Alturas Duo, who combine guitar, viola and charango (the 10-string guitar-like instrument of the Andes) to create passionate chamber music that moves between the Baroque, South American folk rhythms, modern South American compositions and new pieces written for the Duo, will perform in concert at the Mainstay in Rock Hall, MD on Sunday April 15 at 4:00 pm. The concert is part of the Hedgelawn Classical Music series at the Mainstay. Admission is $15. For information and reservations call 410-639-9133. Information is also available at the Mainstay’s website http://www.mainstayrockhall.org.
The only group of its kind, Alturas Duo was formed in 2000 with the idea of playing South American and classical music by bringing together the unusual combination of the viola, charango and guitar.
Violist Carlos Boltes and guitarist Scott Hill engage their audiences with brief, lively stories about their repertoire, their journey as musicians and the charangos Boltes plays in addition to the viola. The charango is a small Andean stringed instrument of the lute family, shaped like a guitar or ukulele. Now usually made of wood, it was traditionally made from the shell of an armadillo.
The name Alturas (Spanish for heights) is derived from the poem “Alturas de Macchu Picchu” by Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda (1904-1973).
The concert, sponsored by the Hedgelawn Foundation, will include an arrangement of a lively Andean folk song for guitar and charango, “Suite Atacama,” a thoughtful arrangement of pieces by modern Chilean composers and Hill’s arrangement of Telemann’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, re-interpreted for viola and guitar. Hill’s arrangement makes the musicological point that there is much in common between Andean folk music as its known today and the Baroque influences brought by the Europeans.
The Duo has performed in Brazil, Canada, Chile, Bolivia, throughout the US and Puerto Rico including recitals at: Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, the Smithsonian Institute, the Music Mountain Chamber Music Series, La Guitarra California, and the 34th International Viola Congress.
Always in search of new music and collaborations, the Duo has performed with artists as diverse as charango virtuoso Ernesto Cavour, guitarist and composer Horacio Salinas; flutists Jessica Warren-Acosta and Sergio Pallottelli, quena virtuoso Marcelo Pena-Lobo; pianist Polly Ferman and Argentine bandoneon legend, Daniel Binelli, the Choral Arts Society of Washington D.C., Coral Cantigas and the Voce Choir of Hartford. They recently premiered “Concierto de los Andes” by Javier Farias with the Fairfax, VA Symphony Orchestra.
The Duo has held residencies at the Festival Eleazar de Carvalho in Fortaleza, Brazil and at the Hartt School of Music; and has been a featured performer on NPR.
They have two recordings, the first “Alturas Duo” on Brioso and their October 2011 release “El Vuelo de tu Alma” on Con Brio. They are also featured on a Naxos recording of the Washington Choral Arts Society.
They have worked closely with many composers and have premiered dozens of commissions, arrangements and transcriptions including recent works by; Javier Farias, Raimundo Penaforte, Alexander Silas Walker, Ben Starr and Ronald Pearl. Alturas Duo took First Prize at the 2006 New England International Chamber Music Competition. In 2009, they won the prestigious Chamber Music America /ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming for their innovative programming and commitment to featuring new works. They were also named a “Goodwill Ambassador” for the Chilean-American Foundation and worked with them to help raise money for the victims of the 2010 earthquake in the south of Chile.
Carlos Boltes, born in Santiago, Chile, began his musical studies by learning the charango from his brother Giovanni Vaccani, later mastering that instrument while touring extensively throughout South America as a member of the Chilean group Barrocco Andino. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the Universidad Catolica de Chile and a Master’s Degree from Carnegie Mellon University both in viola performance. His main teachers have been: Enrique López, Atar Arad, Larry Dutton and Steve Larson.
He was principal violist of the Orquesta de Cámara del Teatro Municipal de Santiago and the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and has recorded for Naxos, Brioso and CBS Records. Boltes has been a recipient of the Boston Fund Individual Artist Fellowship and an Andes Foundation Performance Grant and he is also Connecticut 2010 “Latino de Oro” award recipient, on the faculty of the Eleazar de Carvalho Music Festival in Fortaleza, Brazil and the Hartt School Community Division of the University of Hartford, in West Hartford, Connecticut.
Scott Hill, is a native of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. He earned an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Lakehead University with Sean Mundy and a Masters degree in guitar performance and a Graduate Professional Diploma in chamber performance from the Hartt School of Music where he studied with Richard Provost. Mr. Hill has performed and lectured throughout Canada, the United States and South America as both a soloist and chamber musician.
He recently premiered Thomas Schuttenhelm’s “Balada” for soprano and guitar and “Pequena cancion” by Javier Farias. Mr. Hill is a Canada Council for the Arts grant recipient and has performed in master classes for some of today’s finest musicians including Oscar Ghiglia, John Williams and the Miami String Quartet. Hill is on the faculty at the Hartt School Community Division of the University of Hartford, West Hartford, Connecticut and the Eleazar de Carvalho Festival in Fortaleza, Brazil.
The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street. It is a 501(c)(3), non profit dedicated to the arts, serving Rock Hall, MD and the surrounding region. It is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas and snacks are available at the bar.
The Mainstay is supported by ticket sales, fundraising including donations from friends and audience members and an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. .
For information and reservations call the Mainstay at 410-639-9133. More information is also available at the Mainstay’s website http://www.mainstayrockhall.org.
Upcoming Mainstay performances include:
April 21 Tempest
April 29 University of Delaware Jazz Ensemble
May 3 Max’s Mainstay All-Stars Reunion
May 10 Ramblin’ Jack Elliot
May 12 Verroneau
May 26 Honey Dewdrops
June 1 Tribute to Pete Seeger: Betty and the Boomers
June 2 Tribute to Pete Seeger: Tom Paxton