’s artistic director, Beau Bledsoe, collects instruments from all over the world. He collects musicians, too. Bledsoe rounds up an eclectic core ensemble of guitarists, vocalists, and percussionists — local practitioners of Cuban, Spanish, Andean, Argentinian, and Mexican styles — as well as foreign guest experts like Mireya Ramos, of the Grammy Award-winning mariachi Flor de Toloache (who encourage the subdued, quietly respectful audience to launch gritos during the show). Through Ensemble Ibérica, Kansas City audiences are treated to this global stew of musical styles. Its concerts aren’t just about rhythmic patterns, scarves, and swishy skirts, though. Often based on folkloric practices, the performances project a mix of heartbreak and hope, a longing for a life left behind, pride and preservation of heritage. After the 2017 terrorist attacks in Barcelona, flamenco cantaor José Cortés Fernández sang with raw grief, unleashing what we all felt. Abroad, governments try to silence many of these voices, erase their history of oppression, spin a story of saviors and saints. The music Ensemble Ibérica assembles tells us the real story — the story of survivors — and reminds us how lucky many of us are." (The Pitch, Kansas City)
Beau Bledsoe - Artistic director, guitars, oud
Beau Bledsoe’s performances have been described as “pointedly musical” by Paul Horsley of The Kansas City Star. This stylistically eclectic musician performs and records classical music, jazz and folkloric music from around the world as he seeks to integrate different musical cultures with diverse audiences. With his many varied projects and ensembles, Beau has performed extensively throughout Europe, Russia, Asia, South America and North America. In addition, he has produced fifteen recordings under his recording label Tzigane. Beau is currently artistic director and founder of Ensemble Ibérica which explores the music of Spain, Portugal, and the colonial Americas while educating the public about Iberian cultural influence.
Ezgi Karakus - cello
Turkish cellist, Ezgi Karakus began her cello education at the age of eleven with Prof. Caglayan Unal SUMER, and attended Dokuz Eylul University State Conservatory in her native Izmir, Turkey. While attending the conservatory she thrice won the concerto competition and before arriving in the U.S., joined several festivals including the Bremen Youth Symphony Orchestra in Bremen, Germany. Ezgi completed her Doctor of Musical Arts in Cello Performance at the University of Missouri - Kansas City Conservatory of Music & Dance under Prof. Carter Enyeart, Mark Gibbs, and Micheal Mermagen. Additionally, she was chosen to perform for Yo-Yo Ma’s Master Class at the Kauffman Center of the Performing Arts on March 22, 2018.
Amado Espinoza - charango, flutes, percussion
Amado Espinoza, from Cochabamba, Bolivia, is a unique performing artist that respects his folk traditions of the Andes mountains while creating compositions that are sincere to his musical-wanderlust personality. He specializes in the Bolivian charango, a small ten-stringed guitar, but demonstrates mastery of over 40 instruments, including Latin, African and Arabic percussion, and native flutes from all over the world. A multi-faceted performer, Amado also guides sound meditations, recycled instrument workshops, and is a respected instrument maker in South America and beyond.
Coleen Dieker - violin
Coleen started playing piano when she was four-years-old and violin when she was seven. She has been singing all her life. After many years of classical training, she attended Berklee College of Music for two years and studied piano performance, improvising, listening, arranging and recording. As a genre-hopping music fiend, she enjoys a diverse career of collaboration, performance and recording. She has since worked with many local and national artists, and enjoys taking on new challenges and projects.