Sihasin. (Image via Americas Society video.)

Sihasin. (Image via Americas Society video.)

Music of the Americas: Newman & Oltman

En Casa features a week curated by the guitar duo, who chose musicians from throughout the Americas. 

Music of the Americas' video series En Casa (At Home), and Recuerdos (Memories) feature music curated by our longtime friends Laura Oltman and Michael Newman. The Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo has been on our stage on several occasions, and we have also had the joy to work with them in their indefatigable efforts to support other musicians, young and established, through their work with the New York Guitar Seminar and other initiatives.

The Duo wrote about their choices for the week: "Music has been created throughout the Americas for thousands of years. Join us for a week of wonderful music, recorded and shared from their homes—en casa—(and studios) by some of our favorite musical artists from the hemisphere."

The week features five artists from different backgrounds and musical styles, with videos recorded in New Jersey, the Navajo Nation, Bogotá, Rio de Janeiro, and Guanajuato. We are delighted that the duo chose to share an En Casa version of a movement from the duet they commissioned by Cuban legend Leo Brouwer a few years ago.

In addition, our Recuerdos series revisits the Guitar Duo's concert in our series in 2009. 

Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo, "The Gorgon" from El libro de los seres imaginarios

Sihasin, “Shí Nasháá” and "Gentler Than Night"

Julie Wein, "Poemas de Ti"

Ana Cervantes, "Los murmullos"

Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo, "Nocturne-Fantasy, Op. 69" by

Jacarandá Dúo, "Bambú"

Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo

Monday, January 25, 10 a.m.

After years of anticipation and planning, Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo performed the world premiere of Leo Brouwer's new guitar duet El libro de los seres imaginarios for the opening of the nineteenth New York Guitar Seminar on June 26, 2019, at Americas Society. For our online series and their curatorial week, the duo recorded a special version of one of the piece's movements, "The Gorgon," at home in New Jersey.


Tuesday, January 26, 10 a.m.

Award-winning musicians Jeneda and Clayson Benally, who established the group Sihasin, are from the Diné in the Navajo Nation of Northern Arizona. They create an explosive organic sound out of just bass and drums, inspiring their listeners with a hard-punk backbone softened by folk and Navajo rhythm. They sent us a traditional Diné song “Shí Nasháá,” followed by "Gentler Than Night," with music and lyrics by Brianna Lea Pruett (1983–2015) and Sihasin.

Julie Wein

Wednesday, January 27, 10 a.m.

Singer, songwriter, and actress Julie Wein holds a PhD in neuroscience, with an emphasis on computational neuroscience of emotions and music. Since 2015, she's balanced her research with her singing career, resulting in the release of her first album, Infinitos Encontros (2020), which features Ed Motta, Marcelo Caldi, Marco Lobo, Pedro Franco, and Jorge Helder, with musical production by guitarist Victor Ribeiro. Included in this album is “Poemas de Ti,” with music by Wein and lyrics by M. Vieira, which she sent us from Rio de Janeiro.

Ana Cervantes

Thursday, January 28, 10 a.m.

Mexican-American pianist Ana Cervantes has been described as an ambassadress for the music of Mexico and an engine of contemporary musical creation in that country. A Fulbright-García Robles Senior Scholar (U.S.-Mexico, 1999–2000) and a commissioning artist, Cervantes has been the musical midwife of thirty-nine new pieces for the piano deeply rooted in Mexican themes. Cervantes is a founding member of the winds and piano ensemble Ehecalli. Alumna of Bard College, Cervantes names Joan Tower and the late Theodore Lettvin as her most important teachers. She leads an active life as performer and teacher, and currently is based in Guanajuato.

She presented her most recent project Canto de la Monarca: Mujeres en México / Song of the Monarch: Women in Mexico with Music of the Americas in 2014. For our online series, Cervantes sends us “Los murmullos,” from her first commissioning project, Rumor de Páramo, an homage to Juan Rulfo. The work was written for Cervantes by Anne LeBaron using text fragments from Rulfo's Pedro Páramo. The English translation of the text is by Margaret Sayers Peden.

Because until then, I realized, the words I had heard had been silent.
There had been no sound, I had sensed them.
But silently, the way you hear words in your dreams.

Cervantes thanks Clara Aparicio de Rulfo for her permission to use the name of Juan Rulfo, as well as his writing.

Recuerdos: Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo

Thursday, January 28, 6 p.m.

We chose some of our favorite selections from concerts at Americas Society with the Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo in our series over the years. This performance, in 2009, is the first time Music of the Americas collaborated with the NY Guitar Seminar at Mannes, which the Duo has been organizing for over 20 years. Since then, we have hosted the Seminar's opening concert every summer, featuring a stellar roster of guitarists. The Duo performed Lowell Liebermann's "Nocturne-Fantasy, Op. 69," which they commissioned in 2000. 

Jacarandá Dúo

Friday, January 29, 10 a.m.

Established in 2009 by Colombian guitarists Alexander Parra Ríos and Jean Carlo Espíndola García, Jacarandá Dúo has performed recitals at prestigious festivals around the world. With their passion for Colombian music, the duo excels at adapting traditional Colombian rhythms to the vast repertoire written for two guitars. They sent us “Bambú,” with music by Yimi Manuel Robles, created for the duo in support of the completion of their master’s in Colombian music at Universidad el Bosque in Bogotá.


The MetLife Foundation Music of the Americas concert series is made possible by the generous support of Presenting Sponsor MetLife Foundation.

The Spring 2021 Music program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.



Additional support provided by The Augustine Foundation.