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Quinteto Latino
June 27, 2023
Quinteto Latino

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Diane Grubbe, flute

Kyle Bruckmann, oboe

Leslie Tagorda, clarinet

Armando Castellano, French horn

Jamael Smith, bassoon (season guest artist)


Paquito D’ Rivera: Wapango

Gabriela Ortiz: Puzzle-Tocas

Gabriela Lena Frank: Mitos, Suite Dramatica para Quinteto de Vientos (y actores)

Orlando Jacinto Garcia: múltiples vientos en la distancia

Victor Márquez-Barrios:  The Spanglish Dances

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.

Gabriela Ortiz is one of the foremost composers in Mexico today and one of the most vibrant musicians on the international scene. Her compositions are credited for being both entertaining and immediate as well as profound and sophisticated. Ortiz’s music has been commissioned and performed all over the world by prestigious ensembles, soloists, and orchestras, such as the LA Philharmonic Orchestra, Gustavo Dudamel and Esa Pekka Salonen, the Kronos Quartet, Dawn Upshaw, the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Southwest Chamber Music, the Tambuco Percussion Quartet, the Orquestra Simón Bolivar, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, among others. Recent premieres include Yanga and Téenek, both pieces commissioned by the LA Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, Luciérnaga (Firefly, her third opera) commissioned and produced by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and Únicamente la Verdad (Only the Truth, her first opera) with Long Beach Opera and Opera de Bellas Artes in Mexico.

Philadelphia Orchestra Composer-in-Residence Gabriela Lena Frank was included in the Washington Post’s list of the 35 most significant women composers in history (August 2017). Born in Berkeley, California, to a mother of mixed Peruvian/Chinese ancestry and a father of Lithuanian/Jewish descent, Frank explores her multicultural heritage most ardently through her compositions. Inspired by the works of Bela Bartók and Alberto Ginastera, Frank is something of a musical anthropologist. She has traveled extensively throughout South America. Her music is vigorous and colorful, reflecting and refracting her studies of Latin American folklore, incorporating poetry, mythology, and native musical styles into a Western classical framework that is uniquely her own. Winner of a Latin Grammy Award and nominated for Grammys as both composer and pianist, Ms. Frank also holds a Guggenheim Fellowship and a USA Artist Fellowship, given each year to 50 of the country’s finest artists.

Orlando Jacinto García has established himself as an important figure in the new music world through more than 200 works composed for a wide range of performance genres including interdisciplinary, site-specific, and works with and without electronics for orchestra, choir, soloists, and a variety of chamber ensembles. The distinctive character of his music has often been described as “time suspended – haunting sonic explorations,” qualities he developed from his studies with Morton Feldman among others. His music has been performed by important artists such as Joan La Barbara, Robert Dick, Bertram Turetzky, Luis Gómez-Imbert, Jan Williams, Joseph Celli, Odaline de la Martinez, the Gregg Smith Singers, and many orchestras in the Americas and Europe. García is the founder and director of several international festivals that include the New Music Miami Festival and the Music of the Americas Festival. He is the founder and artistic director of the NODUS Ensemble and the Florida International University (FIU) New Music Ensemble.

Victor Márquez-Barrios is a Venezuelan composer with an extended catalog of works that includes compositions for a variety of solo instruments, numerous chamber ensembles, mixed choirs, electronics, symphonic bands, and symphony orchestras. His music has been performed, published, and recorded by important soloists and ensembles from Latin America, the U.S., and Europe. Works by Márquez-Barrios have received performances at numerous international music festivals such as the Latin American Music Festival (Caracas), XVII Festival of Contemporary Music of Cuba, 20eme Festival Internacional de la Clarinette (Martinique), Hollywood Fringe Festival (Los Angeles), the World Saxophone Congress, and ClarinetFest 2018 (Ostend, Belgium), among others. Today, in parallel to his active career as a composer and guest lecturer, Márquez-Barrios teaches music theory and composition at Truman State University (Missouri), where he is also the founding director of Uncommon Practice, the University’s contemporary-music ensemble.

Estrellita is so beloved in Mexico and was written in such a compelling folk style, that it is often confused with a folk tune. This tender melody has all the charm of a love song but is actually an example of a style called Nostalgia Viva or “live nostalgia.” It was written in 1912 by the Mexican composer and music scholar, Manuel Ponce. Born in Zacatecas, México, Ponce was a musical prodigy, studying at México’s National Conservatory of Music and later in prestigious music schools in Italy and Germany. After studying with French composer Paul Dukas, Ponce began applying an impressionistic idiom to his works with concise structures and skilled counterpoint. He later developed a strongly nationalistic style and the composition of melodies such as Estrellita, A la orilla de un palmar, Alevántate, La Pajarera, Marchita el Alma and Una Multitud Más earned him the honorific title “Creator of the Modern Mexican Song.

Quinteto Latino is a regionally and nationally recognized classical wind ensemble based in 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 Pretorius 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 more than 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 also 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 based 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 boards nationally, including as the current board chair of the 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 is a member of Quinteto Latino and 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 has been 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, California Symphony as well as the San Francisco Contemporary Players. Jamael is a member of the conductor-less chamber orchestra One Found Sound, as well as the woodwind quintet Avenue Winds. They have attended summer festivals such as the Kent Blossom Summer Festival and the Pierre Monteux Festival. They completed graduate bassoon studies with Stephen Paulson and have also 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. In her long career as a musician, Leslie has worked as both an educator and performer. 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. Currently, 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.