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Quinteto Latino
May 14, 2024
Quinteto Latino

Diane Grubbe, Flute; Kyle Bruckmann, Oboe; Leslie Tagorda, Clarinet; Armando Castellano, French Horn; Jamael Smith, Bassoon

Paquito D’Rivera: Wapango

Traditional (Mexico): Son de la Bruja 

Paul Desenne: El Recreo, La Cumbria, Los Vikingos, y outras Miniaturas

Marcus Siqueira: Egrégores

Eugenio Toussaint: Mambo

Program Notes

Paquito d’Rivera is a native of Cuba who became a professional musician at a very young age. He was a co-founder of the Orquestra Cubana de Musica Moderna and later, with other Orquestra members, formed the group Irakere, “whose explosive mixture of jazz, rock, classical and traditional Cuban music revolutionized Latin jazz.” It was while he was a member of that Cuban jazz ensemble touring Europe in 1981 that he defected to the United States. Since then, he has balanced a musical career in the fields of Latin jazz and in what could be called a more “classical” field of chamber and orchestral works. As a result of his friendship with the legendary American jazz innovator, trumpeter, and bandleader, John Birks (“Dizzy”) Gillespie, d’Rivera became a founding member of Gillespie’s United Nations Orchestra – a fifteen-member ensemble organized to “showcase the fusion of Latin and Caribbean influences into the jazz genre.” For his years of actively promoting Latin music, he has received several Grammy Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Son de la Bruja, a folk song from Veracruz, México, was arranged for Quinteto Latino by José Luis Hurtado, a composer from México, who now teaches at the University of New Mexico. Hurtado’s music has been performed worldwide by ensembles and soloists such as the Boston Modern Orchestra Project BMOP, International Contemporary Ensemble ICE, Jack Quartet, Talea Ensemble, Pierrot Lunaire Ensemble Wien, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and the Arditti String Quartet among many others. He has been the recipient of Kompositionspreis der Stadt Wolkersdorf (Austria), Harvard University Green Prize for Excellence in Composition (USA), Julián Carrillo Composition Prize (Mexico), Rodolfo Halffter Instrumenta Ibero-American Composition Prize and 2nd prize in Troisieme Concours International de Composition du Quatuor Molinari (Canada). Grants include those from the National Endowment for the Arts of Mexico and the American Music Center. He is the pianist of Nueva Música Dúo, founding member of áltaVoz, and former director of The Harvard Group for New Music. Hurtado holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University where he studied under Mario Davidovsky, Chaya Czernowin, Magnus Lindberg, Brian Ferneyhough, and Helmut Lachenmann.

Venezuelan composer and cellist Paul Desenne’s works are steeped in the complex, multi-layered musical environments of the Caribbean, the Andes, and the Orinoco-Amazon basins, celebrating the rich voices of these cultures in concert form. His music blends anthropological accuracy, conceptual diversity, and musical abstraction giving it uniquely lush, quirky, and irresistibly rhythmic qualities. Performed at major venues around the world, his compositions have been described as “immediately striking… bright, freewheeling and sophisticated (The New York Times) and “…marvelously alive to the worlds of colors and glints and shimmers that musical instruments…are waiting to have loosed from them.” (The Boston Globe). Desenne was the recipient of a 2010 Radcliffe Fellowship, a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship, and a 2006 Civitella-Ranieri Fellowship. He was awarded the Premier Prix, Premier Nommé in cello performing at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris in 1985. He was a founding member of the famed Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, for whom he later became the resident composer.

Born in Caratinga, Brazil, Marcus Siqueira has an undergraduate degree in Music from the University of São Paulo where he studied with Willy Corrêa de Oliveira. He has received numerous composition prizes and three major composition fellowships in Brazil. His compositions have been played in recitals and festivals in the USA, France, Portugal, Germany, Colombia, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Turkey, Greece, Mexico and Italy. He has works for orchestra, chamber music, madrigal, choir, and several solo pieces. He also uses multimedia and electronic resources in his works for the theatre. As a film composer, he has had significant participation in Brazilian documentary films (Evaldo Mocarzel and Jorge Bodansky: directors). He also works with young film directors: Frederico Foroni, Bruno Torres, and others. Siqueira now teaches free music courses in Italy, where he resides, with special emphasis on advanced rhythm studies from the Brazilian classical and popular music aspects.

Eugenio Toussaint Uhthoff was born in Mexico City and was primarily self-taught until he had the opportunity to study harmony with Jorge Pérez Herrera and piano with Néstor Castañeda in 1974. In 1980 he received a scholarship to study orchestration at Dick Grove Music School in Los Angeles, CA. He returned to Mexico six years later to compose full-time. He also built a prolific career in performing, joining Roberto Aymes in Blue Note in 1975, and later founding Sacbé, an influential Mexican jazz ensemble. Sacbé moved to Minneapolis and later to Los Angeles, recording and releasing numerous records that were well-received, such as Música de Cámara in 2000 and 3 Suites in 1999. By the time he moved back to Mexico, he was already very accomplished and decorated. He was awarded the Lira de Oro award for musical accomplishment from the Sindicato Único de Trabajadores de la Música (SUTM) in 1989 and membership to Creadores del Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes in 1994. He continued to compose for many ensembles while also performing with his piano trio for the rest of his life.


