Symphony of Southeast Texas (Beaumont, TX)

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  Violinist performing behind the guitarist

Carlos Boltes and Scott Hill—the Alturas Duo—performed the American premiere of Horacio Salinas’s Danzas Peregrinas with the Symphony of Southeast Texas. Photo by Thomas Giroir Photography

After surviving the battering winds of Hurricane Rita, a breezy new suite from the Alturas Duo was just what residents of Beaumont, Texas, needed to hear. “They were fabulous, they were amazing, and they cheered us up like a breath of fresh air,” said Galen Wixson, executive director of the Symphony of Southeast Texas.

After receiving an NEA Challenge America grant of $10,000, the symphony brought the Alturas Duo—Canadian guitarist Scott Hill and Chilean multi-instrumentalist Carlos Boltes—to Texas so they could present the American premiere of Danzas Peregrinas, a suite for guitar, charango, and pan flute by Horacio Salinas. The concert was originally scheduled for Beaumont’s Julie Rogers Theatre, but Rita’s winds and water damaged the hall. The symphony spent the 2005-2006 season playing in high school auditoriums and other venues across southeast Texas. The season finale, held at Silsbee High School, featured the Alturas Duo.

Christopher Zimmerman, music director of the symphony, had heard the duo perform before and was impressed with their classical virtuosity and world-music panache. Zimmerman proposed that Hill, Boltes, and their friend, wind-player Gonzalo Cortes, play with the symphony and perform assemblies at local elementary schools

(From the NEA 2006 Annual Report)