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Hispanic Heritage Week 2013: Classical Musica Group On A Rhythmic Mission

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As NY1 continues its Hispanic Heritage Month coverage, we look at a kind of music not usually associated with Latinos. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.

Some of the pieces were from renowned musician Johann Sebastian Bach. Some were from Puerto Rican composers, including two classical guitarists who kicked off Musica de Camara's 34th season.

"I think the misconception is that we only do one kind of music. That we don't have a classical music tradition. And that's incorrect," said Musica de Camara Director Eva de La O.

Eva de La O founded Musica de Camara, which means chamber music, back in the late 1970's to bring classical music performed by Latinos to the forefront.

"My main thrust audience when I started was the Puerto Rican community," De La O said.

Eva de la O is a Puerto Rican soprano who hails from El Barrio and attended the High School of Music and Art. She presents six to eight performances every year. Some intimate like one recently held of the Upper West Side and some with an orchestra. She also commissions the work of Latino composers, including one conductor from Paraguay whose piece premiered in New York Friday.

"So much of the thrust of classical music is Eurocentric. They leave out a whole continent," De La O said.

As Eva de la O continues to change that perception, she says there's a wealth of talent out there. Some musicians even studied at the Conservatory of Music in Puerto Rico.

"I always found that in classical music you can always get really connected with yourself," said Musician Hermelindo Ruiz.

"I started out in violin and then I began playing the guitar when I was around 14. And I fell in love with the guitar and the repertoire," said Musician Enrique Velez.

Musica de Camara also takes its mission to city schools giving students lecture demonstrations.

"It's really learning the structure of the music that they hear by ear. They don't have to play an instrument it to know it," De La O said.

And while the nonprofit organization has a busy schedule this season, it's already making plans for next season to mark its 35th year with a concert at Lincoln Center. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP