(NMFA quartet in residence)
Since its founding in 2007, La Catrina String Quartet (LCSQ) is recognized as the new vanguard for contemporary Latin American string quartet repertoire. Their mission is three-fold: a deep commitment to the cultivation of new works by living U.S. composers and throughout the Americas; the programming of existing Latin American works rarely performed in the U.S. and abroad; bringing fresh interpretations to classical, romantic and twentieth century masterpieces. Hailed by Yo-Yo Ma as “wonderful ambassadors for Latin American music,” LCSQ members are from Mexico (Daniel Vega-Albela, Jorge Martínez-Ríos), Venezuela (Simón Gollo) and Chile (Jorge Espinoza). Their rich cultural origins convey an unparalleled stylistic authenticity and artistic vision in their performances, collaborations and recordings. It is this unique balance of core Latin American repertoire with American and European classical traditions that characterizes both the diversity of their concert programs and appeal to multi-cultural audiences.
In 2010, Symphony Space in New York City, under the direction of Laura Kaminsky commissioned Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra to write his “Cuarteto No. 2” for LCSQ. The venue’s world premiere was held in 2011 as part of the new music festival “Wall to Wall Sonidos.” Also in 2011, they collaborated with the heralded Cuarteto Latinoamericano for a definitive recording of “Seresta No. 2 for Double String Quartet” by twentieth century Brazilian composer Francisco Mignone. The CD “Brasileiro” featuring the piece won the 2012 Latin Grammy for Best Classical Recording. In October 2014, LCSQ presented the world premiere of a string quartet by Carlos Sánchez Gutiérrez, one of Mexico’s most prestigious and celebrated contemporary composers, commissioned by the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Guanajuato. In November of the same year, their first commercially released CD, “América Latina: A Musical Canvas,” was nominated for a Latin Grammy award.
Past and future collaborations featuring American composers and artists include Zae Munn’s commission “Our Hands Were Tightly Clenched” and a groundbreaking recording of contemporary and twentieth century American music with tuba player James Shearer. To document and distill their championing of Latin American repertoire over the course of several years and more than five hundred performances, LCSQ plans to release a multi-disc recording project. LCSQ is currently string quartet-in-residence at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. A significant part of their educational mission includes outreach programs whose primary goal is to cultivate and expose a new emerging generation of young listeners to the traditional string quartet literature as well as to the evolving multi-cultural face of contemporary chamber music.