The Cuarteto Latinoamericano—a family affair

By Veronica Byrne

The award-winning Cuarteto Latinoamericano, comprised of the three Bitrán brothers—cellist Alvaro and violinists Saúl and Arón—along with violinist Javier Montiel, is considered the preeminent string quartet in Latin America. Pro Musica is delighted to welcome the Cuarteto back to San Miguel after last year’s sold out concerts. This year, the Cuarteto will perform two concerts at St. Paul’s Church.

Concert: Pro Musica Concert Series, Cuarteto Latinoamericano. Sat & Sun, Feb 25 & 26, 5pm. St. Paul’s Church. 100/150/250 pesos.

The Bitrán brothers began their careers as international child prodigies. Saúl began studying violin at age six in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and continued at the National Conservatory in Mexico City and the Rubin Academy in Tel Aviv. Alvaro began playing cello in Chile at the age of seven, and plays an instrument made in Vienna in 1817 by Martin Stoss. Aron also studied at the National Conservatory of Mexico, and their founding partner, violinist Javier Montiel, achieved distinction at the age of 19, playing with the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico.

Formed in 1982, the Cuarteto has recorded nearly the entire Latin American repertoire for string quartet, and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2002, as well as for a Latin Grammy. It has performed as a soloist ensemble with many esteemed orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Seattle Symphony, the Orquesta Filarmónica de la Ciudad de México, the Dallas Symphony and the Simón Bolívar Orquesta de Venezuela, as well as touring extensively in the Americas, Europe, Japan, China, New Zealand and Israel. From 1988 until 2008, the Cuarteto was in residence at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2008, the quartet left to serve as quartet-in-residence at the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.

The ensemble has garnered much acclaim for its unique style and powerful technical skills, and is generally credited with exerting a profound influence on the next generation of Latin American string players. The Washington Post describes the Cuarteto as, “Matchless in tonal magnitude…tuneful fluency and concentrated teamwork.”

It is with this in mind that we will enjoy Friday’s program, featuring the Samuel Barber Adagio from Quartet Op. 11, Franz Schubert’s Quartettsatz, and Movement for Quartet in C Minor D 703, George Gershwin’s Lullaby and Maurice Ravel’s Quartet in F Major.

Saturday’s program will focus on W. A Mozart’s Adagio and Fugue in C minor K 546, followed by Alexander Borodin’s String Quartet No. 2 and Johannes Brahms’ Quartet Op. 51, No. 2 in A Minor.

These two concerts by the Cuarteto Latinoamericano undoubtedly will bring another exciting weekend of top quality music making to Pro Musica’s 2012 season. Pro Musica’s concerts regularly sell out in high season and we urge you to buy your tickets early. Tickets are available at La Tienda in the Biblioteca, Insurgentes 25; La Conexión, Aldama 3; BajioGo, Jesus 11; at St.Paul’s Church office, Cardo 6, weekdays, 10am-4pm; and at the door half an hour before the concert.

You can help Pro Musica continue to bring great musicians like the Cuarteto Latinoamericano to San Miguel by becoming a Patron Member, from as little as US$100 a year, which includes a range of benefits such as free tickets and suppers with the artists. Part of your donation also goes to fund Pro Musica’s Education Outreach Program, which provides weekly music lessons to over 60 children in disadvantaged areas of the campo around San Miguel. Details of all Pro Musica’s concerts and Patron Membership are available,, or contact

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