Q&A: UI flute professor Nicole Esposito will perform with the Alturas Duo at album release show

BY EMILY BURDS | MARCH 28, 2013 5:00 AM

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One of the University of Iowa’s very own will celebrate her latest CD release today with a concert in the Riverside Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m. Nicole Esposito, one of the UI’s leading flute professors in the School of Music, will perform with album partners the Alturas Duo to promote their new Latin music CD, Blue Solitude. The DI caught up with Esposito in preparation for the concert to ask her about this new venture.

DI: Why did you choose to come to Iowa after traveling all over the world? What drew you here?

Esposito: I have been teaching at the University of Iowa for the past six years, and every time I travel, Iowa City is the perfect place which to come home. I enjoy a tranquil community with a diverse range of happenings and one that has respect for arts and education.

The University of Iowa School of Music has a great history of excellence in higher music education, and I enjoy working with my fantastic students and colleagues.

One of the reasons why I love what I do so much is that part of my job is to travel and perform as well as teach. For me, it is the best of both worlds.

DI: Can you explain this project and how it came about?

Esposito: The violist (and charango player) of the Alturas Duo, Carlos Boltes, and I went to school together at Carnegie-Mellon University. A few years back, I became aware that Carlos had a viola/charango and guitar duo with guitarist Scott Hill.

For anyone who may not be familiar with the charango, it is a small, lute-like string instrument from the Andes.

One day Carlos and I were casually chatting after many years of not having contact, and we thought that it would be fun to play a concert together as a trio. After performing together, we realized that we had instant chemistry as a group and decided that it would be an exciting project to record an album of Latin American music.

DI: Why Latin music? What inspired you to do that?

Esposito: The world “Alturas” means heights in Spanish. The Alturas Duo often performs Latin American music, especially from the Andes Mountains region, because Carlos Boltes is from Chile, and there is a wealth of folk music which involves the charango and the guitar. It also happens that many great composers from Central and South America have written substantial pieces of chamber music for flute, viola, and guitar.

Each of the three of us often performs in South America and has a fondness for the music. Our album involves some traditional folk-like music and also more classically written pieces for the trio combination.

DI: How was it working with the Alturas Duo?

Esposito: Working with the Alturas Duo is great. We keep our rehearsals lighthearted and have a lot of fun together. They are expressive and diverse musicians.

DI: What are you most looking forward to about this release?

Esposito: Celebrating music and collaboration. These are the things I have dedicated my life to the most.

DI: What do you hope people get from this music?

Esposito: Latin American music is very rich and diverse. Each country and culture has deep-rooted history and folkloric traditions. I hope that listeners will get a sense of the range of music that Latin America has to offer, from the more traditional and popular tunes to pieces that could be found on any serious chamber music concert stage.

DI: What’s next for you in the future?

Esposito: I do a lot of traveling for performances and teaching master classes. In the next year, however, I will focus on doing many on-campus concerts, writing articles for flute publications, and working on my next CD projects.

In the summers, I host an international workshop at the UI for piccolo players called the Iowa Piccolo Intensive. This summer will mark the third year of the Intensive, and so far, we have had students come all the way from Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, and Singapore, as well as from around the United States.

What: CD Release Concert
Who: Nicole Esposito and Alturas Duo (Carlos Boltes and Scott Hill)
When: 7:30 p.m. today
Where: Riverside Recital Hall

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