The Center for Iberian and Latin American Music Flourishing at UCR

By Karen Wong, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing

The Center for Iberian and Latin American Music (CILAM) is a unique and promising program on the rise at UC Riverside. Established in 2004, CILAM was created with the purpose to focus scholarly attention on the vast and rich but relatively neglected musical heritage of Iberia and Latin America. The center aims to attract and reach out to the largest segment of the public possible in sharing both the intellectual exploration and experience of live music of the two cultures. Director of CILAM Walter Aaron Clark, Professor of Musicology and Chair of the Music Department at UCR, strongly believes in the Center’s interdisciplinary approach of combining research and performance. With his assertion that music is not a universal language but is a universal experience, Clark places emphasis on the importance of “using live music to build a bridge between our academic community and the larger community outside the hallowed halls.”

CILAM has developed several means to promote its goals. The center has already extended itself to the community through its Encuentros /Encounters, annual conferences presenting original research and concerts that focus on a particular aspect of the Iberian and Latin American musical heritage. CILAM launched its second annual Encounter in March of this year, focusing on the theme of “Music and Politics in the Andes.” The conference brought together leading experts from the U.S., South America, and Britain, heightening UCR’s international reputation as a place that promotes innovative research in the arts and humanities.

The center is also developing an online scholarly, peer-reviewed journal, Diagonal. As its name indicates, the journal promotes original research that cuts across regional, musical, and disciplinary boundaries. The first two issues of Diagonal will feature proceedings of the Encounters conferences in 2005 and 2006. Beginning in 2007, the journal will solicit articles from scholars in musicology, ethnomusicology, or related disciplines in English, Spanish, or Portuguese.

CILAM has made successful efforts in enhancing the curriculum at UCR by adding new courses and performance ensembles relating to Iberian and Latin American music. Clark states, “We consider our curriculum in this area to be among the widest ranging of any music program in the U.S., a goal central to our mission that will build up a constituency of informed listeners, performers, and possibly future musicologists who will help spread the word.” The center plans to expand similar courses for graduate students doing research in this area. Furthermore, CILAM has established Mayupatapi (Quechua for Riverside), UCR’s Latin American Music Ensemble that plays traditional and popular music of the Andes, and hopes to create a Mexican Folkloric Ensemble in the near future.

CILAM will continue to grow and expand its programs, resources, and audience base. As Clark states, “Our vision for CILAM is to make UCR’s the leading such center anywhere in the world, to raise national and international profile and provide an opportunity for scholars and students to nourish and cultivate their love of this beautiful music.”

For more information about CILAM, please visit its interactive website consisting of audio and video, news, blogs, archives, links to Diagonal and the Encounters, and other educational resources at www.cilam.ucr.edu

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