Concerts by the Lorena Guillén Tango Ensemble have been described as "sheer perfection" (CVNC), with vocalist Lorena Guillén praised for singing "with the kind of conviction for which [she] has become known in this material" (Buffalo News, NY). Their program, entitled "The Other Part of My Heart," brings the first-hand stories of Latina women who immigrated to North Carolina together with a Pan-Latin New Tango sound, plus a series of arrangements of Argentine tango standards.
Lorena Guillén, vocalist and artistic director, has become a figure of the tango scene in the United States by presenting imaginative programs that center on, but also expand, the notions of traditional tango standards and "new" tango. Born in Argentina, she has been described as a "delicate soprano," (Washington Post) and she performs with "a notably Latin sound, rich and full of expression, a sound quite different from what an American soprano produces" (CVNC).
Equally at home as a perfomer of art music and her homeland popular tango song, Lorena Guillén has presented concerts at such venues as Chautauqua Institute (NY), "New Music New Haven" of Yale University (CT), June in Buffalo Festival (NY), Music Gallery at Toronto (Canada), Shakespeare Theater (Wash. DC), and Stockhausen Music Festival (Germany). Ms. Guillén has recorded for Innova Records, University of Arizona Recordings, and Kindermusik, Inc.
As a tango scholar, Dr. Guillén has written two articles for the Grove Dictionary of American Music (2nd ed.), the entry on "tango" and the biography of "Astor Piazzolla," and is currently working on a research project on Argentine female tango singers of the 1920s and 1930s. She regularly presents lecture-recitals on tango related topics in conferences and university venues. Dr. Guillén was born in Buenos Aires, and began her voice training at the National Conservatory of Music. She holds a Master in Vocal Performance and a Ph.D. in Musicology from SUNY at Buffalo. Currently, she is Artist in Residence at the Saint Lucia School of Music on Saint Lucia Island (West Indies).
Violinist Jacqui Carrasco has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, Mexico, and Russia, including solo appearances at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall and the Library of Congress. Since moving to North Carolina in 1999, Ms. Carrasco has been featured in solo and chamber music performances at Duke University, Music at Blowing Rock, the Foothills Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music at St. Peter's in Charlotte, and with the Mallarmé Chamber Players. She has appeared in chamber music concerts with the Cassatt String Quartet, and was appointed violinist of the Carolina Piano Trio in 2005. Since 2008, Ms. Carrasco has co-directed the Carolina Summer Music Festival in Winston-Salem.
From 1992-2002, Ms. Carrasco was the violinist of the acclaimed contemporary music ensemble Cygnus and also appeared regularly with New York City-based new music groups, including the S.E.M. Ensemble, Anthony Braxton's Tri-Centric Ensemble, Newband, and Musicians Accord. She has recorded contemporary chamber music for the Nonesuch, Koch, Mode, CRI, Albany, and Braxton House record labels.
As a noted performer of Argentine tango music, Ms. Carrasco has appeared with cellist Yo-Yo Ma in concert and on television, as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, with the New York Buenos Aires Connection at Lincoln Center's Midsummer Night Swing, and most recently with the Brenda Angiel Aerial Dance Company. She has also been active as a jazz violinist, and her versatile skills have been featured in commercial, film, and theater music, as well as on her CD Since We Met with the Jazz Strings Project. Dr. Carrasco received her B.A., magna cum laude, from UCLA, and her M.M. and D.M.A. from Stony Brook University, where she studied with Joyce Robbins. Before joining the faculty at Wake Forest, Dr. Carrasco taught at Princeton University.
Saint Lucian pianist and composer Richard Payne is a graduate of Florida International University School of Business and has over thirty years of experience as an actively performing musician. He is currently the Executive Director of the Saint Lucia School of Music and Co-founder/ Bandleader of bluemangó, a regional Caribbean jazz sextet.
Mr. Payne has performed on stages in North and South America, Europe and across the Caribbean. Most notably, bluemangó, has opened for renowned artistes including John Legend, Richard Bona, Hugh Masekela, Mario Canonge, Monty Alexander, and Maxwel. The group's unique music has been featured on French Television RFO, BET JAZZ, and regional publications including Caribbean Beat Magazine, France Antilles Newspaper, and Island Where Magazine respectively. bluemangó is also the recipient of the prestigious 2003 National M&C Fine Arts Gold Award.
Alejandro Rutty's compositional output includes orchestral, chamber and mixed-media music, arrangements of Argentine traditional music, and innovative outreach musical projects. A unique feature of Mr. Rutty's music is its affection for textures suggested by modern recording processing techniques, a creative way of incorporating spoken word, and the use of world music styles as part of the music's surface.
In a review of his orchestral composition, The Conscious Sleepwalker Loops, the Boston Globe wrote "…the result is a blaring, multi-channel, gleefully vernacular carnival. It made a terrific curtain-raiser."Other pieces generated similarly positive reactions: "… in every respect, an impressive listening experience" (Osnabrüker Zeitung, about L'accordeoniste). Rutty's recent composition Down Home: The Cantata, mixes choral and orchestral writing with historic audio recordings. CVNC wrote, "Rutty's creative music made the stories live with humor, with determination and with dignity. The arias and anthems stirred the emotions and raised a memorable appreciation for all humanity."
Mr. Rutty's compositions and arrangements have been played by ensembles worldwide, including the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Argentina, National Symphony Orchestra of Brazil, Linköping Symphony Orchestra, the New York New Music Ensemble, the Red Clay Saxophone Quartet, and the Cassatt String Quartet. His music has been published by Effiny Music, SCI/European American Music, and Ricordi, and recordings of his music have been released by Navona Records, Capstone Records, Arizona University Recordings, and ERM Media. Mr. Rutty is the recipient of a 2008 MATA Festival commission, the First Prize Winner of the 2008 Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra Competition, and the 2012 American Modern Ensemble Composition Competition. Founder and Artistic Director of the Hey, Mozart! Project, Alejandro Rutty is currently Associate Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.