Quinteto Latino is a regionally and nationally recognized classical wind ensemble from the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded in 2004 by Armando Castellano, QL exists to disrupt long-standing racial and cultural disparities within the classical music field and drive this change by championing past, present, and future musical contributions by Latino/a/x composers and musicians. Recent premieres include The Spanglish Dances by Victor Márquez-Barrios (New Music USA’s Creator Development Fund),  Mitos: Suite Dramatica para Quinteto de Vientos (y actores) by Gabriela Lena Frank, (Creative Work Fund), and C U Z A [four nocturnes for wind quintet] by Felipe Nieto-Sáchica (American Composers Forum). Previously commissioned composers include Guillermo Galindo, Chris Pratorius Gómez, José-Luis Hurtado, and Paul Desenne. Under the management of The Rhythm of the Arts, Quinteto Latino performs nationally and has been engaged by Quad City Arts – The Clarice (College Park, MD), Pregones Theater (The Bronx, NY), Musical Masterworks (New London, CT), and Virginia Arts Festival (Norfolk, VA) among others. Their debut CD, 100 Years of Mexican Music for Wind Quintet, was released by Con Brio Recordings in 2011.

Oboist Kyle Bruckmann‘s widely-ranging work as a composer/performer, educator, classical freelancer, and new music specialist extends from conservatory-trained foundations into gray areas encompassing free jazz, post-punk rock, and the noise underground. Beyond Quinteto Latino, his current ensemble affiliations include Splinter Reeds, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, sfSound, Eco Ensemble, and the Stockton Symphony. Since moving to the San Francisco Bay Area from Chicago in 2003, he has performed as a substitute with the San Francisco Symphony and most of the area’s regional orchestras while remaining active within an international community of improvisers and sound artists, appearing on over 100 recordings of various genres. He is now an Assistant Professor of Practice in Oboe and Contemporary Performance at the University of the Pacific and teaches at UC Santa Cruz, Davis, and Berkeley.  Bruckmann earned undergraduate degrees in music and psychology at Rice University in Houston, studying oboe with Robert Atherholt and serving as music director of campus radio station KTRU. He completed his master’s degree in 1996 at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he studied oboe performance with Harry Sargous and contemporary improvisation with Ed Sarath.

Armando Castellano is a musician, bilingual teaching artist, and arts advocate in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a professional French horn player, he is active internationally as a chamber musician, soloist, and orchestral performer. As an arts advocate, Armando is the lead teaching artist for Quinteto Latino, providing bilingual residencies, music education, and performance services to students, teachers, and school systems nationally. He also actively advocates on behalf of musicians of color in the U.S. through direct mentorship as well as leading QL’s fellows programming. His equity work is far-reaching and tireless, speaking nationally on issues impacting BIPOC classical musicians, giving workshops on culturally relevant arts education and cultural expression in the arts, and consulting on organization diversity. He currently sits on three national boards, including as the board chair of Donors of Color Network.

Flutist Diane Grubbe is a very active performer and teacher, with a special interest in contemporary music and new techniques of performance on flute, piccolo, alto, and bass flutes. She has appeared with orchestras throughout the Bay Area including the Stockton Symphony, One Found Sound, Symphony Silicon Valley, Lamplighters Music Theater, Festival Opera, Pocket Opera, and many others. She often performs with the avant-garde ensemble sfSound and as a guest artist with Earplay, the Eco Ensemble, Santa Cruz New Music Works, and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. She earned degrees in flute performance from San Francisco State University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Bassoonist Jamael Smith is a performer and educator based in San Francisco. They have played with various ensembles including the San Francisco Symphony, the California Symphony, and the San Francisco Contemporary Players. Jamael is a member of the conductor-less chamber orchestra One Found Sound and the woodwind quintet Avenue Winds. The groups have attended summer festivals including the Kent Blossom Summer Festival and the Pierre Monteux Festival. They completed graduate bassoon studies with Stephen Paulson and studied with Seth Krimsky and Bill Buchman.

Born and raised in Hawaii, clarinetist Leslie Tagorda received a B.M. in Clarinet Performance from the Eastman School of Music and an M.M. from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Over her long career as a musician, Leslie has worked as an educator and performer. While in Hawaii, Leslie worked with the Royal Hawaiian Band, the Hawaii Opera Theater, and the Honolulu Symphony as a freelance clarinetist. In the Bay Area, Leslie has freelanced with the San Francisco Ballet, San Francisco Opera, and regional groups such as the Oakland East Bay Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, Sacramento Opera, Modesto Symphony, Marin Symphony, Monterey Symphony, California Symphony, New Century Chamber Orchestra, and Left Coast Chamber Ensemble.  Leslie focuses her musical time on chamber music with a purpose, including Quinteto Latino. When not making music, Leslie is a sought-after business astrologer, author, podcast host, designer, and teacher weaving astrology and identity into specific strategies for visionary change-makers to step into their highest potential of impactful luminary leadership. She resides with her husband and son in the occupied land of the Ohlone Ramaytush currently called San Francisco.