I am originally from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain). However, I’ve been residing in Newtownabbey, County Antrim, Northern Ireland for nearly 25 years.


My journey in music began at a young age, and I pursued my studies in Music and Piano at the ‘Conservatorio Superior de Musica de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’. As my skills developed, I delved into teaching both at a music school and through private lessons. Additionally, I had the privilege of collaborating with various instrumentalists and singers as a piano accompanist, contributing to concerts and weddings. Within this realm, I had the opportunity to perform alongside ensembles and choirs.


To further enrich my musical abilities, I dedicated myself to taking singing lessons and became a member of the choir of the ‘Conservatorio Superior de Música de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’.


In addition to my musical pursuits, I embarked on a parallel journey in academia. Alongside my musical endeavours, I pursued a degree in Telecommunications Engineering at the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Upon completion, a remarkable opportunity presented itself in the form of a scholarship at Queen's University in Belfast in 1997.


Following my studies, I ventured into the realm of software engineering, accepting a position in a mobile internet company in 1998. Over the course of approximately 14 years, I dedicated my skills to this field. While fully engaged in my professional career, I maintained a connection to my passion for music by providing piano lessons to friends and family on an informal basis. Additionally, I enjoyed the pleasure of casual music sessions with friends as part of a church group, ensuring that my musical abilities continued to flourish.

Understanding the importance of continuous growth and development, I actively sought ways to enhance my musicianship. To this end, I pursued online music courses in composition and music technology offered by esteemed institutions such as the Berklee College of Music and the Open University.


Throughout those 14 years, significant milestones unfolded in my personal life. I got married and became a proud parent to three girls. As they embarked on their own musical journeys in school, learning instruments like the violin, cello, and pursuing vocal training, I eagerly offered my services as their accompanist for school exams, festivals, and concerts. As word spread, I found myself accompanying other students and the school choir, eventually becoming an integral part of the school's music department as a devoted "parent helper."

Considering the importance of family time and the pursuit of my musical development, I made the decision to transition from my role as a Software Engineer. Instead, I opted to work part-time in my husband's company in an administrative capacity, granting me greater flexibility and allowing me to continue nurturing my passion for music.


Having a strong background in software engineering and computing has given me the ability to comprehend and adapt to emerging technologies and the dynamic shifts they bring to the world, such as social media and the internet. As a piano teacher and choir conductor, I recognise the importance of staying informed about technological advancements to leverage them effectively in my business.


Additionally, I have taken responsibility for maintaining websites and Facebook pages related to these events.

In 2019, I took a momentous step by establishing a small choir, the Jordanstown Chamber Choir, which I both conducted and accompanied. Shortly before the pandemic disrupted our lives in 2020, our choir merged with another ensemble, The Abbey Singers. I was their Musical Director from April 2022 to October 2023.


Also in 2020, I began taking advanced music theory and composition lessons, as well as participating in piano master classes led by Gareth Green who is my mentor and teacher and who I meet bi-monthly online.  I worked with him to prepare for my ARSM Performance Diploma exam which I passed with Distinction in 2021. These experiences have been further enriched by my membership in his Music Matters Maestro Group. Within this community, we share our musical creations and engage in monthly live streams featuring enlightening lessons by Gareth, covering a diverse range of topics such as composition, musical analysis, and the exploration of composers' lives and works.


As an avid advocate for continuous growth and learning, I am an active member of ‘The Curious Piano Teachers’, an exceptional online resource dedicated to piano tuition and pianism. This vibrant community allows piano educators to exchange their passion for teaching and share valuable insights as well as learning to improve your own piano skills.


I am a member of the' Association of British Choral Directors', an organisation developed to support everyone leading choral music.  


In March 2022, I resumed my piano and music theory lessons in my piano studio which had been on-hold due to the pandemic.

Between May 2022 and November 2023, I served as the Musical Director for the 'Abbey Singers NI,' a community choir based in Newtownabbey..


In June 2023, I assumed the role of ABRSM Honorary Local Representative (HLR) in Belfast, where my responsibilities involve overseeing the smooth execution of ABRSM's music exams and offering valuable assistance to ensure their success. I also establish a supportive network for local teachers and their students.

Also in June,  I completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Arts and Humanities with a specialisation in Music and English Language at the Open University.


In July 2023, I participated in a 4-day Early Music event in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain), run by 'Asociacion Muscantiqua', during which I learned and showcased my expertise in playing baroque music on a harpsichord using figured bass notation. This immersive experience allowed all participants to explore the captivating music of the period spanning from 1600 to 1750.


In August 2023, I participated in a 4-day piano masterclass in Belgium with Irina Lankova where I showcased my repertoire and took part in piano workshops.


Since October 2023, I work as a piano tutor in 'MusicFirstNI', an unincorporated association and registered charity whose aim is to keep our musical community thriving.


In January 2024, I became a member of the Belfast Philharmonic Choir, singing as an alto vocalist.


In February 2024, I joined the 'Sing Ireland' Musician Panel where, when opportunities arise, I work as a music facilitator and/or accompanist on projects and programmes that go from one-off workshops to regular engagements and residentials.


Annually, I actively engage in piano courses and masterclasses with the primary aim of enhancing my skills as a teacher, pianist, and choir conductor. Through these continuous learning opportunities, I strive to grow both personally and professionally in my musical pursuits.


I am currently a member of the 'Independent Society of Musicians' (ISM) which is the UK’s professional body for musicians and a nationally recognised subject association for music.


I am a qualified Vocal Health First aider through ‘Vocal Health Education’


I hold a current enhanced AccessNI certificate.

Cristina Santana, BA (Hons) ARSM MISM

"To learn music is to learn a new language"

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