Blue Solitude

Nicole Esposito, flute
Scott Hill, guitar
Carlos Boltes, viola, charango





Alturas Duo Nicole Esposito

Blue Solitude:

    Leo Brouwer: Paisajes, retratos y mujeres
    1. Retrato de Wagner con Mathilde
    2. Mujer bailando un minueto
    3. La pasión según Dowland
    Raimundo Penaforte
    4. Elegia
    5. Interlúdo
    6. Ariel Ramírez: Alfonsina y el mar
    7. Peruvian Folk Song: Diosllai Runa
    8. José and Roberto Márquez: Sipassy
    Sergio Assad: Winter Impressions
    9. The Frozen Garden
    10. Blue Solitude
    11. Fire Place

Program Notes:

Paisajes, retratos y mujeres (Portraits, Landscapes, and Women) was written for TrioConBrio in 1997 by the esteemed Cuban composer Leo Brouwer (1938- ). This masterful piece reveals a fully matured composer in total command of all the technical and musical possibilities that the three instruments have to offer. The work begins with Retrato de Wagner y Mathilde (Portrait of Wagner and Mathilde) which opens with a graceful three note idea that is varied tonally and rhythmically around a series of contrasting interludes that inevitably circle back to the opening motif. This is followed by Mujer bailando un minueto (Woman Dancing a Minuet) which employs a conventional minuet dance rhythm in three. This takes the listener through a variety of key, rhythm and character changes that are surprisingly interrupted by a scherzo like trio that features a remarkable interplay of rhythmic parlance between the three instruments. The piece ends with La pasión según Dowland (The Passion According to Dowland), a tribute to the great Renaissance composer and lutenist, John Dowland (1563-1626). This final movement begins with a slow and simple melody played by all three instruments that later builds through a series of variations, gaining in force and complexity. As the variations come to a halt, the piece suddenly slows down and concludes with an eerie, yet beautiful epilogue.

Elegia and Interlúdio, which form a part of Three Pieces for Flute, Viola and Guitar, were both composed by New York based, Brazilian born composer, Raimundo Penaforte. Elegia was originally part of Sweet New York; a suite for trumpet and piano commissioned by trumpeter, Fernando Dissenha in 1995. It was written as a tribute to Mr. Penaforte's former teacher, Stephen Albert, upon his passing and has been arranged for a variety of ensembles since its creation. Interlúdio was commissioned by Arizona Friends of Chamber Music as part of a four-movement work named Quartetice for the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet in 1999. Both pieces were arranged by the composer for this recording.

Alfonsina y el mar (Alfonsina and the sea) is a popular folk song composed by Ariel Ramírez (1921-2010) about the suicide of the renowned Argentine poet, Alfonsina Storni (1892-1938), who drowned herself by walking into the ocean. The piece was written using a traditional Argentine zamba rhythm and was made famous by the legendary Mercedes Sosa (1935-2009) on the 1969 album, Mujeres Argentinas. The present instrumental arrangement was made by the Cuban-American composer, José Lezcano (1960- ).

Taken from a collection of Peruvian villancicos (Christmas carols) Diosllai Runa was discovered by Carlos Boltes while on tour in Lima during the late 1980's. It is a very intimate song with lyrics that appeal to a longing for spiritual salvation. The present arrangement was made by the performers for this recording.

Sipassy is an instrumental work that was composed by José and Roberto Márquez of the celebrated Chilean folk ensemble, Illapu. The piece was originally written for charango, bombo and quena (Charango is a ten string guitar like instrument from the Andes region, bombo is a hollowed wood drum, and the quena is an Andean wood flute). The present version was taken by ear off their 1976 album "Despedida del pueblo" and was arranged by the Alturas Duo for this recording.

Representing the composer's impression of a cold winter's day, Winter Impressions was written by the Brazilian guitarist and composer, Sergio Assad (1952- ) for TrioConBrio, in 1996. The Frozen Garden begins with an icy, rhythmic motif in the guitar line that later merges with similar syncopated ideas on the flute and viola. These ideas develop until interrupted by an improvisatory section and the movement ends with a recap of the piece's opening material. The second movement, Blue Solitude is a slow, beautifully melodic lament that is suspended by a danceable rhythmic segment at its mid-point. For a moment, this brings the listener to the warmer climate of Brazil until the return of the nostalgic lyrical underpinnings of the opening. Finally, the piece closes with Fire Place an intense and rhythmic journey that devotes a lengthy, somnolent solo to the guitarist. The opening rhythm returns with a vengeance and the piece concludes with an intense finale.


