top of page

Elqui Trio

“Viva South America!” showcases works by two 20th century composers. While the pieces have roots in the traditional European world of classic music, they paint vivid, lively pictures of Chile and Argentina. Guitarists Scott Hill and Carlos Boltes and [guest] flautist Gonzalo Cortés even showed visible color, forgoing the traditional symphony black tuxedo for vibrant, embroidered South American vests. The real flashiness was in their playing, as they brought depth and emotion to Horacio Salinas’ “Danzas Peregrinas” (“Dances of the Pilgrims”). Boltes switched between playing rhythmic flourishes and lead on the charango–a small, 10-string guitar–and viola, with Cortés breathing life into the quena (a wooden, six-holed flute that allows notes to bend in a wonderfully expressive way) two zampoñas–or pan flutes–and a Western concert flute.


 ---John Lamb, Inforum


The Elqui Trio (pronounced: El-Key) combines the unique talents of three musicians whose musical backgrounds range from South American folkloric oral tradition to purely western classical training. Andean woodwind player and flutist Gonzalo Cortés joins the gentlemen of the Alturas Duo—charango and viola player Carlos Boltes and guitarist Scott Hill—to form the Elqui Trio. An ensemble that is equally at home performing both classical and South American folk music, the Elqui Trio’s repertoire ranges from the Baroque and newly commissioned pieces to folk music learned in South America by oral tradition. With each member forging careers as chamber musicians and soloists with choruses and orchestras throughout Europe as well as North, Central, and South America, they collectively have premiered more than seventy pieces of music and won competitions including the the New England International Chamber Music Competition, the CMA/ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award and the 2020 World Folk Vision awards.


The Elqui Trio came together in 2006 for the American premiere of Danzas Peregrinas with the Symphony of Southeast Texas under the direction of Christopher Zimmerman. Danzas Peregrinas is an arrangement of pieces made famous by the Chilean guitarist and composer, Horacio Salinas and his group Inti-illimani from the 1970s and 1980s. The movements are a skillful combination of South American folk music and European musical traditions with which Salinas became familiar after living and touring in Europe for many years. Since its American premiere, the Elqui Trio has performed this piece with the composer in a version for quartet as well as with orchestras in the United States, Chile, and Brazil.

In addition to their love of performance, the members of the Elqui Trio are dedicated to education. They have given lectures on South American folk music and works they have commissioned at various colleges and universities, the Smithsonian Latino Center as well as for younger audiences in Canada, United States, Germany, Austria, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, and Guatemala. The Elqui Trio has created a lecture-demonstration titled The Origins of South American Folk Music that focuses on the three main influences that have made this music what it is today: European, Native South American, and African music. They describe and demonstrate this on a wide variety of instrument ranging from classical flute, guitar and viola to charangos, quenas, and zampoñas.

 Gonzalo Cortés

Andean woodwinds

& Western flute

A native of Chile, Gonzalo Cortés was formerly Principal Flute of the Classical Orchestra of Santiago, Chile. He studied with Alberto Harms at the Catholic University of Chile and earned an Artist Diploma from Duquesne University with Robert Langevin, Principal Flute of the New York Philharmonic, as his teacher. As a soloist and orchestral musician, he has toured South America and the United States with ensembles such as the Simon Bolivar Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfonica of Chile, Classical Orchestra of Santiago, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Farmington Valley Chorale, Chorus Angelicus & Gaudeamus, and Hartford Pops Band. Gonzalo has also performed at numerous festivals such as the Orford Arts Centre's Academy of Music in Canada, Primer Festival International de Flauta in Rio de Janeiro, the Western Slope Music Festival in Crested Butte, Colorado and Frutillar, Chile, among others. In addition to Cortés' classical training pursuit, he is a proponent of World Music particularly flutes from around the world. He has recorded with the internationally acclaimed Chilean folk group Inti-Illimani as well as the Choral Arts Society of Washington, DC for the Naxos label. In 2006, Gonzalo released his CD, Valle, featuring an amazing collection of original music composed and performed by him. As an educator, Cortés teaches flute at Miss Porter's School and Trinity College (CT). He is founder and Artistic Director of the Atacama Ensemble, Duo Del Sur, and member of the Elqui Trio.

Carlos Boltes

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.

Scott Hill

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. He has most recently 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.

Learning about unfamiliar music can seldom be as much fun as it

was during the fascinating concert presented Saturday evening

by the Elqui Trio…. [Their] unusual program, concentrating on both traditional and contemporary music expressing South American musical traditions, with a bit of genuine and pseudo Bach added to the rich mix, was a revelation in many ways.


First among these, obvious from the outset, was the startling

richness and rhythmic impact of the instruments, in particular the various types of pipes, ranging in tone from the familiar sonority

of the European recorder to the massive African-inspired impact of the large wooden panpipe ensemble, played with athletic skill by [Gonzalo] Cortés.


While the center of the ensemble was the expert use of the traditional guitar by [Scott] Hill, the percussive energy of the charango (which employs the dried shell of an armadillo as its sounding board) and the rich tonal resources of the modern viola were provided in full measure by [Carlos] Boltes, whose witty, deadpan asides amused both the audience and his colleagues

on stage.


After intermission, the young musicians took time to introduce the unfamiliar instruments, exploring their history and the rich tonal resources they present. Once again, the often-sarcastic and amusing asides by the musicians made the “lesson” a pleasure, shown in the enthusiastic participation by members of the audience and their vociferous replies to questions from Hill, the “professor,” who frequently mocked himself with a big smile.


 Richard Storm, Herald-Tribune

Symphony delivers picturesque view

of South America

Orchestra's season finale takes audience on musical world tour

Elqui Trio provides wonderful way to learn

Armidillos & other musical instruments

Ensayo Ramis (Bolivian folk) - Elqui Trio
Ven a mi (William Ernesto Centellas) - Elqui Trio
Three Pieces for Flute, Guitar & Viola (Raimundo Penaforte) - Elqui Trio
Vientos del sur (Bolivian folk) - Elqui Trio
bottom of page