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UTSA Graduate Antonio Zubillaga Triumphs Over Addiction And Discovers His Voice

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Antonio Zubillaga, a music major at UTSA, will mark a significant milestone this month as he receives his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance.

This achievement crowns a year filled with notable highlights, including roles in various UTSA Lyric Theatre opera productions and a performance at New York City’s prestigious Carnegie Hall.

Looking ahead, Zubillaga plans to continue his academic journey by pursuing a master’s degree in music at UTSA this fall, as part of the university’s “Keep Running With Us” program. His accomplishments, though monumental, required immense dedication and effort.

At 37, Zubillaga’s path to success was not without challenges. Battling substance abuse and addiction earlier in life led to academic setbacks and a departure from college.

However, achieving sobriety in 2017 prompted him to pursue his passion for music with renewed determination.

Despite facing obstacles in reclaiming his voice and meeting the demands of a music major, Zubillaga found unwavering support from UTSA faculty members, notably Crystal Jarrell Johnson.

Under Johnson’s mentorship, Zubillaga honed his skills, delivering captivating performances marked by poise, musical maturity, and remarkable vocal qualities.

“It’s been a big inspiration working with students who have done so much when they’re so young,” Zubillaga said. “It’s helped me gain a new appreciation for what the university does to give students what they need to succeed.”

Despite juggling multiple responsibilities, Zubillaga found solace in the supportive environment among his peers, fueling his success as he prepares for the next chapter of his academic and musical journey.


“It’s always been a very supportive culture. There is constructive criticism, but we always want to see each other succeed and it has allowed me to grow as an artist. That’s why I’m staying for my master’s,” said Zubillaga, who will pursue his master’s in choral conducting.

“I want to be the best musician that I can be, and I think conducting is the next challenge for me,” he said.

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