A concert by the Alturas Duo is a memorable experience... Their unique blend of South American and classical music for guitar, viola, and charango is incomparable. Their pure joy and enthusiasm for this lively music is immediately apparent and captivating.
---Russ De Angelo, Director
La Guitarra California Festival
Praised by The Washington Post as playing with “marvelous virtuosity,” Alturas Duo is recognized as one of the most engaging ensembles performing in the chamber music today. Bringing together the worlds of South American folk, Western classical, and contemporary music, guitarist Scott Hill and violist and charango player Carlos Boltes have performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Central and South America to great acclaim. As Christopher Zimmerman, Music Director of The Fairfax Symphony, notes: Scott Hill and Carlos Boltes as “the Alturas Duo are the quintessential 21st century artists.”
With its unusual combination of viola, charango, and guitar; Alturas Duo creates spirited and passionate programs that move with ease between the Baroque, South American melodies and rhythms learned through the oral tradition, and newly commissioned repertoire. Alturas Duo has won numerous awards ranging from First Prize at the New England International Chamber Music Competition, the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, to the 2020 World Folk Vision popular vote award and jury selection for best Latin Music Band.
Their quest for new musical experiences has led Alturas Duo to exciting collaborations with artists and ensembles as diverse as guitarist and composer Horacio Salinas, charango virtuoso Ernesto Cavour, Argentine bandoneón legend and Piazzolla bandmate Daniel Binelli, Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Callisto Quartet, Voce Choir, the Washington Choral Arts Society, the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, and East Coast Contemporary Ballet.
As their instrumentation is quite unique, Alturas Duo works regularly with composers to broaden the repertoire and expand their musical possibilities. This has led to 60+ additions to the repertoire featuring the guitar, viola, and/or charango in chamber music settings as well as works for the choral and orchestral worlds. Collaborations with composers include Leo Brouwer, Ronald Pearl, David Macbride, Javier Farías, and Raimundo Penaforte to name a few. Some of the most significant works Alturas Duo has commissioned and premiered include Farías’ Oceana (guitar, viola, charango and mixed chorus) and El Vuelo de tu Alma (guitar and charango, alt. with string orchestra), David Macbride’s No mas muertes, (guitar viola) and Leo Brouwer's Por el amor se ve (guitar and viola).
Their work with such performers and composers has had the Alturas Duo performing in venues and for presenters such as Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, Merkin Hall, the Smithsonian Institute, the Historic Asolo Theater, Le Petit Trianon (CA), La Maison de Mai (Paris), the
34th International Viola Congress, La Guitarra California, and Music Mountain.
Alturas has been recorded for release on the Brioso, Con Brio, and Ravello Records (PARMA) labels in addition to its collaboration with Joseph Holt and the Choral Arts Society of Washington for an award-winning release of a collection of works by the celebrated Argentinian composer Ariel Ramírez, including Misa Criolla, for Naxos.
The Alturas Duo was founded while Carlos Boltes and Scott Hill were pursuing their graduate studies at the Hartt School of Music. In addition to its performing and commissioning new music, Alturas Duo embraces its role as educators and music advocates. The duo has given hundreds of lectures, outreach programs and conferences at festivals, universities and colleges with students ranging elementary school to university level and beyond. At various points during its history, Alturas Duo has had the pleasure to serve as a “Goodwill Ambassador” for the Chilean-American Foundation and as Artist-in-Residence for Intempo in Stamford (CT). The name Alturas, Spanish for “heights,” is derived from the poem “Alturas de Macchu Picchu” by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.
viola & charango
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 earned his bachelor's degree from the Universidad Catolica de Chile and a master's degree from Carnegie Mellon University, both in viola performance. His main teachers have been: Enrique López, Atar Arad, and Larry Dutton. Mr. Boltes has served as Principal Violist of the Orquesta de Cámara del Teatro Municipal de Santiago and Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra. He 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. In 2010, he received the Connecticut 2010 "Latino de Oro" award. In addition to his work with the Alturas Duo, Elqui and ADAA trios, Mr. Boltes teaches privately and is on the faculty of the Mancera Festival in Valdivia, Chile.
guitar & voice
Scott Hill has performed with orchestras, choirs, instrumentalists, and vocalists throughout Canada, United States, Europe, and South America as a soloist and chamber musician. As a member of the Alturas Duo, collaborator and soloist, Mr. Hill has premiered more than seventy-five pieces of new music, has won the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Adventurous Programming award, he has been awarded grants from New Music USA commissioning grant, the Chilean Arts Council, the Canada Arts Council and is also a laureate winner of the 2020 World Folk Vision awards. He has collaborated with a wide range of instrumentalists and ensembles including bandoneon player, Daniel Binelli, Cuarteto Latinoamericano, the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, Callisto Quartet, East Coast Contemporary Ballet and the Voce Choir of Hartford. He has recently premiered music by Leo Brouwer, David MacBride, Javier Farias, and Karina and Javier Contreras.
In addition to his work with the Alturas Duo, he is a former Play USA/Carnegie Hall Lead Teaching Artist and Suzuki qualified guitar instructor who maintains a private teaching studio in Stamford, CT. Mr. Hill earned an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Lakehead University and a Masters Degree in Guitar Performance and a Graduate Professional Diploma in chamber performance from the Hartt School of Music.
The natural affability of violist Carlos Boltes and guitarist Scott Hill set a friendly and spirited tone to the concert, presented in one gallery of Mexico-Arte Museum. The pair did what audiences expect today in an intimate and informal chamber music setting: engage with brief and lively explanations and stories about their repertoire, their journey as musicians, the Andean charangos Boltes plays in addition the viola… Of course, their expressive virtuosity also resulted in a sparkling concert.
---Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, Austin 360