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Cellist featured soloist in ‘Music Without Borders’

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When Christine Lamprea was in fifth grade, she wanted to play upright bass.

Her parents told her it was too big to fit in the family car.

Christine Lamprea

“I always wanted to play the bass because it was so tall and I was so small,” the Fort Worth, Texas-based musician said.

Lamprea downsized to cello and discovered a natural facility for the instrument.

“It wasn’t until I joined the youth orchestra and we played Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony that music moved me in a way I hadn’t been touched in daily life,” she said.

Lamprea is the featured soloist in Santa Fe Pro Musica’s “Music Without Borders” concert at the Lensic Performing Arts Center next weekend. Colombian conductor Lina Gonzalez-Granados will lead the orchestra through Heitor Villa-Lobos’ colorful Sinfonietto No. 1 (“In Memory of Mozart”), as well as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, the “Pastoral,” his tribute to nature capturing the sounds of birds, meandering streams, folk dances, shepherds’ songs and thunderstorms.

Lamprea will play on Mexican composer Arturo Márquez’s “Espejos en la Arena for Cello and Orchestra” (“Mirrors in the Arena”).

“It’s a really beautiful piece,” she said. “It’s very much based on the Mexican folk idiom; there are a lot of references to that traditional culture.”

Márquez is best-known for his “Danzon No. 2,” a piece often referred to as “the unofficial national anthem of Mexico.” “Espejos en la Arena” is more obscure to classical audiences.

“It’s difficult,” Lamprea said. “I think with any piece that’s not in the standard repertoire, you don’t even have it in your ear.”

Lamprea was born in New York to Colombian immigrants. She grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and attended both The Juilliard School and the New England Conservatory of Music.

Attending a pre-college music camp at Boston’s Tanglewood Music Festival the summer before her senior year of high school sealed her determination to become a professional musician.

“I was able to see the Boston Symphony Orchestra every day,” she said. “I fell in love with the sense of community.”

She returned home and informed her cello teacher of her career choice.

“He gave me this wide-eyed look,” she said. “He said, ‘You’ll have to see me more often and practice more.’ My parents were very supportive.”

A composer as well as a musician, Lamprea wrote “Songs of Colombia Suite,” which includes arrangements of traditional South American tunes for cello and piano or guitar. They have been performed at the Colombian Embassy and the U.S. Supreme Court for Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Itzhak Perlman, who coached Lamprea and performed with her in numerous chamber music ensembles, chose her to be his granddaughter’s cello coach.

Today, Lamprea teaches cello at Texas Christian University, in Fort Worth.