over a ten year period. After completing her Ph.D. in Historical Musicology at the University of California, Los Angeles (2011), Bravo moved to the United Arab Emirates where she joined the faculty at NYU Abu Dhabi 2013 and, through her classes and research, has played a role in building the Music Program at NYUAD since that time.

In the USA and in the UAE, Bravo’s cello students have been winners and finalists in competitions such as the Kiwanis, the Los Angeles Cello Society Competition, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Young Artist Competition, the Junior Division of the Fischoff National Music Competition (Chamber Music, First Prize), the 2017 United Arab Emirates Best Young Musician of the Year Award (First Prize), and, most recently, the Winner of the 2021 Musivv Award for Best HomeGROWN Emirati Artist of the Year. In addition, Bravo’s work has provided the impetus for partnership with cultural and educational institutions in diverse global contexts. These include the Berlin-Los Angeles Villa Aurora, Archa Theater Prague, REZN8, the Orel Foundation, Los Angeles Opera, LA Opera-Opera for Educators, Sacramento Metropolitan Art Commission(SMAC), Education Through Music-Los Angeles (ETM-LA), the Suzuki Music Association of Los Angeles (SMAC-LA), Turath Ensemble-Los Angeles, the Abu Dhabi Educational Council (ADEC), the Department of Tourism and Culture’s Abu Dhabi Classics, Abu Dhabi Classic FM Radio, the UAE Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development-Piano Center, the UAE Young Artists Concerto Competition (YACOCO), the Al Ain Youth Festival-Competition: Gardens of Sheikh Zayed, Translucent Borders, Cambodian Living Arts, the German-American and Polish-American Fulbright Commissions, the American Musicological Society, the College Music Society. As a Fulbright alumna, she was nominated and then appointed to become a member of Global Diplomacy Lab (GDL) starting in 2023.

Bravo’s commitment to supporting the development of healthy and inclusive learning environments is reflected in her service as a member of the NYUAD Inclusion Equity and Action Committee (2021-2023) and her previous service as an elected member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (2019-2021). Most recently, as a task force member of the College Music Society Presidential Taskforce for Leading Change in Music in Higher Education (2021-2022), Bravo worked with colleagues from diverse institutions to conduct an 18-month-long examination of the state of the music profession in-and-out of the academy to develop a vision and strategies for leading change in music in higher education with a focus on diversity equity, inclusion and belonging.  Bravo lives in the UAE with her family and loves seeing her former students thriving professionally in the diverse pathways that they have taken with their music.