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Borderlands Ensemble

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, they were ready to explore new concert formats and to cultivate relationships with audiences and the community. Their 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 and artists, 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, El Casino Ballroom, Jessica Gonzales, The Century Room, Hotel Congress, Saint Charles Tavern, the Mexican Repertoire Initiative, and others.

The ensemble is invested in working for equity in the borderlands community and in the field of classical music. Concert programs primarily feature music by Mexican and American composers, and are presented at low or no cost to audience members. Borderlands Ensemble loves collaborating with artists, poets, historians, and venues to create memorable performances and hopes you’ll join them for a concert!

Current members: Ellen Chamberlain, Joseph Rousos-Hammond, and Laura Cásarez, violins; Emily Chao, violin and viola; Ann Weaver, viola; Robert Chamberlain, cello; José Luis Puerta, guitar; Johanna Lundy, horn.

Check out the 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.

New music is coming to Southern Arizona! Hear compositions by Nubia Jaime-Donjuan (Hermosillo, Mexico), Edwin Guevara (Bogotá, Columbia), Jorge Sosa Ortega (New York City) and a premiere by Barbara White (Princeton, NJ). Concerts in August. Thanks to the AZ Commission on the Arts for their help making this possible!

Buy merch to support what we do! You can find our CDs and other cool things in the Tucson Horn Shop! You can contribute to our work through our crowdfunding page. Thank you for supporting new classical music!

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.

Please check out our album, released on New Focus Recordings on August 6, 2021! You can purchase a physical copy from the Tucson Horn Shop or a digital copy from Bandcamp.

The project behind the album 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!