New recording "Iberica" receives 4.5 stars

Saxophonist Matt Otto presents the ambitious Iberica, a trip into the sounds of music from the Iberian Peninsula—Spain and Portugal. Ensemble Iberica joins him, a guitar trio that adds—in addition to their guitars—the cavaquinto, the oud, and the Cuban tres, crafting a delicate yet expansive soundscape in this tranquil, flowing, chamber jazz outing. Read More….

Iberica Front Cover

Folk Alliance International Conference 2017


For the fourth year in a row, Ensemble ibérica will be featured at the Folk Alliance International 2017 Conference. This year we have a special guest, world renowned fado singer, and SONY recording artist, Nathalie Pires.‚Äč

Saturday, February 18th, 2017
Carnavál Room (545)
Private Showcases – Saturday 11:00 PM to 11:30 PM

KC Music Collective (739)
Private Showcases – Saturday 3:00 AM to 3:20 AM (next morning)

Sunday, February 19th, 2017 (open to public)
Roots & Rhythm Stage (Sponsored by KKFI 90.1FM)
Liberty Room - Kansas City Folk Festival - Westin Ballroom Level
2:00 PM to 2:45 PM

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Beau Bledsoe featured in KC Studio


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Review Of "Lusophone"


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Beau Bledsoe interviewed in KC Star

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New instrument acquisitions

Portuguese guitar

2008 Fernando Meireles (Coimbra, Portugal)

One of the greatest instrument builders in Portugal, Fernando Meireles builds guitars with a very lush sound, excellent playability and a genuine respect for tradition. His instruments are played by many of the top players in Portugal. This instrument is a real gem and we’re so proud to have this guitar in our collection.

All four of these instruments were purchased from Agostinho Tico Rodrigues at his beautiful shop Porto Guitarra located in Oporto, Portugal. Funding for this acquisition was made possible via private donation from the Topeka Community Foundation.

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Machete de rajão
Madeira, Portugal

The rajão was taken to Hawaii and evolved into the ukulele.

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Cavaquinho
Oporto, Portugal

A small Portuguese instrument also popular in Cape Verde and Brazil.

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Viola braguesa
Oporto, Portugal

An, instrument from north-western Portugal. It has 10 strings in 5 courses

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Ensemble Ibérica at 2016 Art in the Loop.

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Ensemble Ibérica has been awarded a performance and stipend for the 2016 Art in the Loop with their new work Cubanisms created by Ensemble Ibérica guitarist Michael McClintock. Cubanisms recreates the Cuban practice of performing traditional music within the social setting of public transportation. The performance will be on September 9th, 2016 at 11:30am in the park on Delaware and 5th street in Kansas City, Mo near the River Market West KC streetcar stop.

The mission of the Art in the Loop Foundation (AILF) is to contribute to the visual identity, enrichment, and revitalization of Downtown Kansas City, create new opportunities for artistic development, and expand public interaction with new art of excellence. AILF is 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging artists in the on-going revitalization of Downtown Kansas City.

Middle of the Map 2016


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Ensemble Ibérica will perform at the Middle of the Map festival on May 4th, 9:30 - 10:30 at Californos (4124 Pennsylvania Ave, Kansas City, MO)



Featuring:
Beau Bledsoe - guitar, oud
Zsolt Eder - violin
Jordan Shipley - guitars
Michael McClintock - guitars
Brandon Draper - percussion
Jeff Harshbarger - bass

Special guest: Mark Southerland

Ensemble Ibérica showcase schedule at Folk Alliance International 2016

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Join us for these special showcases featuring Ensemble Ibérica.

