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Cayambis Sinfonietta.


One of the objectives of the Cayambis Institute for Latin American Studies in Music (CILASiM) is to increase 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 Crone, flute
  • Eileen Young, clarinet
  • Amber Ferenz Spuller, bassoon
  • Matt Cataldi, piano
  • Al Wojtera, percussion
  • Charley Shafer, violin
  • Lisa Liske-Doorandish, cello
  • John Spuller, string bass


The Sinfonietta’s program, 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 ten pieces that make up the program, the Sinfonietta will demonstrate its versatility by performing a representative cross section of Latin America’s most important styles over the past one hundred thirty-five years, including Italianate opera overtures, Ecuadorean indigenism, Chilean impressionism, Mexican folklorism, etc., and ending with a delightfully modern take on the tango by Argentine composer Federico Núñez. 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.

But having said all of this, one of our favorites is a piece from Venezuela, which was inspired by the unexpected beauty found along a path leading up to a mountain summit.

Juan Bautista Plaza, El Picacho Abrupto (The Unexpected Peak).

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.

At times, the Sinfonietta has collaborated with vocalists in order to perform some of the most imaginative and innovative music from Latin America, such as in the case of Venezuelan composer Luis Pérez Valero’s 2014 work, Eremuk. In this setting of some of the traditional texts of the indigenous Pemon of Venezuela, the composer uses a number of vocal techniques in order to capture the mysticism of these texts, while at the same a colorful and constantly shifting instrumental environment is further enhancing the fundamental essence of their words.

Luis Pérez Valero, Eremuk.
Performed by the Cayambis Sinfonietta.

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 $2500.00
Concert and Master Class $3000.00
(Travel costs may be additional).

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

The Cayambis Sinfonietta recommends the following compositions:
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Silva, Pido Venganza por el Valiente
¡Pido venganza por el valiente!, by Rene Silva
Tenor (G3 - E4), alto sax, bassoon, contrabass, percussion and piano. more info

Our Price: US$24.90
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Galindo, Chacala
Chacala, by Demian Galindo
Mixed quintet (flute, bass clarinet, guitar, violin and contrabass).
more info

Our Price: US$24.90
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Perez Valero, Eremuk
Eremuk, by Luis Perez Valero
Baritone (D3 - F#4) and mixed septet (fl, cl, bsn, vln, vc, cb, piano). more info

Our Price: US$49.40
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Santaella, SineModus
SineModus, op. 84, by Miguel Santaella
Octet for tenor (C3-Ab4), flute, clarinet, bassoon, violin, cello, contrabass and piano. more info

Our Price: US$29.90
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Holliday, Topographic Resonance
Topographic Resonance, by Kent Holliday
Flute, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, violin, cello and piano. more info

Our Price: US$28.90
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