La Catrina Quartet Joins Willy Sucre For Chamber Concert

SOCORRO, N.M. September 13, 2011 -- La Catrina Quartet will perform string quartets by Latin American composers Ginastera and Revueltas in the first half of the program, and then be joined by violist Willy Sucre after intermission, to perform Dvorak.  The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 19, at New Mexico Tech’s Macey Center, to launch the 2011-2012 Presidential Chamber Music Series.
La Catrina Quartet will join Willy Sucre for the season-opening performance of chamber music at Macey Center on Monday, September 19.

Willy Sucre returns for another season of exquisite performances at New Mexico Tech.\

Admission is free to all, courtesy of New Mexico Tech President, Dr. Daniel H. López, and the Socorro Springs Restaurant and Brewery.

On the program are String Quartet No. 1 by Alberto Ginastera, Music de Feria by Silvestre Revueltas, and Viola Quintet in E flat Op. 97, by Antonin Dvorak.

Sucre, of course, is a familiar face to Socorro audiences through his many visits to Macey Center with his Willy Sucre & Friends performances; and as a regular performer with the Placitas Artists Series.

None other than the famed cellist Yo Yo Ma hailed La Catrina Quartet as “wonderful ambassadors of music” as one of the most sought-after ensembles on tour today.

Currently the Faculty Quartet-in-Residence at New Mexico State University, the quartet frequently tours throughout the United States and Mexico, garnering awards and recognition along the way.

Its mission is to perform the masterworks of the string quartet repertoire, to promote Mexican and Latin American art music worldwide, and to work closely with composers to promote the performance of new music.

About the composers

Ginastera (April 11, 1916 – June 25, 1983) was an Argentine composer of classical music, and is considered one of the most important Latin American classical composers. A portion of Ginastera's Piano Sonata No. 1 is performed in the movie, “The Competition,” and the piece is included in the movie soundtrack.

Revueltas (Dec. 31, 1899 – Oct. 5, 1940) wrote film music, chamber music, songs and other works. Among his orchestral music are a number of symphonic poems with “Sensemayá: Chant for the Killing of a Snake,” the most famous. His music is often vigorous, rhythmically vital, and with a distinct Mexican flavor.

Dvorak (Sept. 8, 1841 – May 1, 1904) was a Czech composer of late romantic music, who employed the idioms of the folk music of Moravia and his native Bohemia. His own style is sometimes called “romantic-classicist synthesis.” From 1892 to 1895, Dvorak was the director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City. A statue of him stands in Stuyvesant Square near his home.


About the musicians

Members of La Catrina Quartet are Daniel Vega-Albela and Blake Espy, violins; Jorge Martínez, viola, and César Bourguet, cello. They all hail from parts of Mexico with the exception of Epsy, a native of Savannah, Georgia.

Born in Mexico City, Vega-Albela started the violin at age nine, and by 16, he had moved to New York City, where he received his Bachelor of Violin Performance from the Mannes College of Music.

In 2007, Vega-Albela and his La Catrina colleagues won the three-year position of Quartet-in-Residence of the Western Piedmont Symphony in Hickory, N.C., and in 2009, they became NMSU’s first Faculty Quartet-in-Residence. The violist lives in Las Cruces with his wife, son, two very old cats and two very young dogs.

Espy started violin at age six, has been concertmaster of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, and a frequent performer with the Louisiana Philharmonic. He also spent a summer in Mexico City with Orquesta Sinfónica de Mineria. His academic credentials include a Bachelor of Music Performance degree from Western Michigan University, a Master of Music Performance degree from Louisiana State University, and an artist’s diploma at SUNY Purchase.

As a member of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Espy was given the opportunity to act as a rotating concertmaster, chamber musician, and educator to young musicians.

Martinez, born in Torreón, Coahuila, Mexico, studied violin at the Conservatorio de las Rosas where he graduated with honors. In 2001, he was awarded a fellowship by the Department of Public Education of Mexico to study abroad, and in 2003, completed a Master of Music degree in Viola Performance at Western Michigan University.

While at WMU, Martínez and his colleagues of La Catrina, were honored with the All University Graduate Research and Creative Scholar Award, the first time in the history of the university that the Graduate College bestowed such recognition upon an ensemble of the School of Music.

Martínez is a founding member of La Catrina String Quartet, and holds a Master of Music degree in chamber music and vocal performance from Kent State University.

A native of the southern Mexican city of Oaxaca, Bourguet began his musical studies at age seven with his father. At 15, he moved to Mexico City to continue his academic pursuits at the Ollin Yolitzli Cultural Center; and, later, at the University of Houston and the Florida International University in Miami.

Among many honors and distinctions, Bourguet won first prize in the “Schlern International Music Competition” of 2005 in Italy; and was a laureate winner as part of the 2004 Texas Music Festival and the Moores Concerto Competition, both in Houston.

Sucre attended the Peabody Conservatory and the Mannes School of Music. A diplomate of the Conservatorio Nacional de Bolivia, he has been conductor and music director of the Albuquerque Philharmonic, assistant conductor of the Canada Symphony Orchestra, and guest conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of La Paz.

-- NMT --

By Valerie Kimble/New Mexico Tech