Dr. Zanaida Stewart Robles is a fierce advocate for diversity and inclusion in music education and performance. Authentic interpersonal connection and relationship-building are core principals of her teaching and performance methods. Born, raised, and educated in Southern California, she is in demand as a vocalist, conductor, clinician, and adjudicator for competitions, festivals, and conferences related to choral and solo vocal music. She serves on the national board of the National Association of Negro Musicians and is chair of the board of directors of Tonality, a non-profit organization that promotes peace, unity, and social justice through choral music performance in Los Angeles. She holds a doctor of musical arts degree from the USC Thornton School of Music, a master of music degree from California State University, Northridge, a bachelor of music degree from California State University, Long Beach, and she is a graduate of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA). Her music compositions are published by E.B. Marks Publishers with distribution through Hal Leonard Corporation.
As a performing arts instructor at Harvard-Westlake Upper School in Studio City, California, Dr. Robles conducts the Chamber Singers, Jazz Singers, Bel Canto Treble Choir, and Wolverine Chorus for tenors and basses. She is also the director of music at Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church in Pasadena, California, where she oversees the Neighborhood Chorus, Neighborhood Bells, and the new Neighborhood Youth Choir. Dr. Robles has served for five years as music director for Project Messiah with Street Symphony, an organization that engages communities directly affected by homelessness and incarceration in Los Angeles County through performances, workshops, and teaching artistry. While studying at USC, she conducted the USC Thornton University Chorus for two years. Prior to this, she worked at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts for seven years, where she was the director of classical choirs and taught vocal fundamentals, sight singing, and music theory. Under her direction, the LACHSA classical choirs performed for numerous festivals, concerts, and special events at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and in other venues throughout Southern California.
As a concert soprano soloist, studio vocalist for film and television, and professional ensemble singer, Dr. Robles has sung throughout the United States, and in parts of Europe, New Zealand, and Australia, performing professionally under the batons of such conductors as Gustavo Dudamel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, John Adams, John Mauceri, Charles Dutoit, Leonard Slatkin, Jeffrey Kahane, Grant Gershon, and Michael Tilson Thomas. She has performed background vocals for various artists including Josh Groban, the Rolling Stones, Andrea Bocelli, and Juanes. Her film and television credits include Glee, Tinkerbell: The Pirate Fairy, Godzilla, Minions, Creed, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Venom, Smallfoot, Frozen 2, and Underwater.