New School Brazilian Choro Ensemble

Concert Highlights

Among all the diverse Brazilian genres Boukas has performed, composed, researched, taught and written about, it is Choro (Brazil's unique genre of popular chamber music) which he has explored most extensively

Founded by Boukas in 2008, New School Brazilian Choro Ensemble is likely the only Brazilian music its kind among universities in North America. Achieving the highest professional level of performance practice, authenticity and arrangements, the group's expansive repertoire (all arranged by Boukas) features a 140-year span of Choro composers beginning with seminal nationalists Ernesto Nazareth, Chiquinha Gonzaga and Anacleto de Medeiros, to twentieth century icons Pixinguinha, Jacob do Bandolim, Garôto and Radamés Gnattali, to contemporary masters Hermeto Pascoal and Guinga. Also featured are adaptations of his own compositions.

Boukas's source materials for his arrangements include meticulous transcriptions of legendary recordings, out-of-print published editions and composer autograph scores from archival research conducted in Brazil, and extensive experience scoring for a variety of chamber ensembles. The arrangements capture the rich contrapuntal and accompaniment textures which distill choro regional (small ensemble) performance practice over several generations. With Boukas as educator-mentor-guitarist, the student ensemble members assimilate the critically sensitive aspects of elastic phrasing, articulation, vocal lyricism and ensemble symbiosis which elevates their technical skills and artistic acumen for playing all Brazilian musical genres, classical repertoire and jazz. Aside from full ensemble rehearsals, there are concurrent sectionals for both guitarists and woodwinds.

The acoustic-based ensemble instrumentation is: three woodwinds (flute, soprano saxophone and doubling chair), three guitars (six and seven-string, cavaquinho), five-string electric bass and drums/percussion. Boukas is a performing member of the ensemble, setting the high professional level and dedication essential to performing this repertoire with polish and authenticity.

In fall 2013, the ensemble presented two performances– at the New School Jazz Performance Space and at Queens College/Aaron Copland School of Music as part of their Year of Brazil celebration. The program paid special tribute to seminal choro composer ERNESTO NAZARETH, celebrating the 150th anniversary of his birth. There is a comprehensive NAZARETH SITE which has biographical information and an extensive collection of recordings by piece. The site was created by the illustrious Brazilian cultural organization, Instituto Moreira Salles.


In December 2014, the ensemble presented its most ambitious program to date, PIXINGUINHA AND CONTEMPORARIES. Featuring eighteen new Boukas arrangements of works by Pixinguinha and other central choro composers,the program received two premiere performances: Mannes College Recital Hall and New School Jazz Performance Space.  Visit the dedicated page for complete video, recordings and program notes,


Excerpts from the ensemble's Ernesto Nazareth Tribute Concert is featured in the audio player above.
Click << or >> to listen to the desired track:

1. Jubileu (Anacleto de Medeiros)
2. Batuque (Ernesto Nazareth)
3. Remexendo (Radamés Gnattali)
4. Apanhei-te, Cavaquinho (Nazareth)
5. Lamentos do Morro (Garôto)
6. Os Boêmios (Anacleto de Medeiros)
7. Um Choro Feliz (Mário Laginha)
8. Nó Na Garganta (Guinga)
9. Choro Moreno (Mané Silveira)
10. Bach Prelude Revisited (Bach/Boukas)


Kana Miyamoto  
Jasper Dutz  woodwinds
Manuel Canchola   woodwinds
Filipe Duarte  guitar, cavaco
Richard Boukas, guitar, cavaco, mandolin

Kieran McAuliffe, seven-string guitar
Sigmar Matthiasson  bass  
Nathan Colbert  drums, percussion

For more about the New School Brazilian Choro Ensemble, repertoire, source recordings and other aspects: 


Other special ensembles and projects:

Pixinguinha and Contemporaries
New School Brazilian Jazz Ensemble

música mineira project
Brazilian choral project 
Queens College Year of Brazil