EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, VIOLINIST
Born and raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Amalia Zeitlin, 24, has been playing violin since the age of seven, continuing a tradition of at least four generations in her family. Amalia graduated cum laude from Boston University in 2017, where she received a Bachelors of Music degree, specializing in Violin Performance under the direction of Professor Peter Zazofsky. Additionally, Amalia studied for one semester at the Jerusalem Academy of Music, where she studied violin with Professor Michael Gaisler. Amalia is currently pursuing her Masters of Music degree at New Mexico State University, where she studies with Simon Gollo of La Catrina Quartet. She made her solo debut in 2019, playing Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante with the New Horizons Symphony Orchestra. Amalia is the principal 2nd violinist of the El Paso Symphony, and a section first violinist in the Las Cruces Symphony.
Simon Gollo is a gifted and committed pedagogue who keeps a very busy teaching schedule. This includes invitations to teach masterclasses around the world. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Nuevo Mundo Festival & Academy (2000-2016), and the Aruba Symphony Festival, 2017. Faculty member at the Summit Music Festival in New York and he is regularly invited by Professor Naoko Tanaka to the Juilliard School of Music. From 2006 to 2012 he was a violin professor at “El Sistema” and Mozarteum in Caracas.
Currently, Simon Gollo is Assistant Professor in the Department of Music at New Mexico State University (NMSU), Conductor of the NMSU Philharmonic and a member of La Catrina String Quartet. He is associate concertmaster at the Chamber Orchestra and Education Director of Classical Music Institute (CMI) in San Antonio, Texas.
Roberto Jurado has performed extensively in important venues throughout Mexico, such as Palacio de Bellas Artes, Sala Nezahualcóyotl, Auditorio Nacional, Teatro Degollado, and Teatro Juárez, among others. He has studied with such outstanding teachers as Ileana Vasileva, Odin Rathnam, Martin Valdeschak, Jorge Deleze, and Ana Bela Chaves. He has performed with renowned directors such as Paul Wakabayachi, Eugene Kohn, J. David Jackson, Enrique Barrios, Alondra de la Parra, Alfredo Ibarra, and has toured with the Symphony Orchestra of the Americas (YOA), the Chihuahua Philharmonic, The El Paso Opera Orchestra, and the Valencia Conservatory Symphony Orchestra.
In September 2012 he was a guest performer with the La Catrina Quartet at New Mexico State University (NMSU). He participated in the International String Festival in Lagos, Portugal, the Chihuahua International Festival, the Silkeborg Denmark Festival and "La Festa Antiqua" in Xalapa, Veracruz.
Dr. Laura Spitzer is Associate Professor of Piano at NMSU. A Steinway artist, she has performed under contract with Columbia Artist’s Community Concert Association and Canada’s Festival Concert Society, and was the recipient of four touring grants from the Nevada State Council on the Arts and the Nevada Humanities Committee. Spitzer traveled with her Steinway grand packed into her truck from 1984 to 2003, bringing classical music to hundreds of rural communities and schools throughout the U.S. and western Canada. In recognition of this contribution, she was honored with the Nevada Governor's Arts Award. She has been featured on major television networks and in such publications as People, Time, the New York Times and Clavier. Laura Spitzer attended Oberlin Conservatory, and completed her undergraduate studies at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, where she was awarded the Bösendorfer Stipend and graduated with distinction. She performed frequently as a member of the Austrian Ensemble for New Music, and recorded numerous programs for Austrian Radio. After taking first prize at the Kurt Leimer Competition, she earned her MM at the Peabody Institute and her DMA from the University of Southern California. Her principal teachers have been Walton Ball, Hans Leygraf, Leon Fleisher, and John Perry. As an adjunct instructor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, she recorded, performed, and toured with the Las Vegas Chamber Players. She teaches each year at the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program in California.
Born and raised in Las Cruces, NM, Julio Campos began his dedicated musical studies at age 17. He has earned a Bachelor of Music Education and a Master of Music – Performance from New Mexico State University, where he studied viola under the pragmatic guidance of Jorge Martinez-Rios. Throughout his studies, Julio has had the opportunity to learn from various distinguished violists, such as Randolph Kelly – Principal Viola of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and Richard Young of the Vermeer Quartet. Julio performs with various ensembles in the surrounding areas, and has recently been invited to perform with the CMI Chamber Orchestra in San Antonio, TX.
As a soloist he has performed with the UACJ Symphony Orchestra, the INFAO Chamber Orchestra, the Xalapa Filarmonía in Veracruz, the UACJ Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Lagos Festival Chamber Orchestra, Portugal.
In November of 2013, he made his debut as artistic director with the Ciudad Juárez Camerata "Taámi," conducting his first opera, "Dido and Aeneas" by Henry Purcell.
In 2013 he was invited to act as concertmaster for a gala concert with Plácido Domingo and the Esperanza Azteca National Orchestra. In the summer of 2015 he was invited to Denmark to study violin with Odin Rathnam, and conducting with Christian Horbøv.