A charismatic and versatile flutist, Nicole Esposito is the flute professor at The University of Iowa. She has achieved a career as a soloist, teacher, chamber and orchestral musician on an international level having been featured across the United States, Europe, Central and South America. Esposito has performed at numerous events including the National Flute Association Conventions, as well as regional conferences including the Oklahoma Flute Fair, Florida Flute Fair, Madison Flute Festival, West Virginia Flute Fling and the Iowa Flute Festival. Recent and upcoming invitations include appearances at the San Francisco International Flute Festival, The Texas Summer Flute Symposium, Festival Virtuosi, Brazil, the International Flute Festival sponsored by the Brazilian Flute Association, the Santa Maria International Winter Festival, the International Flute Festival of Costa Rica, the Spanish National Flute Convention, Bogotá Flute Festival, the International Flute Congress of Argentina, Chilean Flute Encounter and the European Piccolo Festival in Slovenia. As an orchestral musician, Esposito has performed under some of the worlds leading conductors, including James Conlon, David Zinman, Gunther Schuller, and Robert Spano. Former principal flute with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, she has also performed with the Quad City Symphony, Cedar Rapids Symphony, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, Youngstown (OH) Symphony, and the Johnstown and Westmoreland (PA) Symphony Orchestras. Esposito has held the Piccolo Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival and has also been Principal Flute of the Ohio Light Opera, with whom she can be heard on three recordings. Esposito holds degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Michigan. She has been a finalist or prizewinner in several prestigious competitions including the National Flute Association's Young Artist, Piccolo Artist, and Orchestral Competitions, the WAMSO Competition sponsored by the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition. Nicole Esposito is a Miyazawa performing artist.

Nicole's Website

The Alturas Duo has been recognized as one of the most engaging ensembles performing in the chamber music world today. The only group of its kind, the Duo was formed with the idea of playing South American and classical music by bringing together the unusual combination of the viola, charango and guitar, and in doing so, creating passionate music that moves at ease between the Baroque, South American folk rhythms and new pieces written especially for the Duo. 

The Duo has performed in Brazil, Canada, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador and throughout the US and Puerto Rico including recitals at: Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, the Smithsonian Institute, the Music Mountain Chamber Music Series, La Guitarra California, and the 34th International Viola Congress. Always in search of new music and collaborations, the Duo has performed with artists as diverse as: charango virtuoso Ernesto Cavour; guitarist and composer Horacio Salinas; flutists Nicole Esposito and Janet Arms; quena virtuoso Marcelo Pena-Lobo; pianist Polly Ferman and Argentine bandoneón legend, Daniel Binelli; the Choral Arts Society of Washington D.C.; Coral Cantigas, the Voce Choir of Hartford; and recently premiered "Concierto de los Andes" by Javier Farías with the Fairfax, Virginia Symphony Orchestra. The Duo has held residencies at the Festival Eleazar de Carvalho in Fortaleza, Brazil and at the Hartt School of Music; and has been a featured performer on NPR. They have worked closely with many composers and have premiered dozens of commissions, arrangements and transcriptions including recent works by; Javier Farías, Raimundo Penaforte, Alexander Silas Walker, Ben Starr and Ronald Pearl. The Duo took First Prize at the 2006 New England International Chamber Music Competition, and won the 2009 CMA / ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming. Finally, Alturas Duo is a "Goodwill Ambassador" for the Chilean-American Foundation and has recently been named "Artist in Residence" for the Intake Organization whose goal is to incorporate native South American instruments in different styles of music. 

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The 2012-13 concert season will see the Duo maintaining a busy schedule of concerts, master classes and lectures including premieres by Arthur Hernandez, Dan Lis and Masatora Goya and performances in Chile, Brazil, Colombia, and throughout the United States. 

The name Alturas (Spanish for heights) is derived from the poem "Alturas de Macchu Picchu" by Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda (1904-1973).

Carlos Boltes, was born in Santiago, Chile where he began his musical studies by learning the charango from his brother Giovanni Vaccani, later mastering that instrument while touring extensively throughout South America as a member of the Chilean group Barrocco Andino. He holds a Bachelor's Degree from the Universidad Cata de Chile and a Master's Degree from Carnegie Mellon University both in viola performance. His main teachers have been: Enrique López, Atar Arad, Larry Dutton and Steve Larson. He has been principal violist of the Orquesta de Cámara del Teatro Municipal de Santiago and the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and has recorded for Naxos, Brioso and CBS Records. Mr. Boltes has been a recipient of the Boston Fund Individual Artist Fellowship and an Andes Foundation Performance Grant and he is also Connecticut 2010 "Latino de Oro" award recipient, currently on the faculty of the Eleazar de Carvalho Music Festival in Fortaleza, Brazil and the Hartt School Community Division of the University of Hartford, in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Scott Hill, a native of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, earned an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Lakehead University with Sean Mundy and a Masters degree in guitar performance and a Graduate Professional Diploma in chamber performance from the Hartt School of Music where he studied with Richard Provost. Mr. Hill has performed and lectured throughout Canada, the United States and South America as both a soloist and chamber musician and most recently premiered Thomas Schuttenhelm's "Balada" for soprano and guitar and "Pequena cancion" by Javier Farias. Mr. Hill is a Canada Council for the Arts grant recipient and has performed in master classes for some of today's finest musicians including Oscar Ghiglia, John Williams and the Miami String Quartet. Currently, Mr. Hill is on the faculty at the Hartt School Community Division of the University of Hartford, West Hartford, Connecticut and the Eleazar de Carvalho Festival in Fortaleza, Brazil.