Why and what we’re doing.

The history of Latin American classical music reveals a syncretic blend of European, African and indigenous influences, that when taken together constitute a particularly rich palette of sonic resources that is unique to that region. Although it is certainly without question that classical works of great beauty have been composed in North America and in Europe, because of its proximity to native traditions the classical music of Latin America offers a directness to its people and their culture that is without parallel.

At the same time, however, this music may be perceived as difficult to interpret by North Americans who are outside of its traditions. In effect, and perhaps due to this reason, there is actually less Latin American classical music being performed in this country than one might think. In fact, many major symphony orchestras do not program a single Latin American work across an entire season; similarly, the conductors of university orchestras are largely unlikely to include Latin American works on their programs. This problem also extends to the academic world. Although many traditional college music programs have been augmented by courses or programs in “world music,” the classical music of Latin America still receives less attention than it deserves. Indeed, at a recent convention of the world’s largest body of Latin Americanists, the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), out of the nearly 4000 papers that were presented, only one of these focused on Latin American classical music.

Consequently, CILASiM was formed to address this need and to serve as one of the world’s leading advocates for Latin American classical music. In so doing the Institute is seeking to promote this music through various programs and services that are designed to stimulate the composition, performance and study of this music. The organization is led by President and CEO Dr. John L. Walker, who as a musicologist has written extensively about Latin American classical music, particularly as it relates to the emigration of European musicians to Latin America from about 1850 to 1920. Walker is also the founder of Cayambis Music Press, which during the past six years has published hundreds of quality works by contemporary composers from throughout Latin America, as well as a growing number of historically significant compositions from the 19th and 20th centuries.

As an essential part of CILASiM, Cayambis Music Press will continue in its mission to publish the finest classical music from Latin America. This will never change. However, under the guidance of a dedicated and able board of directors, CILASiM will soon grow to include a specialized full-time workforce. And when that happens, hang on!

In the meantime, if you would like to become part of this project in any way or form, please let us know