María Valentina Schlei received her piano performance degree with full scholarship from the “Escuela de Música Manuel A. Lopez” in Venezuela, and her B.F.A and M.M. from UWM under the guidance of Prof. Judit Jaimes. She debuted as a soloist at 11 years old with the Caracas Municipal Symphony Orchestra, performed with multiple symphony orchestras, and toured around Venezuela. She won first prize in the “Harriet Serr” Competition (1994), the “Moisés Moleiro” Venezuelan National Competition (1996) and McDowell Club of Milwaukee (2005). In 1997, the President of Venezuela awarded her the Medal of the Third Grade Order “Jose Felix Rivas Prize” - the highest honor given to young Venezuelan artists. Currently she is also a faculty member of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music.