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Zorzal (Spanish for wood thrush) is a vocal and instrumental ensemble dedicated to the performance of Spanish and Latin American music from the 12th century to the present. We focus on works that reflect how musical elements from Spain are influenced by and influence other musical cultures, including those from African, Native American, Sephardic, Arabic and other European sources. We ourselves are a crossroads, bringing together a variety of musical backgrounds, education, and experience. Some of us are educators; several of us have extensive experience performing folk music, both American and Latin American. Our interpretations are based on ethnomusicological and musicological research, as well as on knowledge of classical and jazz composition. Our performance practice is at a crossroads between folk vernaculars and classical training, and our mission is at the crossroads of education and pure performance. As Artistic Director of Zorzal Music Ensemble, I research and arrange the music we perform, and also compose new works for the ensemble.

Zorzal features a vocal quintet, recorders, guitar, harpsichord, viola da gamba, and Latin American, Arab, and African percussion.


We perform in a variety of Spanish dialects as well as in Ladino (Sephardic Jewish) and Native American Quechua (Inca) and Náhuatl (Aztec).


Photo (L-R): Kate Chen, Megan Helvering, Lynn Gumert, Doug Helvering, Janet Walker, Hanka Speldova, Carlos Fernández

Zorzal 2014.jpg

What We Do

Zorzal Music Ensemble performs at a variety of venues, including formal concerts, outdoor cultural and arts festivals, educational programs, and at academic conferences. During recent years, Zorzal has collaborated with the Garden State Sinfonia in Highland Park, NJ, and with the Dance Department at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA.


Contact Information:


Bilingual Programming available for:

  •    Heritage Festivals

  •    Historical Roots of Multiculturalism/Globalization

  •    Spanish or History Department course tie-ins

  •    Conferences

  •    Educational Workshops

  •    Sacred and Secular Celebrations

  •    Christmas programs

  •    Collaborations with dance programs

  •    Latin American Baroque

  •    Latin American nueva canción

  •    Sephardic music

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