Ohio State nav bar

Andean Music Ensemble

The Andean Music Ensemble at OSU was born out of a collaborative effort among the Center for Latin American Studies, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the School of Music. The Center for Latin American Studies provided a new course development grant and funding for the acquisition of the instruments. The course was introduced in Autumn of 2014 and is offered every semester as a cross-listed class in Music and Spanish and Portuguese open to both graduate and undergraduate students. Michelle Wibbelsman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, directs the ensemble and introduces new repertoire every semester. For her, music offers a creative point of entry into a variety of other aspects of Andean culture. 

The course is open for enrollment to graduate, undergraduate and Program 60 students. There are no auditions and no requirement for prior musical experience for joining the Andean Music Ensemble.

Listen to more of the Andean Music Ensemble's recordings via Clyp, courtesy of Gordon Ulmer. 

In the course students learn to play and perform music primarily from Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina. The class explores different genres including the Peruvian huayno, the Ecuadorian sanjuanito, the Bolivian saya and tinku, plus Bolivian sikuriadas (panpipes ensemble tunes) and tarkeadas (wooden flute ensemble tunes). Students have a chance to experience playing a variety of instruments including zampoñas or sikuris (Andean panpipes), tarkas (Bolivian festival flutes), quenas/kenas (notched mouthpiece flutes), charangos (Andean syncretic string instruments), guitars, bombo (Andean bass drum), and chakchas (Goat hooves rattles). We occasionally include Afro-Andean musical traditions and use of instruments like the Afro-Peruvian cajón (percussion box) and quijada de burro (donkey jawbone rattle).


End of the Semester Performance: Navidad en los Andes - Christmas in the Andes

Generally the course consists of studying techniques and methods for playing these instruments; learning to sing in Spanish, Quechua and Aymara; exploring Andean musical and performance aesthetics; and learning about the cultural background and social significance of the songs.


Performance at President Drakes Residence

During the course of the semester the ensemble hosts guest speakers including OSU’s Quechua instructor and faculty members from across campus who work on linguistic, cultural or musical themes related to the ensemble’s repertoire. In this sense this class invites students to engage in discussions about a variety of topics from the unique perspective of music making and introduces students to professors on campus teaching exciting courses that might provide a segue for the interests students develop in this ensemble.


Letters to the OSU Andean Music Ensemble

Toward the latter part of each semester, the Andean Music Ensemble performs around campus, does class presentations and engages in outreach projects with the community.

Read about the Andean Music Ensemble's outreach event with students from a local elementary school. The students wrote letters to the ensemble in response to the visit.



The Andean Music Ensemble (MUSIC 2208.22/7280.22, SPAN 2208.22/7280.22) For more information or if you are interested in joining the class please contact Michelle Wibbelsman.




Below is a video of an Andean Music Ensemble performance of the song "Ya se ha muerto mi abuelo" by Juaneco y su Combo during Día de los Muertos celebration on November 2nd, at the OSU Thompson Library.