Featuring:
Beau Bledsoe - guitar, oud
Zsolt Eder - violin
Jordan Shipley - guitars
Brandon Draper - percussion
Rich Wheeler - saxophone
Jeff Harshbarger - bass

Roots private showcase Room 665
Wednesday, Feb, 17th, 11pm

KC Music Collective
Room 739
Friday, Feb, 19th, 11pm

Additional Income in Folk Music
Roanoke Ballroom, Westin Hotel
Saturday, Feb, 20th, 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM
Beau Bledsoe (panelist)

Music Fair Showcase (open to public) Westin Hotel
Sunday, Feb, 21st, 3pm

special guests:
Erin McGrane - vocals
Jeff Freling - guitar



Ensemble Ibérica awarded Francis Family Foundation grant

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A generous grant of $6000 has been awarded to Ensemble Ibérica from the Francis Family Foundation Small Arts Grant Fund. Recognizing the arts are more accessible when located within venues where people live and work, the Francis Family Foundation created the Small Arts Grant Fund to support a wide range of grassroots arts organizations throughout the region. Ensemble Ibérica will use this award as general operating support for our upcoming 2016 concert series, and to help our educational outreach program reach a wider audience. Our next season includes performances of Cuban traditional music, baroque Catalonian music, Portuguese fado and special collaborations with the Owen Cox Dance Group, The American Jazz Museum and Folk Alliance International.

Review of "Roma: Music of the Gypsy"

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KC Star feature “Roma: Music of the Gypsy”

The Classical Beat: World cultures, classics with a twist and superstar performers highlight the season - Patrick Neas

One of the marvelous things about music is its ability to take you to the far corners of the world simply through sound.

In October at the RecordBar, Ensemble Iberica (led by guitarist Beau Bledsoe) will present “Roma: Music of the Gypsy,” which will trace the wanderings of the Roma people from their homeland of India, through Central Asia and throughout Europe.

“The prevailing linguistic wisdom is that the Roma were an Indian military tribe,” Bledsoe said. “They still have a lot of military-style Sanskrit words in their language. Even when someone is speaking Calo, the Spanish Gypsy dialect, they still have those words in there.”

Ensemble Iberica is in its second year, and so far the group has been warmly received for its innovative programming, which draws on Hispanic cultures from around the world.

Bledsoe, the founder and artistic director of Ensemble Iberica, is a Kansas City treasure whose immense experience with both the European classical repertoire and non-Western music is rare and deep. He goes to the source to learn his craft. For example, he has studied Gypsy music in Mexico, Spain and Turkey.

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Ensemble Ibérica listed in Editor's Picks (KCMetropolis)


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Ensemble Ibérica, Performing Arts Series at Johnson County Community College (pictured)

KC’s newest world music group transported its audience on a tour of Mexico in its spring performance at JCCC. Beau Bledsoe’s leadership, two enchanting vocalists (Fedra Cooper Barrera and Mireya Ramos), and Guitarras Ibérica’s instrumental foundation (Jordan Shipley and Michael McClintock) resulted in an enjoyable evening of authentic, affecting Mexican dance and folk music. (May 2015)

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Ozark Retreat

On June 24th, Michael McClintock, Jordan Shipley and Beau Bledsoe loaded up a car full of guitars and took a creative retreat to northern Arkansas for three days. We stayed in a cabin on the White River to intensely study the music of Matt Otto for our concert on July 6th. It was a highly productive time for all three of us and we plan on doing it again one day.



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A mountain of great music in the Ozarks. This is a recording from Jordan’s phone late one night.











New instrument acquisition

Made possible by an anonymous donation, Ensemble Ibérica has made it's first instrument purchase. It is a contra bass guitar from the Spanish guitar shop, Esteve. It has a solid cedar soundboard, an ebony fingerboard, an ebony reinforcement in the neck and solid Indian rosewood sides. With this instrument our musical lower end will significantly improve in quality.

