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. The Camerata had planned to hold at least 8 concerts in 2020, but because of COVID-19, we had to postpone our large events. Instead, we have transformed into a quartet-on-wheels, which performs short, intimate serenades for people in their driveways, from a safe distance away. Since the outbreak, we have performed a dozen serenades, and we will continue to do so during the summer months. To book your own serenade, please call 575-642-3727 or email director@cameratadelsol.org


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, a handful of public schools, and several intimate house concerts. Because of COVID-19, we are currently only performing driveway serenades. 


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 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. Providing free chamber music coachings to middle school and high school students, enabling the young musicians to flourish and learn the art of chamber music. 

  2. Playing outreach concerts at the public schools.

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

  4. Inviting advanced students from NMSU and UTEP to participate in the Camerata’s 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. Collecting 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.