Born in Vitória da Conquista, Brazil, Ricardo Castro is the creator and director of NEOJIBA – State Youth and Children’s Orchestra Centres. Ricardo established himself in Europe in 1984, where he studied piano with Maria Tipo and Dominique Merlet and conducting with Arpad Gerecz. He won prizes at the ARD competition in Munich in 1987 and the Geza Anda competition in Zurich in 1988 and became a widely recognized international pianist after winning the 1st prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition. Ricardo Castro started playing the piano aged three and began his music studies at the age of five with Esther Cardoso at the Music School of the Federal University of Bahia (UFBa), an extraordinary accomplishment at that young age. After three years he made his début in a solo recital and as a 10-year old he played as a soloist with the Symphonic Orchestra of UFBa. Ricardo has performed in many prestigious concert halls such as Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Vienna’s Musikverein, the Theatre de Champs Elysées in Paris and with renowned orchestras such as Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, BBC London Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the Symphonic Orchestra of the State of São Paulo. Ricardo Castro has been teaching at the Haute École de Musiquede Lausanne in Switzerland since 1992 and since 2005 he puts all his efforts into integration and social development initiatives in Brazil and has created many new opportunities for children and young people. Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Youth Orchestra of Bahia since its foundation in 2007, Ricardo Castro became in 2013 the first Brazilian to receive the Honorary Membership of the Royal Philharmonic Society which since its beginning in 1826 has only been awarded 131 times in recognition of important services to music. Among the celebrated names on the list are Brahms, Wagner, Tchaikovsky and Aaron Copland.