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Review of "Querido Mexico"

Mucho amor for “Querido México”

By Kristin Shafel Omiccioli Wed, Jun 03, 2015 - KCMetropolis

Ensemble Ibérica, Kansas City’s newest world music arts organization, enjoyed an intimate evening in Polsky Theatre as part of the Performing Arts Series at Johnson County Community College. Led by artistic director Beau Bledsoe on guitar, Ensemble Ibérica presented a wide variety of styles from all over Mexico, including boleros, huapangos, and rancheras from the Jalisco, La Huasteca, Michoacán, and Oaxaca regions.

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Listen to entire concert

Querido Mexico

In my 20's I had the privilege to visit Mexico with my friends, the Aguirre family. One summer we all piled into a van loaded with friends and relatives and drove from Kansas City to Ciudad Manuel Doblado in Guanajuato, Mexico. The music that was selected for the ride was a constant mix of Vicente Fernandez (mariachi) and Banda music from Northern Mexico. I remember feeling the music was really silly and over emotional and I certainly could not connect with it. Those of you that know me can attest that this is certainly not the case now. Guitar in hand, I learned Mexican songs in various social gatherings that often lasted over 24 hours. I also took my Mamiya c330 camera with me so please have a look at some of the images. Upon returning to KC I did a small tenure with Trio Atzlan at Manny's where I learned even more songs and styles. Mexico is still my favorite country and I absolutely love the music. I've been back many times since that first trip and Mexico never fails to surprise me in some artistic way. Please join me May 30th as Ensemble Ibérica presents Querido Mexico (Dear Mexico) at the Carlsen Center in JCCC. This concert is basically a love letter to Mexico and a celebration of its many musical styles.

- Beau Bledsoe

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Salvador's pirekua

The Purépecha are truly amazing people. They established their state in the 14th century in what is now Michoacán. From my experience they are incredibly gentle and kind but are capable of formidable strength in adverse situations. In what appears to be one of the only bright stories in the Conquest of Mexico, Michoacán was appointed the Spanish bishop, Vasco de Quiroga in the early 16th century. Quiroga was a true utopianist and attempted to make the now famous once pueblos (eleven towns) each a center of a particular industry. Each citizen worked six hours a day and contributed on an equal basis to the common welfare. One of these pueblos, Paracho, was given the trade of European instrument building. This small pueblo is surrounded by a wealth of trees and beautiful mountains which make it ideal for this activity. Paracho, Michoacán and Cremona, Italy are thought to be the last two towns in the world dedicated to building string instruments. As a mecca for guitar players, Paracho receives guests from all over the world on a daily basis. Everyone’s father is the “greatest builder” and it’s quite easy to play hundreds of instruments in one day. I’ve been visiting Paracho since my early 20’s and there I met my good friend and business partner, Salvador Castillo in 2002. He’s a brilliant guitar maker and a better player than many professionals. We started this business together in 2003 and he’s become a real force in the international guitar market. For our Ensemble Ibérica concert on May 30th, 2015, I’ve decided to honor our friendship by transcribing and performing his version of the Purépecha pirekua, Male Consuelito. Both Michael McClintock and I will be performing this music on instruments that Salvador built for us.

- Beau Bledsoe

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“Colonia” is now available on iTunes

"Colonia," the debut recording of Ensemble Ibérica, delves into the music and history of Ibéria (Spain and Portugal). It draws from diverse time periods, styles and locations throughout the diaspora of their respective colonies in the New World. The project explores various trade routes and their effects on all of the cultures involved, including African slaves, Europeans and indigenous populations. Colonia features music from Portugal, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Cuba and Brazil utilizing musicians from classical, jazz and folk music traditions from around the world.

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Ensemble Iberica 2015 Concert Season

An rousing program of Mexican music featuring female mariachi Mireya Ramos, a program exploring Gypsy music throughout Europe, an elegant evening of Austrian music and food. These are just a few of the gems from of our second season that begins May of 2015. Please join us!

2015 Concert Series

Ensemble Ibérica showcase schedule at Folk Alliance International 2015

Join us for these special showcases featuring Ensemble Ibérica and Beau Bledsoe.
All of these are open to the public except the private showcases on Saturday night.

