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NMSU's La Catrina Quartet wins 2012 Latin Grammy award

The La Catrina Quartet at New Mexico State University won a 2012 Latin Grammy in November for their work on the album, "Brasileiro, works of Mignone," by Cuarto Latinoamericano. The award-winning CD, on the Sono Lumnius label, won for Best Classical Recording, with the ensemble collaborating on Francisco Mignone's "Seresta for double quartet."

Four-member string quartet posing with their instruments
The La Catrina Quartet at New Mexico State University recently won a 2012 Latin Grammy for their work on the album, "Brasileiro, works of Mignone," by Cuarto Latinoamericano. Pictured left to right are faculty members Daniel Vega-Albela, Roberta Arruda, Jorge Martinez-Rios and Cesar Martinez. (Courtesy photo)

"This Latin Grammy is a tremendous honor for La Catrina," said Lon Chaffin, NMSU music department head. "It is confirmation of their excellent musicianship and the professional level at which they perform."

The string quartet in residence at NMSU tours regularly throughout the U.S. and Mexico, and has received several awards and recognitions, such as Western Michigan University's All University Research and Creative Scholar Award and the North Carolina Arts Council cARTwheels 2009 and 2010 touring program.

Faculty members collaborating on the award-winning project were violinists Daniel Vega-Albela and Roberta Arruda, cellist Cesar Martinez and violist Jorge Martinez-Rios.

"We are proud to represent NMSU around the U.S.," Martinez-Rios said. "This award will definitely keep the quartet with a busy concert agenda. And locally, we'll continue doing our outreach concerts as well as recruiting and showing students from New Mexico and abroad what we are doing here in the Department of Music."

In addition to the Grammy, season 2012 proved eventful for group members.

In May, the National Endowment for the Arts Mexico (CONACULTA), invited Martinez-Rios to record chamber music works by Jose Pablo Moncayo, a revered Mexican pianist, composer and conductor who passed away in 1958. Martinez-Rios recorded "String Trio" and "Sonata for Viola and Piano" for the project.

"This would be an historical recording since his chamber music was recently released by the Moncayo family," Martinez-Rios said. "They called on Mexican musicians from around the world to participate."

Additionally, L'Orfeo Magazine, a popular online Spanish magazine dedicated to the arts, recently featured Martinez-Rios as their "Artist of the Month." In the article, he talked about his work at NMSU and his life as a musician.

To read the article in Spanish visit their website at http://nueva.lorfeo.org/2012/12/03/artista-del-mes-jorge-martinez-rios/.

La Catrina performs up to 50 concerts a year. Last season included performances at the University of Washington World Series in Seattle, the New Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, the Symphony Space in New York, and the Mexican Embassy Series in Washington, D.C.

In February 2013, they are scheduled to appear at the Manon Caine Russell Kathryn Caine Wanlass Performance Hall on the Utah State University campus with a short evening performance at the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church. Additionally, they will perform at the Chamber Music Society in Ogden.

They are currently working to record and release four CDs of Mexican, Latin-American and European string quartet music as well as a collaborative recording with tuba player James Shearer, a Regents Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences.

"This award should be a very positive reflection of the high caliber of world-class talent and musicianship we have here in the music department at NMSU," Chaffin said. "We're very fortunate to have La Catrina, among others, represent us to the public."

For more information about the quartet visit their website at http://www.lacatrinaquartet.com/index.html.