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String quartet brings Latino classical music to new audiences

A Chicago-based string quartet works to promote music of cultures from around the world.
October 11, 2013 3:27:58 PM PDT
A Chicago-based string quartet works to promote music of cultures from around the world.

Their current focus is on Latin American composers. As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we meet a group of young musicians looking to excite the next generation about classical music.

They make classical musical look cool. The Kaia String Quartet started when a some DePaul University music majors wanted to share the music they love playing with audiences that may never have been exposed to it.

"I'm from Latin America, and to me it's a very close connection. I've always been playing works by Latin American composers, you know, anything that can represent my culture," said Victoria Moreira , co-founder, Kaia String Quartet.

Through their performances, the ensemble of twenty-somethings works to expose the next generation to the genre. On a recent tour through Mexico, they played for hundreds of school children - and taught lessons about music, fine arts and Latino contributions. "It's important to us to introduce classical music to the younger generation so that they can appreciate it and learn to love it as we do," said Veronica Nettles, co-founder, Kaia String Quartet.

In Chicago, the group is headlining the eighth annual Latino Music Festival produced by the International Latino Cultural Center. Organizers say they help attract a broad audience.

"Great musicians performing music people are not used to - they are used to mariachi, salsa, rumba, cha cha, samba, flamenco, tango, but nowadays something more profound," said Pepe Vargas, founder, International Latino Cultural Center. "Classical music, is also a reflection of a deeper sense of who the Latinos are."

As for the musicians, they say they cherish any opportunity to expose others to the music they love.

"I like that feeling from being a performer and being an ensemble chamber musician. That type of contagiousness is just a really inspiring feeling and we get that from playing this music," said Naomi Culp, violin.

"It's pretty amazing that there is so much Latin American music that is not well-known and we are taking advantage of this great city of Chicago because we can actually put the program out there and really have fun," said Sixto Franco Chorda, viola.

The Kaia String Quartet will be in concert Sunday, October 27 at the Art Institute. The Latino Music Festival runs through December. You can find a complete schedule of concerts at http://kaiastringquartet.com/ and http://latinomusicfest.org/


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