Cuarteto Q Arte
Juan Carlos Higuita Estrada - Liz Angela García Castro, violins
Sandra L. Arango Calderón, viola - Diego García Castro, cello
“I had the most wonderful time last Monday listening to your fantastic Cuarteto Q-Arte play the music of Atehortua. You introduced me to a new composer as I was previously unaware of his music. And each of you played so beautifully and vibrantly with such commitment and passion! I loved every minute of our time together. You all seem to have a natural ensemble sense and I love the overall sound you make together. What a marvelous group the Cuarteto Q-Arte is!! Have a great time exploring the incredible world of string quartet music.” David Harrington, first violin Kronos Quartet
“I regard Cuarteto Q-Arte as one of the great values of Latin-American music nowadays. Their interpretations, full of rhythmic force, energy and precision make plain justice to the marvelous repertoire they perform. Their compromise with our continent’s composers is profound and their pedagogic labor in their native country of Colombia has generated an activity without precedent with young string quartets. I am certain that Q-Arte’s international projection will grow significantly in the near future.” Aron Bitran, Cuarteto Latinoamericano
Since its creation in 2010, Cuarteto Q-Arte has been characterized by its strong interest towards the knowledge and diffusion Latin-American music written for string quartet. Its attention focuses particularly on works by Colombian contemporary composers and the exploration of new sonorities and scenic profiles. Q-Arte is integrated by professors tied to the most recognized universities in the music field studies in Colombia. For this reason, the quartet has been able to combine its performance labor with constant research, a work that is fed simultaneously by teaching and working with new generations of professional musicians. Thanks to their indefatigable artistic and academic compromise, Q-Arte has become one of the most interesting and innovative chamber music ensembles in Colombia, as well as being one of our continent’s music ambassadors to the world.
By being able to create ties with the academia, Q-Arte is the recognition and outreach leader of projects of the Latin–American chamber musical patrimony. This genre is introduced in a vast tradition where enriching and contrasting cultures and traditions come together. At the same time, Q-Arte maintains a busy agenda of seminaries, festivals, master classes and workshops and through them they provide considerable incentive to the new generation of chamber music ensembles in Colombia. In addition to training instrumentalists and contributing to the chamber music work in Colombia, they participate in new works reading sessions working directly with renowned composers, professors and composition students in Colombia and abroad. Among the most recent pedagogic collaborations it is worthwhile to mention their work at the University of Chicago, Chicago Columbian College, the Kent-Ohio University, the Instrumenta Oaxaca Festival in Mexico, the Contemporary music Journeys at CCMC (Colombian Contemporary Music Circle) and the Pontificia Javeriana University in Bogotá. The quartet also manages FestiQ-Artetos, an International String Quartet Festival that takes place every other year at the National University of Colombia since 2014.
Q-Arte constantly maintains an artistic reflection process. With the intention of continuing an academic dialogue process and ongoing improvement, the quartet has taken classes with members of renowned ensembles at the national and international level. Among those ensembles are the Cuarteto Lationamericano, Kronos Quartet, the Borodin Quartet, the Avalon Quartet, the Miami Quartet, Casals Quartet and the Quiroga Quartet. Presently, the members of the quartet are being trained under the guidance of Richard Young, a member of the renowned U.S.A.’s Vermeer Quartet as well as one of the most influential personalities of chamber and instrumental music education nowadays. Additionally, Q-Arte has maintained a collaborative work with renowned composers and instrumentalists that have allowed the continuation of an immersion process in the international music vanguard.
Q-Arte has taken part in several record productions of Colombian composers like "Luis Carlos Figueroa: Orchestra and Chamber Music", dedicated to the composer Figueroa; "Five Chamber Music Works" with music by Germán Darío Pérez and "Five" by Damián Ponce de León. His first album was ¨Gustavo Leone: String Quartet¨, with Works of the Argentine composer Leone produced by international record label Toccata Classics of England and his most recent work 4+1 Quintets jointly with the Colombian clarinetist, Javier Asdrúbal Vinasco.
Next recordings will include string quartets of colombian composers Blas Emilio Atehortúa, Rodolfo Acosta, Francisco Zumaqué and Colombian Suites by Gentil Montaña with the arrangements of Fernando "El Chino" León. Due to its multiple fields of action and its projection towards the new generations, Cuarteto Q-Arte has consolidated itself as a pioneering chamber music group working both in education and musical diffusion at present.
JUAN CARLOS HIGUITA ESTRADA, Violin
Born in Medellin, Juan Carlos began his musical studies at the Diego Echavarría Institute having Poliana Vasilieva as his violin teacher. In 1995 he moved to Bogotá where, with a Mazda foundation scholarship, he started his Musical Studies professionally at the Pontificia Javeriana University. Between 1997 and 2007 he resided in Vienna and studied at the Music University and the Vienna Conservatory where he completed his Bachelor and Master’s with academic excellence titles. His professors were Timon Hornig and Jussuf Karajev. Additionally, he has been part of Master classes and improvement classes with recognized professors such as Hermann Krebbers, Gidon Kremer and Zakhar Bron. He has also taken classes in baroque violin, jazz violin and improvisation.
His great interest for chamber music brought him to perform with different ensembles in diverse Europe festivals such as the Guitar International Festival in Nurnberg (Germany); the Die Lange Nacht der Musik in Vienna (Austria) and the Antique music Festival in Gijon (Spain). He has also been invited to serve as guest concertmaster and Assistant concertmaster by different ensembles such as the Florilegium Musicum Wien, the Orpheon Consort Wien, the Orpheus Ensemble Munchen and the Tonkunstler Ensemble.
