Lina Gonzalez-Granados is a conductor on a mission.
“I want to expose audiences to as much Latin American music as I can,” says Gonzalez-Granados, a native of Colombia who founded the Boston-based Unitas Ensemble.
Gonzalez-Granados brings several Latin American pieces and Colombian-American cellist Christine Lamprea to town when she conducts the Santa Fe Pro Musica Orchestra on March 9 and 10 in a concert of works by Villa-Lobos, Arturo Márquez and Beethoven.
The choice of repertoire reflects Gonzalez-Granados’s feeling about New Mexico. On the program are “Sinfonietta No. 1 by Villa-Lobos, “Espejos en la Arena for Cello and Orchestra” by Márquez and “Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68, Pastoral” by Beethoven.
“I’ve never been to the state, but I am familiar with the landscape,” she explains. “Every time I see images of New Mexico, I see nature. I chose pieces that have a pastoral feel to them.”
A conductor since 2008 when she led the Youth Orchestra of Bellas Artes in Cali, Columbia, Gonzalez-Granados moved to Boston to study conducting and choral conducting at the New England Conservatory.
“My goal has always been to be a conductor,” says Gonzalez-Granados, who also plays the piano. “It’s much more than a career to me. I love music more than anything.”
Being one of the only Latina musicians at the New England Conservatory motivated Gonzalez-Granados to found Unitas Ensemble in 2014. The orchestra focuses on Latin American music.
In addition to conducting Unitas Ensemble and working on a doctoral degree in orchestral conducting at Boston University, Gonzalez-Granados is a frequent guest conductor of orchestras around the country.
She’s mentored with several female conductors including Marin Alsop, a former student of conductor Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) and the music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra.
“I’ve learned so much about conducting and myself from working with Marin and other conductors,” says Gonzalez-Granados. “They have helped me push myself so hard. Now, I feel a responsibility for the next generation.”