He was violin instructor for Esperanza Azteca from 2013-2015. Currently, Mr. Jurado is a FONCA fellow and performer for the 2016-2017 Scenic Creators program and is a disciple of Daniel Vega-Albela, with whom he has been studying since 2011. He is assistant concertmaster of the OSUACJ and an active soloist in the region.
Elisabeth Greene is an active violist in the Southwest. She has been principal violist for a number of orchestras and is a regular member of the Las Cruces Symphony. She holds a Bachelors of
Music Degree from New Mexico State University. In addition to her solo recitals, she has performed as a chamber musician with members of the La Catrina Quartet, NMSU String Quartet, C4 Ensemble, Vox Vallis Women’s Ensemble, and the
Classical Music Institute Chamber Orchestra to mention but a few. Ms. Greene has coached sectionals for high school orchestras in Texas and New Mexico for the
last two years, as well as worked with after-school programs for children such as Kindermusik in 2015 in Las Cruces, NM.
Ms. Greene has also performed with the Classical Music Institute’s Summer Education Program, Nuevo Mundo Festival and Academy Ensembles in Oranjestad, Aruba. Most recently, she recorded the soundtrack for the short film Bois Mort directed by Hannah Saunders. Currently, she keeps a busy agenda teaching and performing in the San Antonio area and is
auditioning to M.M. Degree Programs in the US.
Ian Narlock is a double bassist from El Paso, Texas. As a student of Paul Sharpe, he received a B.A. degree from Texas Tech University and a M.M. degree from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Currently, he is the Principal Double Bass of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra and the Assistant Principal of the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra. In the past, he has played for many regional orchestras in Texas, New Mexico, and North Carolina. As an educator, he has served as faculty at the Chamber Music on the Hill Festival (NC), the El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestras, staff at the Bad Boyz of Bass Camp (IN), as well as maintaining a private studio.
Ray Arreola is a section violist with the El Paso Symphony and Las Cruces Symphony. He has also performed regularly with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Ciudad Juárez, Roswell Symphony, Doña Ana Lyric Opera, and NMSU Masterworks Chorus, and he worked as the orchestra librarian for two years with the Las Cruces Symphony. Ray received his Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance degree from New Mexico State University where he served as Principal Viola in the University Orchestra for three years.
Ray was a Grand-Prizewinner in the Kutztown Summer Chamber Music Festival Chamber Music Competition in 2014, Prizewinner in the Kutztown Summer Chamber Music Festival’s Concerto Competition in 2013, and a semi-finalist in the Young Artist Concerto Competition at Conservatory Music in the Mountains Festival in 2011. Ray was a full scholarship recipient at the International Lyric Academy in Vicenza, Italy in 2019. He has also been the recipient of the Isabella Rutter Scholarship, La Concha String Scholarship, Dean’s Honors List, Crimson Scholar Program, and Youth Optimist Award.
Ray Arreola performed in a chamber music setting coached by the Latin Grammy award-winning, La Catrina String Quartet, Jorge Martinez-Rios, Daniel Vega-Albela, Kurt Nikkanen, Richard Young, Junah Chung, Adriana Linares, Maria Asteriadou, Susanna Loewy, Rita Porfiris, and Misha Galaganov.
As an educator, Ray maintained a private teaching studio for violin and viola in Las Cruces, and he served as the Viola Sectionals coach for the El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestras for two seasons. Ray was the Music Director at the J. Paul Taylor Academy, and he founded the orchestra program at Alma D’Arte Charter High School in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Ray Arreola served on the String Faculty at the 2017 Youth International Chamber Music Festival in Greece. Ray was the Orchestra Director at Franklin High School in El Paso, Texas. Currently, he is the Conductor and Viola teacher for the Las Cruces Youth Orchestras.
Dr. Stephen Nordstrom is currently Assistant Professor of Violin at the University of Texas at El Paso, where he teaches violin, viola, and classes in musicianship and graduate string pedagogy. He has been on the summer faculties of the renowned Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan and Camp Encore/Coda in Maine, teaching violin and chamber music to young students from across the United States and the world. Dr. Nordstrom has presented clinics for the American String Teachers Association and the Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas Music Educators Associations, and is a frequent performer of new music for the College Music Society. With co-author Kevin Nordstrom, he has contributed numerous pedagogical articles on upper-string playing to the American String Teacher journal. Dr. Nordstrom has recently given masterclasses at Texas Lutheran University, Wright State University, Earlham College, and at the Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua and has performed solo and chamber music recitals in Mexico, Belgium, and the United States. An active performer on both violin and viola, he has recorded an album of new works for viola and piano with composer Dominic Dousa, titled A Musical Portrait of the American Southwest. This critically acclaimed album was given a Critic's Choice Award from American Record Guide in 2017 and featured in Gramophone UK's "Sounds of America". Dr. Nordstrom received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Texas and Master of Music, Artist Diploma, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.