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Cayambis Sinfonietta.


One of the objectives of the Cayambis Institute for Latin American Studies in Music (CILASiM) is to strengthen the awareness and appreciation of Latin American classical music. In support of this mission, the Institute operates a professional ensemble, the Cayambis Sinfonietta, which is made up of winds, strings, percussion and piano; in essence, the ensemble is like a miniature orchestra that can effectively perform a wide range of music of different styles and time periods.

Directed by John L. Walker, the group’s repertoire comprises many exclusive works written for the ensemble by leading composers from throughout Latin America as well as carefully prepared arrangements of some of the most important Latin American and U.S. works from the mid 19th to early 20th century, such as the overture from the opera, Il Guarany, by Brazilian composer Carlos Antônio Gomes and René Amengual’s Preludio sinfónico.


  • Elizabeth Lantz, flute
  • Eileen Young, clarinet
  • Amber Ferenz Spuller, bassoon
  • Matt Cataldi, piano
  • Al Wojtera, percussion
  • Myles Thomas, percussion
  • Charley Shafer, violin
  • Lisa Liske-Doorandish, cello
  • John Spuller, string bass


The Sinfonietta’s repertoire, unlike that of any other US-based performance ensemble, is an exciting journey through some of the best instrumental music that the American hemisphere has to offer. Across the more than six pieces that make up its program, the Sinfonietta will demonstrate its versatility by performing a representative cross section of the western hemisphere’s most important styles over the past one hundred thirty-five years, including Italianate opera overtures, Chilean impressionism, Guatemalan indigenism, Mexican folklorism, etc., as well as with a delightfully modern take on the tango by Argentine composer Federico Núñez, recently premiered by the Sinfonietta:

At the same time, however, we are proud to highlight some of this country’s overlooked gems from the turn of the century, such as Edward MacDowell’s The Saracens and Henry Gilbert’s symphonic prologue, Riders to the Sea.

Your audience will not only enjoy a truly unique concert experience, but also, will gain a greater appreciation of the richness and diversity of our hemisphere’s classical music.

Technical Requirements.

Adequate lighting; 20’ x 20’ stage; tuned piano, music stands and straight-back chairs without arms. For more specific information, please review our technical rider.


Because of the ensemble’s unique repertoire, fees may vary slightly, depending on the number of musicians involved.

Concert $3000.00
Concert and Master Class $3500.00
(Travel costs may be additional).

Upcoming Events.

The Sinfonietta is planning on taking a three-city tour of western Virginia during April, 2023. Watch this space for more details as they develop!

In the meantime, check out our beautiful program booklet from our inaugural performance on May 19, 2022.

We’d like to thank The Puffin Foundation for their support of this project.

School Shows.

The Sinfonietta has also developed an interactive school show built around an iconic Mexican orchestral work to demonstrate and explain the typical elements of Latin American classical music. (Please note: for the time being, we can only make this program available to middle and high schools in southwest Virginia, southern West Virginia and north-central North Carolina).
Click here for more information!


John L. Walker
PO Box 10164
Blacksburg, VA 24062
email: sinfonietta@cilasim.org