Common Ground Voices / La Frontera brings together a diverse group of artists in community music and peace-building projects situated at the border of Mexico and the United States. Through its signature programs, weeklong residencies and two-day encuentros, Common Ground Voices / La Frontera considers forced migration, identity, place, belonging, and shared humanity in this politically charged and historically contested region.
CGV La Frontera aims to generate meaningful collaboration through music, explore and create music of shared human values and aspirations, contribute to community music as an exercise of non-violence, and utilize music as a springboard for a meaningful discussion about social and political change within the group as well as with the society in general. We believe in transcending political and demographic borders through art-, theatre-, and music-making; in the transformative potential of immersive and experiential encounters with difference; in the power of proximity to expand perspectives and open hearts; and in the role that culture-bearers play in building community.
Emilie Amrein (she/they) is a cultural strategist, a community music practitioner, and an advocate for justice-centered choral practice. She is executive producer of The Choral Commons, and co-artistic director of Common Ground Voices / La Frontera, a bi-national community music project that aims to build relationships and understanding across political, demographic, and perceptual borders as an exercise of non-violence. She is also founder of Peregrine Music, an arts and education organization committed to engaging communities in meaningful dialogue about the most pressing social issues facing the world with creative, youth-driven performance projects. Emilie has presented her work for several distinguished professional organizations, including Chorus America, the American Choral Directors Association, the College Music Society, and the National Youth Leadership Council. Emilie is Associate Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department at the University of San Diego where she teaches courses on the intersection of music and social justice movements, community music, and changemaking.
Soprano and Choral Conductor, Dzaya Castillo Jiménez studied music at the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes and has diplomas in Choral Conducting and Mexican Ethnomusicology. Since 2001, she has served as Academic Coordinator and Teacher Trainer in the community choral program, RedeseArte Cultura de Paz and SALUDARTE de CONARTE in various border cities of Mexico such as Tapachula, Nogales, Ciudad Juárez and also Mexico City. Beginning in 2014, she has served as coordinator of choirs for the Redes 2025 program at Tijuana’s Centro de Artes Musicales, a program that promotes individual, community and social transformation through art. This program currently serves 300 choristers who sing in Community Choirs and 110 youth in Selection Choirs from various neighborhoods and communities in Baja California. She has conducted choirs in renowned spaces as the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall and at the International Choir Festival "Tlaxcala Canta," and Youth Creating Harmony Festival in Encinitas, CA, among others. In 2018, she founded and directed the International Festival “Coralifornia,” an annual choral festival bringing choirs together from across the continent in song.