Welcome to the Cayambis Institute for Latin American Studies in Music!

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Cayambis Institute for Latin American Studies in Music (CILASiM) seeks to strengthen the awareness and appreciation of Latin American classical music by developing a full spectrum approach to its creation, performance and scholarship, and in so doing, cultivate bonds of goodwill and unity among the peoples of the Americas. Or, as we like to say, our organization is using the richness and diversity of Latin American classical music as a bridge to unite all Americans, north, central and south. In pursuit of our mission, CILASiM is providing impactful opportunities to composers, performers and scholars, as well as enhancing the understanding of Latin American classical music among the general public.

Go ahead and hover your mouse over the ”Programs” tab in the menu above to reveal the four principle areas — performance, education, publishing and composition — in which we are working so as to achieve our goals. And feel free to take a look at the different categories within each program area: there’s a lot of exciting things going on!

But why all this effort?

Our objectives are inspired by the realization that all of us, whether we live in Quebec, Guatemala, Chile, or the U.S.A., are inheritors of a common heritage brought about by the encounter between indigenous inhabitants—for whom there was nothing new about their world—and European conquerors. Later, willingly or not, successive waves of immigrants made these lands their home, and contributed to the formation of independent nations, thus throwing off the fetters of European domination. Not only that, most American nations adopted a representative form of government.

Though this may be the quintessential characteristic of what it means to be an American, whether north, central or south, it was a determination made long before the creation of the Cayambis Institute. Indeed, during the lifetime of our grandparents and great grandparents, our country pursued a “Good Neighbor” policy, which gave rise to a movement known as musical Pan-Americanism.

At the forefront of this movement was the classical music of the Americas. Throughout the western hemisphere there was a constant exchange that brought musicians, educators and audiences together to celebrate, through music, that which unites us. And why not? If not this music, then what other cultural expression so perfectly synthesizes the numerous threads that make up the American spirit?

Sadly, though United States policy has stepped away from these spaces, the need to re-imagine the musical Pan-Americanism of the past has grown exponentially. We need people, who understand the implicit urgency of our mission, to contribute to its implementation. Are you such a person?

Consequently, we depend on the generous support of like-minded individuals just like you. Although we’re seeking funding from state and national arts agencies, large corporations, foundations and other similar entities, we need to particularly rely on our music-loving friends and neighbors here in southwest Virginia. With this in mind, we created
a donations link by which you can help us achieve our goals. If you’re able, we’d ask you to please consider investing in our bridge. There’s so much more connecting to do.