Arts & Entertainment

Quartet embraces culture

String together four capable musicians, a couple of violins, a viola and a cello and you've got the trappings for some beautiful music.

Making up the La Catrina String Quartet are Daniel Vega-Albela, Blake Espy, Jorge Martinez and Alan Daowz.

The Mexican-American quartet performs at the next Camerata Musica concert Feb. 27 in the Battelle Auditorium in Richland.

The quartet also will perform a 1 p.m. concert at Ochoa Middle School in Pasco before their evening performance at 8 p.m. at Battelle. Both events are free.

La Catrina takes its name from a beloved Mexican folk figure that is part of the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration, said Onnie Adams with Camerata Musica.

"La Catrina is a skeleton dressed in a sweeping ball gown," Adams said. "The members of the quartet, however, are lively young men whose only resemblance to La Catrina consists of being just as whimsical and captivating as the lady herself."

Renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma also gives praise to the quartet's music, as well as the group's role in music education.

The quartet performs a unique blend of Latin-American and traditional classical music.

Violinist Vega-Albela of Mexico City won a silver medal in the first national violin competition in Mexico City when he was just 15. The following year he moved to New York City, where he earned his bachelor's degree in violin performance at Mannes College of Music.

Espy, from Savannah, Ga., has been playing the violin since he was 6. He is the concertmaster of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra and performs frequently with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. He also spent a summer in Mexico City performing with the Orquestra Sinfonca de Minería.

Martinez is from Coahuila, Mexico, where he studied the viola at the Conservatoria de las Rosas. He completed his master's in viola performance at Western Michigan University.

Daowz was born in Mexico City and began playing the cello at age 18. He studied under Mexican cellist Jose Luis Galvez.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com

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