Money Wolf Music Stage, Old Benton's Steak House, Westin Hotel (Beau Bledsoe)
Wednesday, Feb 18th, 11:00pm

Official FAI Showcase, Pershing North, Westin Hotel (Ensemble Ibérica)
Thursday, Feb 19, 9:00pm

Acoustic Guitar Project, Art Gallery, Sheraton Hotel (Beau Bledsoe)
Friday, Feb 20, 6:00pm

Music Camp, Sheraton Hotel - Empire C room (Latin guitar techniques w/ Beau Bledsoe)
Saturday, Feb 21, 12:30pm

KC Tower Private Showcase, Room 774, Westin Hotel (Ensemble Ibérica)
Saturday, Feb 21, 1:00am

Murder Ballad Ballroom, Room 551, Westin Hotel (Ensemble Ibérica)
Saturday, Feb 21, 11:30pm

KC Tower Private Showcase, Room 774, Westin Hotel (Beau Bledsoe and Mark Southerland)
Saturday, Feb 21, 2:00am


Check out the KCUR segment about the 2015 Folk Alliance International Conference featuring E.I. artistic director, Beau Bledsoe.

Ensemble Ibérica featured in KC Star year end review

From the KC Star article by Patrick Neas,
"2014 was a championship year in the arts, classical mus
ic"
12/27/2014

First, a big welcome to Ensemble Iberica. The group, founded by guitarist Beau Bledsoe and devoted to early music from the Iberian peninsula, gave its first performance in July. At the time, I described Bledsoe as Kansas City’s Jordi Savall, and that’s no exaggeration. Like Savall, Bledsoe is a master musician who has a knack for creative programming and collaborating with the most interesting people.

The group’s inaugural concert was an auspicious beginning. The program of fado at the Carlsen Center’s Polsky Theater was one of the first times the Portuguese soul music was performed in the Kansas City area. Subsequent concerts have been just as intriguing, like the recent program of Kilmore carols, Irish Christmas music by way of Spain. Ensemble Iberica is a most welcome addition to Kansas City’s music scene.

Read article here

Ensemble Ibérica releases debut recording "Colonia."

On December 10th, 2014, Ensemble Ibérica releases "Colonia."

This diverse recording delves into the music and history of Ibéria (Spain and Portugal). It draws from diverse time periods, styles and locations throughout the diaspora of their respective colonies in the New World. The project explores various trade routes and their effects on all of the cultures involved, including African slaves, Europeans and indigenous populations. Colonia features music from Portugal, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Cuba and Brazil utilizing musicians from classical, jazz and folk music traditions from around the world.

Victoria Botero - soprano
Karim Memi - vocals
Fedra Cooper Barrera- vocals
Beau Bledsoe - guitars
Jordan Shipley - guitars
Michael McClintock - guitars

Purchase CD

Video and audio from "Roma: Gypsy music throughout Europe."

On Monday, November 17, Ensemble Ibérica performed "Roma: Gypsy music throughout Europe" to a highly enthusiastic sold out audience at Grünauer. Selections included Gypsy music from Spain, France, Turkey, Hungary and Romania. These clips feature our incredible guest artist from Hungary, Zsolt Eder on violin performing music from his homeland.





Video highlights from "Spanish Baroque."

Here is a highlight video from our most recent concert at St Paul's Episcopal Church on Friday, October 24, 2014. Selections included ancient troubadour songs and 18th century secular songs and dances composed by Spanish masters Antonio Martín y Coll, Gaspar Sanz and José Marin performed on period instruments.

