Maritza “Gioconda” Salcedo is the Co-Founder, President, and Director of Programs at the Almenar Otero Foundation in Miami, Florida. She was born on June 1st, 1958. Since her childhood, Maritza sang in the chorus of her school, where the nuns discovered her beautiful mezzo-soprano voice. At age 26, she decided to start music lessons, and attended to Carlos Almenar’s School of Talent. Recognizing her gift, Professor Almenar brought her to Germany for several months in 1982 to study Otto Iro’s technique with him and Professor Paula Scherk. Moreover, during this trip, Gioconda had the opportunity to recorded with the National Philharmonic of London, conducted by Frank Barber. The German composer Hans Blum wrote for her a song titled “Sueño Español”. After her apprenticeship in Germany, she returned to Venezuela to continue perfectioning her talented voice with El Maestro. A couple years later, a Venezuelan tourism company contracted her to become its brand ambassador in Germany.
As Vice president of the Almenar Otero Foundation, she organized
all the events of the Foundation in many famous concert halls around the country and in particular tributes to Master Alirio Diaz, world renowned guitarist (for his 50-year career anniversary), Master Hugo Blanco (famous Venezuelan composer), Italo Pizzolante, (famous Venezuelan Composer and pianist) amongst others and Master Carlos Almenar Otero himself.
By mid 1990s, Gioconda started to gain more recognition internationally. In 2000, the Venezuelan Minister of Tourism invited her to represent the country at the World Exposition Expo 2000 in Hannover, Germany.
In Miami, she has been a guest performer at the University of Miami’s Koubek Center and Florida International University’s Theater and the Manuel Artime Theater.
In addition to singing classical melodies, she also is a master in performing international evergreen songs. She has been the lead singer for Latin American UNITY (Miami, 2006-2009) and has performed as a special guest of Radio “La Poderosa” (Miami, 2010 -2012).
Gioconda expresses her spirituality through her music and composes soulful songs oriented towards personal growth. Combining her love of music with the spiritual, vibrational healing practice of Reiki (as a Reiki Master), she has created and organized therapeutical concerts for musical healing based on the “Mozart Effect” (the idea that listening to certain melodies improves brain development). Gioconda is a strong believer that, “while meditating, learning or relaxing, music can allow us to take control of our emotions and have spiritual peace.” In these concerts, she interprets some songs composed by Mozart, Schubert and Chopin, and other masterpieces that have been adapted for her beautiful voice. Actually Gioconda organizes two events in particular “Detox Song” and “Abre tu corazón cantando” (Open your heart singing).
She is also a music instructor for children, teenagers and young adults who also participate in the special events that she organizes through the Almenar Otero Foundation. These young singers perform in social venues and public and private events where they have the opportunity to express their talents. Of course, she continues using and teaching Carlos Almenar Otero’s Respiratory Vocal Physiological Training after having been his student and assistant in developing this technique. She is actually writing her own book on this matter.
Since she graduated as a Coach in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) in 2015, Gioconda has been developing a new area of activities with workshops integrating NLP lectures, musical therapy, and meditation. She has also received training in Events Management with Mrs. Maria Gomez, a well-known Venezuelan producer.