Guitar Orchestra and Latin American Ensemble

José Lezcano, Director

Course number:  MU 178

Dr. Jose Lezcano

Keene State is unique among New England schools for its Guitar Orchestra.

The  KSC Guitar Orchestra has been a curricular offering since the 1970s.  Since 1991, and under the direction of Dr. Jose Lezcano, the KSC Guitar Orchestra has performed on a tour of Northern Ecuadorean Universities, and for Quito’s prestigious “Casa de la Musica” concert hall (2010).

The group has performed frequently at the annual concerts (Festival 21 and New England Ensembles) sponsored by the Boston Guitar Society; has performed in Staten Island, NYC, with the Curtis High School Guitar Orchestra; and was a featured showcase ensemble for the New Hampshire Music Educators’ Association All-State Festival.

In addition to its spring and fall performances at Redfern Arts Center, it has performed frequently in the region for civic groups, churches, and schools, and is open by audition to students, staff, and community members.  We encourage guitar aficionados to join us!

Guitar Orchestra, 2018
The Latin American Ensemble

The Keene State Latin American Ensemble (Cotopaxi) is open to students and members of the campus community. No previous musical experience or reading ability is required. Although all styles of Latin music are programmed, the ensemble specializes in the folkloric and ritual music of the Andes. The music of the Andes (Peru, Ecuador, Chile, and other South American nations) has travelled around the globe, due to touring professional ensembles such as Inti Illiamni and Quillapayun, who also performed it as a vehicle for social commentary and protest. The exotic timbres of panpipes, charangos (Andean guitar), bombo (Andean drum), and mostly pentatonic melodies, have captivated audiences from stage to subway platforms. Much of this music has its origins in ritual observances such as Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun), celebrated in its hybrid, syncretic form, as San Juan (Saint John). These rituals and musical traditions have endured centuries of European colonization and are a testament to the strength of Indigenous and Mestizo peoples and cultures. Students and community members learn to play the panpipes of Southern Peru and Ecuador in dialogue style, a traditional communal practice. Also included in the ensemble’s concerts are autochthonous string instruments from the Music Department’s inventory which can be checked out for individual study. The ensemble was founded by Dr. Jose Lezcano in 1992, and is a component of the academic courses IAMU 112 (Latin American Music Survey) and IAMU 312 (Latin American Music, Society, and Culture).


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