The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music

Monterey Bay California USA

Students perform at the El Paso History Museum.

Talent and audiences come from near and far for classical performances organized by El Paso Pro-Musica.

By Ashley M. Biggers

When the soaring sounds of classical music reverberate in El Paso, one organization is likely behind it: El Paso Pro-Musica. Founded in 1977 by Bruce Nehring, the organization draws international talents to the Sun City, most notably during the El Paso Chamber Music Festival, which it has organized each January since 1990. "People come from all over the world to warm up," says executive director Felipa Solis. "January in El Paso is very relaxing. It's the ideal way to enjoy a community and hear some of the finest musicians in the world perform."

The Sound of Music

Cellist Zuill Bailey.

Cellist Zuill Bailey leads the organization as artistic director. Under his guidance, El Paso Pro-Musica has expanded its offerings to every zip code. "He's made music accessible to all. We've gone from a couple concerts a year and a chamber music festival, to being completely engaged in the community," Solis says. The organization works with thousands of school children a year and also performs for people in the early stages of Alzheimer's and in neonatal hospital units.

Pro-Musica expects to devote its 2020–2021 season to marking the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birthday with pop-up and formal concerts. And come January 2021, the group is slated to launch its chamber music festival. "The scenario is fabulous," Solis says, "with the visual art and performing art coming together."