Afro Latin Ensemble
The Cal State LA Afro Latin Ensemble is dedicated to the study, practice, and performance of Afro Latin music. In its relatively short existence the ensemble has established itself as one of the most exciting student music ensembles of its kind in the nation. It is open to qualified CSULA students by audition.
The Cal State LA Afro Latin Ensemble has performed with many guest artists of international stature including Pablo Menendez, Orestes Vilato, Frank Emilio Flynn, Edgardo Cambon, Gonzalo Chomat, Adonis Puentes, and Fausto Cuevas among many others. In 2008 the Cal State LA Afro Latin Ensemble began an annual event to highlight the contributions of great Afro Latin musicians. Featured for the premiere event was famed Salsa pianist Larry Harlow in a concert that included an array of Salsa performers. The 2009 Gala Concert played to a crowd of over 800 enthusiastic fans in the Luckman Center on November 21st. The concert featured a return appearance by Larry Harlow for the first ever live performance of his famed “Salsa Suite.” Among the featured performers were famed percussionist Guillermo “Memo” Acevedo, vocalist Iris Sandra Cepeda, percussionist Joaquin Arteaga, and the featured vocalist for the Salsa Suite, Adonis Puentes.
As a result of 2008 and 2009 Afro Latin Ensemble concerts honoring Larry Harlow eager fans and supporters contributed to establish the Larry Harlow Fund for Afro Latin Music Study at California State University, Los Angeles. The fund supports the Latin music study programs at California State University, Los Angeles.
The Afro Latin Ensemble has been invited to perform in Beijing China in August 2010 at the International Society for Music Education World Conference.
Under the direction of Dr. Paul De Castro, the Cal State LA Afro Latin ensemble provides graduate and undergraduate students the opportunity to study and perform music from the rich traditions of Salsa and Afro Latin music.
The Cal State LA Golden Eagle Mariachi (Mariachi Águila Dorada) was founded in 2008. The ensemble emphasizes presenting concerts that chronicle the historical development of Mariachi as a musical art form. The director of the Golden Eagle Mariachi is Cynthia Reifler-Flores who is a member of the Grammy award winning Mariachi Divas. With more than twenty-five years as a professional mariachi performer and director, Professor Reifler-Flores brings a wealth of both scholarly knowledge and artistic experience to the ensemble. The Mariachi Águila Dorada is open by audition to students at the university, regardless of their major.