Cuarteto Latinoamericano is one of the world's most renowned string quartets and, for over thirty-five years, the leading proponent of Latin American music for the genre. Founded in Mexico in 1982, the Cuarteto has toured extensively throughout Europe, North and South America, Israel, China, Japan and New Zealand. They have premiered over a hundred works written for them, and they continue to introduce new and neglected composers to the genre. Winners of two Latin Grammys for Best Classical Recordings, they have also been awarded with the prestigious Diapason D'Or, have been recognized with the Mexican Music Critics Association Award, and have received three "Most Adventurous Programming" Awards from Chamber Music America/ASCAP.
Cuarteto Latinoamericano's members are three Bitran brothers: violinists Saul and Aron and cellist Alvaro, with violist Javier Montiel. They have recorded more than 80 CDs, including nearly the entire Latin American repertoire for string quartet. Volume 6 of their Villa-Lobos cycle of 17 string quartets on Dorian, was nominated for a Grammy and a Latin Grammy for Best Chamber Music Recording. Their albums "Brasileiro, works of Mignone" (2012) and "El Hilo Invisible" (2016) won Latin Grammys for Best Classical Recording. The work Inca Dances by Gabriela Lena Frank, recorded by Cuarteto Latinoamericano with Manuel Barrueco, won the 2009 Latin Grammy for Best New Latin Composition.
The Cuarteto has performed as soloist with many orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Seattle Symphony under Gerard Schwarz, Ottawa's National Arts Center Orchestra, the Orquesta Filarmónica de la Ciudad de México, the Dallas Symphony and the Simón Bolívar Orchestra of Venezuela, under Eduardo Mata. They have performed in some of the world's most distinguished halls and music festivals, including the Concertgebouw, Teatro alla Scala, the Esterházy Palace, the Kennedy Center, Ravinia Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and the Ojai Festival. They have collaborated with celebrated artists over the years including cellist János Starker, pianists Rudolph Buchbinder and Cyprien Katsaris, tenor Ramón Vargas, guitarists Narciso Yepes, Sharon Isbin, David Tanenbaum, and Manuel Barrueco. With Barrueco they have performed extensively in some of the most important venues of the US and Europe, commissioned guitar quintets from American composers Miguel del Aguila, Michael Daugherty and Gabriela Lena Frank, and recorded two CDs.
Under the auspices of the Sistema Nacional de Orquestas Juveniles of Venezuela, the Cuarteto created the Latin American Academy for String Quartets, based in Caracas, which served as a training ground for eight select young string quartets from the Sistema. Until 2014, the Cuarteto visited the Academy four times a year.
For twenty years they were quartet-in- residence at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Since 2004, they have been recipients of the México en Escena grants given by the Mexican government through FONCA (National Fund for Culture and the Arts).
Applauded by the Calgary Herald as “…talented, sensitive…brilliant,” JIJI is an adventurous artist on both acoustic and electric guitar, playing a wide range of music from traditional and contemporary classical to free improvisation. Her impeccable musicianship combined with compelling stage presence and fascinating repertoire earned the Korean guitarist First Prize at the 2016 Concert Artists Guild International Competition.
The Kansas City Star described JIJI as “A graceful and nuanced player,” adding that “…she presented an intimate, captivating performance” in reviewing her recent concerto debut appearance with Kansas City Symphony. A major highlight of JIJI’s 2018-19 season is her Carnegie Hall/Stern Auditorium debut as soloist with the award-winning New York Youth Symphony, performing the world premiere of a new concerto written for her by American composer Natalie Dietterich.
Featured NYC recitals this season include JIJI’s April 2019 Lincoln Center debut on the Great Performers series, preceded by 2018 Summer appearances at the Mostly Mozart Festival and the New York Guitar Seminar at Mannes. Other recitals include Grand Canyon Guitar Society and Arizona State University in Tempe, where JIJI joins the ASU Music school faculty as Assistant Professor of Guitar starting in fall 2018.
Currently sponsored by D'Addario Strings. JIJI’s performances have been featured on PBS (On Stage at Curtis series), NPR’s From the Top, WHYY-TV, FOX 4-TV, Munchies (the Vice Channel), The Not So Late Show (Channel 6, Kansas), and Hong Kong broadcast station RTHK’s The Works. Her new EP recording, Underglow, was released in May 2018, featuring acoustic guitar music by Bach, Albeniz, Ginastera and Dyens, in addition to her own composition for electric guitar and electronics.
A passionate advocate of new music, JIJI has premiered a duo piece Talking Guitars by renowned composer Paul Lansky, and as a recipient of the 2017 BMI commissioning award resulting from the CAG Competition, JIJI has commissioned Nina C. Young to write a new guitar piece scheduled for premiere during 2018–19. In addition, the American Composers Orchestra is commissioning a new guitar concerto by Hilary Purrington, to be premiered by JIJI in an upcoming season. She has premiered works by numerous emerging composers, including Gabriella Smith, Riho Maimets, Krists Auznieks, Gulli Björnsson, Andrew McIntosh, and Farnood HaghaniPour.
She also performs her own compositions, incorporating electronic media and acoustic music, and she recently worked as a composer with the Yale Repertory Theater, Yale Cabaret, and Yale school of Art. Her music is influenced by her regular activities as a DJ, where she highlights the electronic dance styles of happy hardcore and Berlin experimental electronica.
Recent highlights include a wide array of venues, including: Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, National Sawdust, Miller Theater, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Purdue Convocations, Mass MOCA, Le Poisson Rouge, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Princeton Sound Kitchen, Virginia Arts Festival, Festival Napa Valley, 92nd Street ‘Y’ and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her recent tour in Hong Kong consisted of performances collaborating with a performance Artist, a traditional Chinese instrument ensemble, and an Erhu player in art galleries, clubs, and even on a moving trolley. As a chamber musician, she performed with members of Eighth Blackbird, members of one beat project, members of Bang on a Can All-Stars, Wild Up,Tanglewood Chamber orchestra, The Industry, cellist Tessa Seymour, and the Aizuri and Argus Quartets.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, JIJI (Jiyeon Kim) began playing classical guitar at the age of nine, and was accepted to the Korea National University of Arts at age fourteen. She attended the Cleveland Institute of Music for two years, studying with Jason Vieaux, and was accepted at the Curtis Institute of Music in 2011 as one of the first two guitarists in Curtis’ distinguished history. She graduated Curtis in 2015, as a student of Mr. Vieaux and David Starobin, and she recently earned her Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music, studying with Benjamin Verdery. She is excited about her upcoming adventures as a new resident of Arizona, and in her spare time, she enjoys cooking and creating weird sounds on Ableton.
The Cuarteto Latinoamericano with JIJI appear by arrangement with General Arts Touring, Inc.
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