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 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, and Europe as well as 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 of Bach, South American melodies and rhythms learned through the oral tradition, and new repertoire written specifically for the duo. Their performances oscillate from the beautiful and serene to strong and pulsating, taking audiences on a journey to new musical heights and to earn Alturas Duo numerous awards from First Prize at the New England International Chamber Music Competition 2006 to the 2010 CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming.
Their quest for new musical experiences has led Alturas Duo to exciting performances with artists and ensembles as diverse as guitarist and composer Horacio Salinas, charango virtuoso Ernesto Cavour, flutist
Nicole Esposito, quena virtuoso Marcelo Peña, pianist Polly Ferman, Argentine bandoneón legend and Piazzolla bandmate Daniel Binelli, the chamber choir Voce, the Washington Choral Arts Society, and Fairfax Symphony Orchestra. When joined by Andean woodwind specialist and flutist Gonzalo Cortes, the Alturas Duo becomes the Elqui Trio allowing additional textures and the exploration of other musical dimensions. The Alturas Duo also collaborates with French soprano and pianist Alexandra Aubert as the ADAA Trio.
As their instrumentation is quite unique, Alturas Duo works regularly with composers to broaden the repertoire and expand possibilities.
This has led to 50+ 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 Ronald Pearl, Thomas Schuttenhelm, David Macbride, Dan Román,
José Lezcano, Javier Farías, and Raimundo Penaforte to name a few. Some of the most significant works Alturas Duo has commissioned and premiered include Farías’ Oceana (for guitar, viola, charango and mixed chorus) and El Vuelo de tu Alma (for guitar and charango, alt. with string orchestra), David Macbride’s No mas muertes, and Ronald Pearl’s The Places We Left Behind (for 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, Merkin Hall, Symphony Space, 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.
The 2017-18 concert season has Alturas Duo maintaining a busy schedule of performances, master classes, and lectures as well as premiering pieces by Ronald Pearl, Javier Contreras, Russell Nadel, Joshua Hummel, and Javier Farías. In addition to their ongoing work with the Elqui and ADAA trios, Alturas Duo will be performing with Cuarteto Latinoamericano to premiere Suite Folklorica Argentina by Esteban d'Antona.
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 in 2001 while Carlos Boltes and Scott Hill were pursuing their graduate studies at the Hartt School of Music. In addition to its performing and commissioning work, Alturas Duo embraces its role as educators and music advocates with students in 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 Intake in Stamford (CT), an organization that promotes music education through multiculturalism, with the goal of incorporating native South American instruments into different styles of music. The name Alturas, Spanish for “heights,” is derived from the poem “Alturas de Macchu Picchu” by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.
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
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, a native of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, has performed with orchestras, choirs, instrumentalists, and vocalists throughout Canada, United States, Europe, and South America as a soloist and chamber musician. Most recently, he gave the Canadian premiere of Richard Harvey's Concerto Antico for Guitar and Small Orchestra" with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. Hill has also premiered music for solo guitar by Javier Farías and Masatora Goya as well as works for guitar and voice by Thomas Schuttenhelm and Maxim Vladimiroff and music for guitar and flute by Arthur Hernandez. He has performed in master classes for some of today’s finest musicians including Oscar Ghiglia, John Williams, and the Miami String Quartet. He is a Canada Council for the Arts grant recipient. In addition to his work with the Alturas Duo, Elqui and ADAA trios, he is a Play USA Carnegie Hall Teaching Artist through his work with the INTAKE organization, and maintains a private teaching studio in Avon, CT. Mr. Hill earned an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Lakehead University and a Master’s Degree in Guitar Performance and a Graduate Professional Diploma in chamber performance from the Hartt School of Music.