Ensemble Ibérica to perform at 2015 ArtsKC Awards Luncheon

Ensemble Iberica has been chosen as one of the featured performers for the 2015 ArtsKC Awards Luncheon, attended by over 600 of Kansas City’s business, civic, and art community leaders. The event honors area companies and individuals for their arts leadership, and is held at the Starlight Theater January 30, 2015. An artist reception for ArtsKC grant recipients Mark Southerland and Linda Lighton will precede the luncheon. Ensemble members Fedra Cooper Barrera, Beau Bledsoe, Jordan Shipley and Michael McClintock will perform a brief set of Portuguese fados and Mexican folkloric songs.

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Ensemble Ibérica volunteer outreach program

On October 8th, 2014, Norma Pacheco O'Neil (Educational Outreach Coordinator) and Beau Bledsoe (Artistic Director) presented a lecture/demonstration at Alta Vista High School in Kansas City's Westside community. The presentation was made possible by the voluntary efforts of Alta Vista music teacher, Luis Portillo and Ensemble Ibérica. The students were taught the history and performance practices of Spanish flamenco and how it relates to Latin American culture.

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"Musa" delivers a passionate night of latin song.

Operatic soprano Victoria Botero, Argentine tango singer Karim Memi, and Mexican vocalist Fedra Cooper Barrera performed to an exuberant sold out house on Monday, September 15th for "Musa: Women in Song". Held in the intimate upstairs space at Grünauer restaurant, Ensemble Ibérica's three "muses" performed selections ranging from the classical vocal works of Heitor Villa-Lobos to the Rancheras of José Alfredo Jiménez. Ensemble Ibérica's resident guitar trio Guitarras Ibéricas (Beau Bledsoe, Michael Mclintock and Jordan Shipley) accompanied the singers with Spanish guitar, Portuguese guitar, Cuban tres, Brazilian cavaquinho, Bolivian charango and acoustic bass creating unique arrangements made especially for this concert.

Ensemble Ibérica receives its first sponsorship

The local brewery KC Bier has agreed to be a sponsor of our 2015 Season. We first sampled their amazing product at the Austrian restaurant, Grünauer (owned by our vice president Nick Grünauer) and fell in love immediately. Both of our organizations are new to Kansas City so we thought it would be a good match. Luckily the staff at KC Bier agreed. "Prost!"

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Another full house for Ensemble Ibérica

Flamenco Mío filled both the Lied Center Pavilion and the Polsky Theatre at Johnson County Community College in our second concert presentation this season. Rehearsing this show was particularly complex and time consuming but well worth the results. The program featured the traditional flamenco dances Seguiriyas, Soleá and tangos but also included musical arrangements of Turkish and Cuban songs. As always, our special guest artists were treated to many fine samplings of Kansas City meats and local music. A very special thanks to the staff at the both the Lied Center and JCCC for their professionalism and helpfulness.

A beautiful evening for Casa de Fado @ Prairie Logic

On July 23rd, 5:30pm, Ensemble Ibérica presented Casa de Fado at Prairie Logic, a public art installation by Janet Zweig and el dorado, located on the green roof atop the six-story parking garage north of Cosentino’s Downtown Market just south of 12th St. between Main and Walnut. It was completed in the fall of 2012, and is a full-scale rail boxcar in a field of prairie grass, designed to be activated by live performance. Beautiful weather and beautiful Kansas Citians made the evening very special. Featured vocalists included Fedra Cooper Barrera, Bruno Bessa, Nihan Yesil and Havilah Bruders. Cinder Block Brewery was also there serving their amazing beer.

Video from "Fado, the Soul of Portugal" at JCCC

Nicolas Segura produced this interview and video piece about our debut concert, Fado, the Soul of Portugal. It features interviews with our artistic director, Beau Bledsoe and our guest fado singer from Lisbon, Rodrigo Costa Félix as well as the fado masterclass and concert. The video was produced at the request of the Perfoming Art Series at Johnson County Community College.

A sold out house for our debut concert

Ensemble Ibérica's premier concert, Fado, the Soul of Portugal sold out a day in advance to a very appreciative audience at the the 420 seat Polsky Theatre. Our partnership with the Performing Arts Series of Johnson County Community College was an absolutely top notch experience for us and we look forward to many more fruitful collaborations with them in the future.

