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NMSU?s La Catrina Quartet nominated for 2014 Latin Grammy Award

The La Catrina String Quartet at New Mexico State University has been nominated for 2014 Latin Grammy Award. They?ll find out if they win at the annual awards ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 20, in Las Vegas.

La Catrina Quartet members from left to right: Daniel Vega-Albela, Jorge Martinez Rios, Jorge Espinoza and Roberta Arruda. (Courtesy Photo)

It?s not the first time the group has been nominated for a Latin Grammy. They won the award for one of their recordings in 2012.

The string quartet in residence in NMSU?s College of Arts and Sciences, has been nominated for Best Classical Composition for their recording of ?String Quartet No. 2? by Cuban composer and producer Yalil Guerra. The piece is featured on La Catrina?s latest album, ?America Latina: A Musical Canvas.?

?I was driving to drop my son off at daycare, and I saw the phone call from our producer, Yalil Guerra,? said Jorge Martinez-Rios, describing when he first learned of the nomination. ?I thought ?Oh, no, bad news,? and he said, ?Jorge, guess what ? get ready, we?re going to Las Vegas.?

?I was very excited. I never thought that would happen once, and now we?ve been nominated twice. We?ll see what happens.?

The group won a Latin Grammy in 2012 for Best Classical Recording on ?Seresta for double quartet,? a collaboration they did with Cuarteto Latinoamericano. The ensemble is made up of founding members violinist Daniel Vega-Albela and Martinez-Rios on the viola, who have since been joined by violinist Roberta Arruda and cellist Jorge Espinoza. All are assistant professors of music at NMSU?s College of Arts and Sciences.

The nomination is a huge feat for a duo of friends who started out as an ?amateur enterprise and didn?t intend to become a professional group,? according to Vega-Albela.

By the time the quartet joined NMSU?s music department faculty in fall 2009, they?d already played more than 200 concerts.

La Catrina has established itself with a reputation for blending Latin American styles and modern repertoire, as reflected in the members? threefold mission ? to perform the masterworks of the string quartet repertoire, to promote Mexican and Latin American concert music worldwide and to work closely with composers in order to promote the performance of new music.

?I am so pleased to hear La Catrina has been nominated for a second Latin Grammy Award,? said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Christa Slaton. ?Listening to La Catrina is a treat for the soul. Their musical style is unlike any other ? a kind of dance between passion and grace. They deserve this recognition and I wish them all the best in Las Vegas.?

La Catrina?s other career highlights include performing at the University of Washington World Series, a performance with the Orquesta Filarmonica de la Ciudad de Mexico and playing at international festivals.

?If we?re talking about the romantic aspect of what we do, just playing for a group of elementary school students around here and seeing their excitement about music, that has a lot of meaning for us,? Martinez-Rios said. ?I think that?s probably why we love education so much. There?s nothing better than hearing our students and thinking, ?They?re sounding really good.? It?s really rewarding.?

To learn more about La Catrina String Quartet, visit http://www.lacatrinaquartet.com.