Rena Urso enjoys a flourishing career as a freelance orchestral and chamber musician all over California. In addition to being on the faculty at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University Long Beach and California State University Stanislaus, she is the Second Flutist of the Oakland Symphony and the Oregon Coast Music Festival Orchestra. Rena is the former Piccoloist of the New York City Opera National Company (1999 & 2000) and San Francisco Opera’s Western Opera Theater (2000-2019).
A regular substitute/extra with many of the orchestras throughout California including the San Francisco Opera, Pacific Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Monterey, Marin, Santa Rosa, Berkeley, Modesto, Sacramento, and California Symphonies, Pageant of the Masters Orchestra, Carmel Bach Festival, and Festival Mozaic, Rena has also performed with the Seattle Symphony, American Ballet Theater, Bolshoi Ballet, Mark Morris Dance Group, Hawaii Symphony, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. A versatile musician who records for video games, television, radio, and film, Rena also performs with the national tours of Wicked and Phantom of the Opera.
As a Licensed Body Mapping Educator, Rena presents workshops and masterclasses all over the world, as well as the course she created at CSULB, Body Mapping for the Performing Artist. Her popular monthly column in The Flute View covers a myriad of topics related to injury prevention and musician wellness. Rena is also a RYT-200 certified yoga teacher and certified meditation teacher.
During the time of COVID, Rena has participated in many virtual performances, recording projects, and teaching collaborations including an outstanding new resource for the piccolo, Practice with the Experts Piccolo Edition, the immensely successful weekly workshops, Practice the Piccolo, and a regularly occurring series of workshops, Crafting the Beautiful Etude, focusing on Use of Self as it applies to the study and performance of standard flute etudes. Additionally, in early 2021 the dynamic new online International Piccolo Flute Academy launched. This extraordinary new resource is filled with performance and instructional videos as well as a variety of other helpful tools presented by nine of the finest piccolo players and pedagogues from all over the world. Rena is delighted to be a part of this elite international team and the exciting and unique adventure for the piccolo, as a teaching and performing artist, with contributions focusing on Body Mapping for piccolo players.
An active member of the National Flute Association, Rena regularly performs at the annual conventions, serves as an adjudicator for various competitions, and is a member of the NFA’s Performance Health Committee.
Rena is a Course Coordinator for California State University Summer Arts with her popular biennial flute course, The Complete 21st Century Flutist. Highly sought-after as a guest artist for flute clubs and summer festivals around the US and Europe, Rena is also frequent guest artist at the International Piccolo Festival in Grado, Italy.
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Rena received her Bachelor of Music from Wayne State University and her Master of Music with honors from California State University Long Beach. She is extraordinarily grateful for her mentors: Robert Patrick, Clement Barone Jr., John Barcellona, Anne Zentner, and her father, Santo Urso.
For more information about Rena, please visit renaurso.com