Latin IS America

Explore interwoven cultures through an innovative series of music, film, discussions and dance.

The MSU College of Music presents the sixth annual Latin IS America series March 25 through April 23. 

Brazilian berimbau music, Venezuelan folk fusion, a Latino dinner and dance party, and a two-day musicology symposium will be among the multi-dimensional activities at a month-long series at Michigan State University that celebrates the blending of Latin American and U.S. cultures.

See complete series schedule

Spearheaded by the MSU College of Music, the sixth annual Latin IS America Series of music will feature national and internationally renowned guests in performances, workshops, scholarly discussions, and film. Events are spaced over a four-week period on the MSU campus from March 25 through April 23. Events will take place in Cook Recital Hall, Demonstration Hall, the MSU Community Music School, Fairchild Theatre and Music Building.  

Series highlights include an evening of world music performed by Projeto Arcomusical on the berimbau—an Afro-Brazilian bow. An innovative workshop highlights Venezuelan fusion as performed by the Jorge Glem Trio, while the MSU Capoeira ensemble will explore an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music.

Event-goers looking for an evening out will enjoy a dinner and dance party with a variety of Latino-based music performed by Midwest’s own Motivo. To explore the origins of Latino-based music, patrons can screen a documentary about underground music in the Rio Grande Valley, co-sponsored by the 2018 MSU LatinX Film Festival. Audiences interested in reflective discussion will enjoy presentations by international scholars on the dynamic history of Pan Americanism—a 1930s movement that inspired U.S. and Latin American composers and artists to work side-by-side in response to dominant European trends. To offer a taste of what Pan Americanism sounded like, the series will conclude with a concert of rarely performed mid-20th chamber works by Varese, Ruth Crawford-Seeger, Revueltas and Cowell in renditions by Musique 21

“Since the start, we’ve worked to bring in an exciting mix of artists and scholars who show us how music and art can transcend boundaries and help unite us,” says Latin IS America

Co-director Ricardo Lorenz, professor and chair of the MSU Composition Area. “This series celebrates our commitment to showcasing the breadth of diverse scholarship and creative interests among our faculty and students by opening the MSU campus to scholars and artists. We’re proud that the series continues to grow in size and scope each year.”

Latin IS America evolved from a collaboration of university personnel, students, and scholars in 2013 who saw the need to acknowledge the effect that Latin American and U.S. cultures have on one another. All performances and activities of the Latin IS America Series are open to the public. The series is supported through a grant from the MSU Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives and is coordinated by the MSU College of Music.  

2018 Latin IS America Series

March 25-April 23, 2018 

3/25 Sunday 3:00 p.m.

Projeto Arcomusical

An evening of music for Brazilian berimbau with Gregory Beyer. Cook Recital Hall, Music Building $10 adults, $8 seniors, students free. Generously sponsored by Steven P. and Danguole (Diane) J. Mazurek.

  • WORKSHOP 3/25 at 7 p.m. Berimbau music with Greg Beyer and Projeto Arcomusical, 120 Music Building, free
  • PRESENTATION 3/25 at 8:20 p.m. MSU Capoeira ensemble,120 Music Building, free.

4/12 Thursday 7:30 p.m.

Jorge Glem Trio

Venezuelan cuatro virtuoso performs folk fusion with Rodner Padilla (bass) and Diego Álvarez (percussion) Cook Recital Hall, Music Building $10 adults, $8 seniors, students free.

  • WORKSHOP 4/12 at 6:30 p.m. with Jorge Glem’s Trio, 120 Music Building, free.

4/15 Sunday 5:00 p.m.

As I Walk Through the Valley

A documentary about the secret history of underground music in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. MSU Community Music School 4930 Hagadorn Rd, East Lansing. Free event.

Cosponsored by the 2018 MSU LatinX Film Festival

4/20 Friday 6:30 p.m.


Midwest-based group Motivo performs a variety of Latino-based music including Tejano, Norteño, Cumbias and Rancheras. Concert, 8:00p.m. Dinner and pre-concert lecture begins at 6:30pm. Demonstration Hall, free.

4/23 Monday 7:30 p.m.

Musique 21: Pan Americanism “Revisited & Re-imagined”

Carlos Botero, principle guest conductor; Dr. Stephanie Stallings, guest narrator; Ricardo Lorenz, artistic director. Fairchild Theater $10 adults, $8 seniors, students free. Generously sponsored by Sam and Mary Austin.

4/22–4/23 Monday and Tuesday

Pan Americanism “Revisited & Re-imagined”

Co-hosted by the MSU Musicology Area

  • LECTURE 4/22 at 4 p.m. Rethinking Silvestre Revueltas’s Mexicaness: Struggles against Nationalist Picturesque-ism, Dr. Roberto Kolb, 103 Music Practice Building, free.
  • PANEL DISCUSSION 4/22 at 6 p.m. Convergence/Divergence: Exploration of U.S. and Latin America Relations through Music, Dr. Stephanie Stallings with MSU faculty and guests, 103 Music Practice Building, free.
  • LECTURE 4/23 at 4 p.m. Representing the Good Neighbor: Music, Difference and the Pan American Dream, Dr. Carol Hess, 245 Music Building, free.

Latin IS America reflects the university’s commitment to global engagement, diversity, and community outreach, including K-12 education. The series is coordinated by the MSU College of Music in cooperation with other initiatives of Michigan State University. 

Browse archives from previous events

2017 Latin IS America

2016 Latin IS America

2015 Latin IS America

2014 Latin IS American

2013 Latin IS America