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Ensemble Iberica brings fado to the flatlands - KCStar

Guitarist Beau Bledsoe’s group will perform a traditional Portuguese music of longing, nostalgia and loneliness, July 12 at the Polsky Theatre at Johnson County Community College.

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Beau Bledsoe featured in KC Metropolis

Ensemble Ibérica artistic director Beau Bledsoe is featured in the KC Metropolis series, Movers, Shakers, Stalwarts written by Kristin Shafel Omiccioli.

Date announed for next Casa de Fado.

On July 23rd, 5:30pm, Ensemble Iberica will present Casa de Fado at Prairie Logic, a public art installation by Janet Zweig and el dorado, located on the green roof atop the six-story parking garage north of Cosentino’s Downtown Market just south of 12th St. between Main and Walnut. It was completed in the fall of 2012, and is a full-scale rail boxcar in a field of prairie grass, designed to be activated by live performance. The boxcar door opens to create a proscenium stage of sorts, which opens out to a gathering space for a small audience.

Parking is available in the garage at the actual entry address of 1271 Main St.

Video from our "Seed the Season" fundraiser/auction

Our friend Nicholas Segura was kind enough to shoot video at our fundraiser on 6.27.14. We raised $2400 that evening and had the time of our lives. The video features the amazing home of Rod Parks and two performances by Ensemble Ibérica.

Ensemble Iberica awarded a performance slot and stipend at Prairie Logic

Prairie Logic is a public art installation by Janet Zweig and el dorado, located on the green roof atop the six-story parking garage north of Cosentino’s Downtown Market just south of 12th St. between Main and Walnut. People can park in the garage and/or, the actual entry address is 1271 Main St. It was completed in the fall of 2012, and is a full-scale rail boxcar in a field of prairie grass, designed to be activated by live performance. The boxcar door opens to create a proscenium stage of sorts, which opens out to a gathering space for a small audience.


Ensemble Iberica will present Casa de Fado a portable installation that aims to re-create the intimate performance spaces of Lisbon where audiences and musicians come to share Fado. This installation includes various artifacts from Lisbon that are typical Fado house adornments (portraits of great Fadistas, hanging musical instruments, images of Lisbon). We would transform the interior of the boxcar with these items and have audience members seated at small tables inside the boxcar and standing outside of the boxcar.

Beau Bledsoe awarded grant from MAAA

Ensemble Ibérica artistic director, Beau Bledsoe has been awarded a professional development grant from the Mid-America Arts Alliance to attend the 2014 Folk Alliance Conference in Kansas City, Mo. Ensemble Ibérica president Bill Cutler and E.I. artists Jeff Harshbarger, Karim Memi, Jordan Shipley and Fedra Barrera will also be in attendance.

Ensemble Ibérica to debut at 2014 Folk Alliance Conference.

Ensemble Ibérica will make their debut performance at the 6th annual Folk Alliance Conference opening night showcase on February 19th - February 19th, 8:30pm Pershing West location. The Ensemble will consist of Beau Bledsoe -guitars, Jordan Shipley -guitars, Jeff Harshbarger -bass, Karim Memi -vocals and special guest vocalist from Mexico Fedra Barrera.

The International Folk Alliance conference is an annual event that draws together music industry professionals from throughout the world to share ideas, network, and celebrate traditional music and dance. It is an event of celebration, education, and entertainment.

Welcome Daniel Thompson

Ensemble Ibérica welcomes Daniel Thompson aboard as our consulting attorney. Daniel is a recent graduate of the Columbia Law School and is an associate at the Husch Blackwell law firm. He has lived and studied in Spain and is an aficionado of music and wine from the region. Daniel is currently working with KCVLAA via Husch Blackwell to help support the arts and other pro-bono activities.

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