Conducting the festival

About the CLMF

Presented by the International Latino Cultural Center (ILCC), The Chicago Latino Music Festival (CLMF) produces performances and promotes awareness of music from Latin America & Spain, ranging from the Colonial period to the 21st century. The Latino Music Festival functions as a bridge, bringing Latino classical music to audiences in Chicago. At the same time, the CLMF fulfills an educational role by bringing this music to Chicago’s neighborhoods and surrounding suburbs through concerts and educational programs. In addition to a roster of internationally acclaimed artists participating annually in the Festival and its programs, the Latino Music Festival places a strong emphasis on local talent, featuring Chicago’s most prestigious orchestras, ensembles and soloists, as well as a number of talented young professionals. The CLMF commissions new pieces from Latino composers and features world, US and/or Chicago premieres of works both new and historical. The Festival also has a residency program for chamber ensembles and soloists which focuses on the dissemination of the Ibero-American repertoire.

Pepe Vargas
Executive Director

Pepe received a B.A. in law from Buenos Aires National University in 1975 and a B.A. in Arts Communication from Columbia College Chicago in 1985. He previously succeeded as a lawyer and journalist and has written extensively about Latin American topics.

He also has five years experience in television and radio as producer and director; Pepe founded the Chicago Latino Cinema in 1987 (now the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago) and has been its Executive Director ever since. In addition, he has served as advisor and member of the jury for several international film festivals.
Elbio Barilari
Artistic Director

Elbio Rodríguez Barilari was born in 1953 in Montevideo, Uruguay, where he studied at the Conservatório Universitario and with Coriún Aharonián, Graciela Paraskevaídis and Héctor Tosar before continuing his education in Brazil with Eduardo Bertola, Hans-Joachim Koellreutter, …

Gilberto Mendes, Joaquín Orellana and Conrado Silva at the Cursos Latinoamericanos de Música Contemporánea.

He subsequently studied in Germany, on an invitation from the Deutscher Musikrat, with Milko Kelemen, Helmut Lachenmann and Dieter Schnebel; he was also mentored while in Europe by Luciano Berio, Konrad Boehmer, Otto Donner and Misha Mengelberg. As a clarinetist and saxophonist, from 1994 to 1997 Barilari led the Barilari Quinteto and organized Planeta Blues, the first Uruguayan blues band to tour Europe and to record a compact disc; during the 1990s, he also led the fourteen-piece La Banda Oriental.
Since settling in the United States in 1998, Barilari has lectured at the University of Chicago and the Instituto Cervantes and given workshops in Chile and Paraguay; he is currently on the faculty of the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has collaborated annually with the Grant Park Music Festival since helping to organize a tribute concert to Astor Piazzolla in 2002, for which he was also commissioned to write his Bandoneón Concerto. In June 2006, the Grant Park Orchestra, conducted by Carlos Kalmar, premiered his Canyengue at Millennium Park; that same season at Grant Park he also recruited and prepared the orchestra of native South American instruments for the performance of Ariel Ramírez’s Misa Criolla. Barilari is also one of the founder of “Volcano Radar,” a Chicago ensemble devoted to the exploration of various cultural traditions.
Elbio Barilari has been closely involved with educational and community affairs, having served as an advisor to the Ministry of Education and Culture in Uruguay, Uruguayan delegate to the cultural section of MERCOSUR, and Deputy Commissioner of the Committee for the Reform of the State of Illinois Code of Education. He has also been a member of the Community Advisory Board of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 2001, and was appointed to the CSO Programming Committee in 2006.
As a composer, Barilari has received commissions from the Grant Park Music Festival, Concertante di Chicago, Chicago Park District, Chicago Composer Forums, Orquesta Filarmonica de Montevideo, pianists Maria João Pires and Marcel Worms and guitarist Eduardo Fernandez, and a grant from the Sara Lee Foundation. In addition to works for orchestra, chamber ensembles and solo instruments, he has provided scores for more than forty plays in the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. In 2007, his Los Cantos for Soprano, Choir and Orchestra was premiered at Lyric Opera of Chicago to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Chicago Children’s Choir. His Lincolniana, incorporating texts by Carl Sandburg
and Walt Whitman and featuring jazz trumpeter Orbert Davis, Goodman Theatre actor–director Henry Godinez and the Ondas Ensemble, was first heard at the Ravinia Festival in September 2008.
Barilari has published a novel (Lugares Comunes, 1987), four collections of short stories (Posibles Versiones [1985], Fuera de la Nada [1986], Alarmas y Excursiones [1990] and La Mitad del Infinito [1994]), and a book on Uruguayan folk and popular music (Aquí se canta, 1982, co-authored with Juan Capagorry). He has also served as music critic and columnist for the newspaper El País as well as editor-in-chief for La Raza, the leading American-Hispanic weekly, and director of its monthly publication Arena Cultural.

Gustavo Leone
Managing Director

Composer Gustavo Leone is a Professor of Music in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Loyola University Chicago. He has also served on the faculty at the Music Department of Columbia College Chicago. He holds a Ph.D. in composition from the University of Chicago.

Leone is a recipient of a Walter Hinrichsen Award given by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His music is included in the catalogs of C.F. Peters, New York, and Lyon and Healy, Chicago. Ensembles and organizations such as Grant Park Festival Orchestra, the Symphonic Orchestra of Michoacán, México, the Chicago Sinfonietta, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra have played, commissioned, and recorded Leone’s works. His work for the theater includes composing music for productions at companies such as the Looking Glass Theater, Goodman Theater, and Yale Repertory Theatre. Leone is the Co-Director of the Latino Music Festival, an annual music festival produced by the International Latino Cultural Center in Chicago. He was a Fellow at the Joan and Bill Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage where he has been studying the music of the Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos, Bolivia.