What is Camerata del Sol?

 

Camerata del Sol (CDS) is an innovative group of select musicians from Las Cruces, El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, that seeks to bring unique classical chamber music experiences to the region. 

 

The Camerata was founded by NMSU professor and violinist Daniel Vega-Albela, who understood that there was a crucial element of classical music missing from this region: chamber music. By comparison, most cities the size of Las Cruces or larger have an established professional chamber music scene. The creation and development of Camerata del Sol presents a very exciting cultural moment for our city.

 

How big is the Camerata? 

 

The size of the ensemble is flexible; it ranges from small chamber groups like duos, trios, and quartets, up to a small string orchestra or sinfonietta. In any scenario, the Camerata functions as conductorless ensemble, which requires that each individual player be responsible for bringing every score to life, as well as become an integral part of the creative process.

 

What is the difference between Camerata del Sol and the Las Cruces Symphony?

 

While the Las Cruces Symphony is the premier ensemble in our city to explore large works by classical composers, such as symphonies and romantic concertos, the large nature of LCSO presents a problem when it comes to performing musical works written for small ensembles. There is an incredible swath of repertoire written for small string orchestra, octet, nonet, quartet, etc., that was missing from our region prior to the Camerata’s inception. The Camerata acts as a compliment to the LCSO, rather than a competitor, and in fact, almost all of the Camerata members are current or former members of the LCSO.

 

How often does the Camerata perform?

 

In 2019, the Camerata held 5 concerts for the public. At the beginning of Covid, Camerata transformed into a quartet-on-wheels, performing short, intimate serenades for people in their driveways, from a safe distance away. Over the course of the first 15 months of the pandemic, Camerata performed over 100 serenades in Doña Ana, El Paso, and Sierra Counties. Camerata returned to playing public concerts in the spring of 2021 and now produces at least 2 public concerts every month. 

 

Where does the Camerata perform?

 

Very few Camerata concerts have been performed in the same place, and the ensemble enjoys playing in both conventional venues and unusual ones. Previous venues have included the Atkinson Recital Hall, the Newman Center Church, First Presbyterian Church in Las Cruces, First United Methodist Church in El Paso, La Viña Winery, the Good Samaritan Auditorium, Growing With Sara Farm (in Socorro, TX), Devasthali Hall, Pioneer Women's Park, a handful of public schools, and several intimate house concerts. Camerata also performs several high-quality virtual concerts each year.

 

How many people typically attend a Camerata performance?

 

Depending on the venue, the Camerata typically draws between 100 and 300 people to attend its concerts. Turnout for large venues averages at about 250 people.

 

How much does it cost to attend a Camerata concert?

 

The members of the Camerata have a strong belief that all music should be accessible to everyone. For too long, classical music has been stereotyped as an artform for the rich and elite. Therefore, Camerata concerts are almost always free, and our audiences are very diverse. From students to retirees, and regardless of income bracket, everyone is welcome to be a part of this exciting cultural movement.

 

What are the educational outreach initiatives that Camerata del Sol partakes in?

 

The Camerata has five tiers of educational outreach:

 

  1. In August 2021, Camerata began a free after-school music program at University Hills Elementary. The class is open to 3rd-5th graders, and there are currently 24 students enrolled. 

  2. Camerata plays outreach concerts at the public schools.

  3. Camerata plays side-by-side concerts with the public schools and NMSU. 

  4. Camerata invites advanced students from NMSU and UTEP to participate in our professional concerts. The Camerata members are some of the finest in this region, and they are paid as such. Inviting students to play with the ensemble provides them with financial aid, as well as the valuable experience of playing alongside seasoned professionals.

  5. Camerata has used concerts to collect donations to give to the music program at NMSU. For example, in April 2019, the Camerata produced a concert for Lent, and was able to raise $4,000 to give to scholarship funds at the NMSU music department.