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Alt.Latino Goes Classical: Orchestral Music From Latin America

José Martinez's mariachi opera <em>Cruzar La Cara De La Luna</em> premiered at the Houston Grand Opera in 2010.
Felix Sanchez
Houston Grand Opera
José Martinez's mariachi opera Cruzar La Cara De La Luna premiered at the Houston Grand Opera in 2010.

I bet you don't think of classical works when you think of the catch-all phrase "Latin music." But this episode of Alt.Latino is here to tell you that you should.

We invited our colleague Tom Huizenga to sit in this week for Jasmine Garsd while she takes a well-deserved vacation. Tom writes NPR Music's Deceptive Cadence blog about all things classical, and on this episode of Alt.Latino, he offers a concise beginner's overview of what and whom you should hear in classical music from Latin America.

If you think classical isn't your thing, consider these highlights from the show: music by a Brazilian composer that dramatically represents a train ride through the Brazilian jungle; newly discovered manuscripts that were locked in a Bolivian cathedral for centuries; an American pianist, this country's first big-shot music superstar, whose music was heavily influenced by Cuba; and two Mexican composers who put that country on the classical map shortly after the Mexican Revolution, with music celebrating the country's indigenous people.

And I didn't even mention the mariachi opera!

There's more to classical music from Latin America than you think. Listen now and discover that world for yourself.

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Felix Contreras
Felix Contreras is co-creator and co-host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.