Camerata California

Carlos McMillan Fuentes

is a pianist, composer, singer-songwriter, music educator, and accompanist. He has performed in concert with the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera, Symphony d'Oro (Rancho Cordova), the Camellia Symphony Orchestra, and Camerata California. In 2018, his piano-clarinet duo “Carlos & Brennen” won First Prize in their category at the Golden Classical Music Awards. As part of their prize, the Golden Classical Music Awards invited Carlos & Brennen to perform at Carnegie Hall. In 2019 he appeared with soprano Susheel Bibbs as accompanist for her acclaimed one-woman musical on Mary Ellen Pleasant. In 2021 his suite for piano and orchestra, A Winter Rhapsody, received its online premiere by Symphony d'Oro, with the composer as soloist. He is currently serving as Composer-In-Residence for Symphony d’Oro.


Largely self-taught as a musician, Fuentes demonstrated an affinity for composition and performance from an early age. In early middle school, he began to develop his gift for composition through a set of short piano pieces inspired by Chopin, compiled as Opus 1. Fuentes has matured into a prolific composer, creating hundreds of pieces including a symphony for choir and orchestra, Concerto da Requiem for piano, orchestra, choir and soloists, concertos and concertante works for piano, viola, cello, and alto saxophone, three independent film scores, a score to accompany a play, chamber works of various instrumentation, works for choir, art songs, and solo piano pieces – as well as a variety of musical works created using digital production.


Fuentes is a lyricist and songwriter. His songwriting bridges classical training with his love for pop, jazz, R&B/soul, Gospel, and musical theatre to create a truly American style all his own. Among his influences, he cites Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Patrick Wolf, Björk, Erykah Badu, Sade, Perfume Genius, Stevie Wonder, Richard Smallwood, and Janelle Monáe as modern masters in their fields. He is also guided by a form of synaesthesia in which specific patterns of harmony evoke a spectrum of colors.


Born in Cleveland, Ohio and raised in Durham, North Carolina, Fuentes is the son of pastor Rev. Philip R. Cousin, Jr. and Angela M. Cousin. He attended Durham School of the Arts (1999-2004), the Governor's School of North Carolina West Campus for Choral Music (2004), and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, from which he graduated in 2006. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro in 2011, earning a Bachelor of Music in Music Composition with a focus in Piano Performance. He is trained in the Lister-Sink Method of Injury-Preventive Keyboard Technique at Salem College in North Carolina and received his Graduate Certificate in 2022.


His performance and teaching experience include working in live musical theatre and opera, establishing the Renaissance Academy, a K-12 arts after-school program ensuring equity and access to arts education in the Western Addition of San Francisco, California (disbanded in 2015), K-8 music education in Sacramento, California, and private lessons in piano, voice, and composition and songwriting to students of all ages.