Students bring music theory, arranging skills, and history to life at Autry concerts
Graduate music students from Cal State LA take the stage at the Autry National Center for two electrifying evenings of Latin jazz inspired by the musical cultures of the Caribbean. Leaving the classroom for real-life performance experience is part of the required curriculum.
The CSULA Afro-Latin Ensemble is dedicated to the performance of salsa, timba, Afro-Cuban, and Afro-Caribbean music. Repertoire ranges from classic danzones and early conjunto classics to contemporary salsa and timba charts. Most of the music comes from transcriptions of the music and originals created by the graduate students and professional arrangers. Band members are students in the Master of Music in Afro-Latin Music program at California State University, Los Angeles.
The award-winning ensemble is under the direction of Dr. Paul De Castro, founder and director of the Master of Music degree option in Afro-Latin Music. Students learn the art of arranging, orchestration, and idiomatic writing for instruments such as congas, timbales, bongos, and maracas. They study practical, theoretical, historical, and philosophical topics, with a strong emphasis on discourse with professional musicians in Los Angeles. In addition, students perform in public concerts such as the two at the Autry.
“Showcasing this group of talented students at the Autry helps continue our relationship with our loyal audience for Sizzling Summer Nights, which features the top Latin bands in town. The students from the Afro-Latin Ensemble who grace our Sizzling Summer Nights stage will graduate, become members of local bands, or create their own. This is an opportunity to give them early exposure to the audience they seek to entertain,” said John Gray, President and CEO, Autry National Center.
Light refreshments will be served after the concert.