Over the years Juan Carlos Higuita has performed as a soloist with some of the most important orchestras in the country. In Austria, he has performed as a soloist with the Orpheon Orchester and the Pressbaum Orchestra of Lower Austria. He has also recorded for the French Television, The Austrian Ratio and the Italian Television. He has been guest at various international music festivals such as the Cartagena International Music Festival where, during the III and IV years, he was part of the City of London Symphonia, and the XX International Violin Festival in Lima (Peru).
Currently, Juan Carlos Higuita is a member of the Cuarteto Q-Arte and Violin and Chamber Music Professor at the National University of Colombia and the Pontificia Javeriana University.
LIZ ANGELA GARCIA CASTRO, violín
Liz began his musical studies at the National University of Colombia Conservatory of Music finishing them in 1991 with Professor Antonia Kapitanova as her teacher. Between 1991 and 1996 she continued her improvement and pedagogy studies at the Richard Strauss Conservatory in Munich, and between 1996 and 1999 at the Johannes-Gutenberg of Maguncia University (Germany), under the guidance of Valery Gradow, Denes Zsigmondy and Anne Shih among others. She has participated in Master Classes with professors Stefano Gheorgiu (Romania), Lyana Issakadze (Georgia), Valery Gradow (Russia) and Denes Zsigmondy (Hungary). In 2003, she moved to Fort Worth, Texas, to pursue a Master’s degree in Performance having Curt Thompson and Michael Shih as her professors. She has performed as a soloist with orchestras such as the Colombian Symphony, the Bogotá Philharmonic, the Medellin Philharmonic, the Ecuador Symphony, the National University of Colombia Symphony, the Cundinamarca Symphony (Bogotá), the Hungary Ratio and the Georgia Chamber Orchestra. She has performed as recitalist and in Chamber Music concerts in Colombia, Germany, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain and the U.S.A.
Liz Ángela García has been a member of the Bogotá Philharmonic (1990-1991), the Philharmonie der Nationen (1996-1998), Orquesta do Norte-Portugal (1998) and the Colombian Symphony (2001-2003), where she performed as Assistant Concertmaster and Concertmaster.
In 2005 she signed an exclusivity contract as a Professor at the National University of Colombia Music Conservatory.
SANDRA L. ARANGO CALDERÓN, viola
She was born in Ibagué and graduated from the Tolima Conservatory of Music. Later on, in 1996, she was accepted into the National University of Colombia Conservatory of Music where she studied under the guidance of Anibal Dos Santos. Two years later she joined the Bogota Philharmonic and, thanks to a scholarship given by the orchestra, she moved to Salzburg (Austria) where she studied at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg under the guidance of the renowned violist Thomas Riebl. She took Master Classes with Veronica Hagen, Joseph de Pasquale, Diemut Poppen, Wilfried Strehle and Predrag Katanic among others.
Sandra has performed as a soloist with the most recognized Colombian Orchestras such as the Bogotá Philharmonic, the Colombian Symphony, the Cali Philharmonic and the Tolima Symphony. In her 10 years living in Austria, she performed with the Salzburg Chamber Soloist, the Junge Philharmonie Salzburg, the Salzburg Kammer Philharmonie and the Camerata Salzburg.
She was the creator of the “Bogotá Interuniversity Violists Festival” that started in 2010 and of “Viola Nights”; an activity that was created in 2011 to precede the festival. She is a member of the Cuarteto Q-Arte, the Bogotá Philharmonic and an adjunct Professor at the National University of Colombia Conservatory of Music and the Pontificia Javeriana University.
DIEGO GARCIA CASTRO, cello
Belonging to a musician’s family, Diego Garcia was born in Bogotá. He pursued his cello studies at the National University of Colombia Conservatory of Music under the guidance of Julio Gutierrez, Svetoslav Manolov and Henryk Zarzycki. Later on, he completed his postgraduate studies in Mainz, Germany with Patrick Demenga and Julius Berger, continuing them in Ausburg (Germany) with Julius Berger and Sebastian Hess, and in Vienna (Austria) with Wolfgang Aichinger.
Diego has taken chamber Music classes with Bernhard Tluck, Hartmut Trondle, The Artis Quartet, Teresa Leopold and Marielena Fernandez. Likewise, he has participated in different improvement classes in Colombia and Europe with Siegfried Palm, Gerald Mantel and Peter Wispelwey among others.
As a soloist and Chamber music player, he has performed in countries such as Colombia, Germany and Austria. Important relevant aspects of his career include: the first prize at the Chamber Music competition realized by the Mozart Verein of Nurnberg (Germany) with the Tempera Quintett; the Am Rande des Abgrunds recording in tribute to Sofia Gubaidulina for the label Wergo; the Korean tour with the Cello Passionatto Quartet; the concerts offered with the Acros Trio in venues of Germany and Austria such as the Musikverein of Viena; “Lab” projects with the composers Wolfgang Rihm, Sofia Gubaidulina and Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, and the participation in numerous Music Festivals with different ensembles.
Presently, in addition of being the cellist of the Cuarteto Q-Arte, he is professor at the National University of Colombia Conservatory of Music and the Andes University in Bogotá.