The Borderlands Ensemble was formed in 2017 by Johanna Lundy, Ellen Chamberlain, Sarah Toy, Ann Weaver, and Robert Chamberlain. After many years working together in an orchestral setting, we were ready to explore new concert formats and to cultivate relationships with our audiences and the community. Our performances aim to disrupt barriers imposed by classical music traditions, making classical music more engaging and relevant to all people. Past concerts have taken place at coffee houses, biker bars, art galleries, outdoors, and even a movie theatre. The group has collaborated with a variety of organizations in southern Arizona, including the Museum of Contemporary Art-Tucson, the Consulate of Mexico in Tucson, UNAM-Tucson, El Crisol Mezcal Bar, Galeria Mitotera, the Loft Cinema, Tohono Chul, Hotel Congress, Saint Charles Tavern, and others.
We are invested in working for equity in our community and in the field of classical music. Our concert programs primarily feature music by Mexican and American composers, and are presented at low or no cost to audience members. We love collaborating with artists, poets, historians, and venues to create memorable performances. We hope you’ll join us for our next performance!
Current members: Ellen Chamberlain, Joseph Rousos-Hammond, violins; Emily Chao, violin and viola; Ann Weaver, viola; Robert Chamberlain, cello; José Luis Puerta, guitar; Johanna Lundy, horn.
Check out our new video of “Songs and Arias” by American composer Vivian Fine. It features a delightful animation created by Shiang Hwang, following the story of two souls as they connect across space and time.
Join us for a concert!
We are in the planning stage of our 2022-23 concert series, but it is set to be very exciting! We’ll have premieres of new music and a new lecture-concert program. Please check back in May for more information.
We support composers and believe in the medium of contemporary art music to open hearts, shed light on humanity, and create collective experiences. We also enjoy performing pop, rock, and folk crossover music. We strive to celebrate diversity in everything we do, working to create social change in the borderlands community through music.
The project behind the CD is called Place and Identity in the Borderlands, which explored the shared cultural identity of Arizona and Mexico. Special collaborators joined us: guitarist Dr. Jose Luis Puerta, Mexican historian Dr. Luis Coronado Guel, and visual artist Jessica Gonzales, to explore and present new music by American and Mexican composers. Four original paintings by Gonzales were inspired by new musical compositions by Charles Daniels Torres, Alejandro Vera, Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti, and Jay Vosk.
Special thanks to the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona, the Fred Fox School of Music, and the Tucson Guitar Society for their support of this project.
Watch a livestream performance of Borderlands Ensemble HERE!