The Cuarteto LatinoAmericano was formed in Mexico in 1982. At the heart of its membership are three brothers: Saúl Bitrán (first violin), Arón Bitrán (second violin), and Alvaro Bitrán (cello). The fourth member is violist Javier Montiel. The ensemble steadily built its reputation in its early years, achieving major recognition in the United States from 1988, the year it was named quartet-in-residence at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University. In 2008 the quartet left that post to serve as quartet-in-residence at the Mexico City-based Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes.
During its American years the group frequently toured the U.S., Mexico, and South America, as well as Europe and New Zealand. It has appeared with leading artists, including guitarists Sharon Isbin
and Narciso Yepes
, pianists Cyprien Katsaris
and Rudolf Buchbinder
, and cellist Janos Starker
. It has also performed with numerous front-rank orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Dallas Symphony
, and received two Grammy nominations, both in 2002 for the acclaimed final volume in the six-disc Villa-Lobos
quartet cycle (Nos. 4, 9, and 11) on the Dorian
label. The Cuarteto LatinoAmericano has carried a heavy concert schedule over the years: indeed, the 2008 calendar featured tours of Mexico, Canada, U.S., and the Netherlands. The group's recordings include the 2008 release of Tango Sensations on the CD Baby
label, with works by Piazzolla
and Carlos Guastavino
, and the complete string quartets of Villa-Lobos
in 2009. The group also maintained a tour schedule with 2012 dates in the U.S., Mexico, and Europe.