A native of Puerto Rico, Luisa Cartagena is a freelance flutist and music educator currently based in Los Angeles, CA. Known for her versatility of styles and advocacy for music education, Ms. Cartagena performs regularly with various chamber groups in the area, runs her private flute studio, and serves as Band Director of the St. James Episcopal School. As an ambassador of her instrument, she is involved with the Los Angeles Flute Guild participating as guest performer and teacher for their various masterclasses and events. She has also served as adjudicator for various flute competitions including the San Diego Flute Guild Spring Festival among others.
Ms. Cartagena’s love for music and collaborating with others started by being a member of the prestigious San Juan Children’s Choir since she was 9 years old. From a very early age, she was performing in concerts locally and around the world. After a few years of being in the choir, she started playing the flute and saw the correlation of singing and flute playing. It was love at first sight.
She was then accepted to the Interlochen Arts Academy, moved to the academy at 15 years old, and finished her last two years of high school. Upon graduating, she then went to pursue her undergraduate studies at Longy School of Music where she studied flute with Robert Willoughby. Her achievements here include being invited as guest artist with the Longy Woodwind Quintet to the Skidmore Wind Festival and receiving the Margaret Rhode Award for outstanding achievement in solfège and theoretical studies.
After two years at Longy, Ms. Cartagena transferred to Berklee College of Music where she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Professional Music. At Berklee, Ms. Cartagena received the Excellence in Music Education Award and the Scholarship Award at the Berklee in Puerto Rico program for outstanding musical achievement. She was involved with the Berklee community as treasurer of the NAfME Collegiate Chapter. Ms. Cartagena, with the help of her flute professor Wendy Rolfe, was also president and founder of the Berklee Flute Society, now an established flute club in the Boston area.
After Berklee, Ms. Cartagena obtained a Master’s degree in Music Education with a Teaching Assistantship from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She studied flute with professor Christopher Krueger, and also acted as flute studio assistant. While pursuing her graduate degree, she played with a number of ensembles including the Graduate Woodwind Quintet and the Jazz Ensemble where she was awarded a DownBeat award for her outstanding performance in piccolo.
As a lover of film music, Ms. Cartagena performed in the Boston and Western Massachusetts area regularly with groups such as the Amherst Pocket Orchestra and the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra where she has performed in various film festivals in the New England area and the West Coast that include the Sounds of Silence Festival at the Coolidge Corner Theater and the Silent Film Festival at the Castro Theater. She was also an active session player, acting as an on call player for the East Coast Scoring Orchestra, Boston Scoring Orchestra, Berklee Session Players Orchestra and the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra.
Her move to Los Angeles hasn’t stopped her from performing. She has already presented recitals with her colleague Alysa Treber as part of their flute duo called Silver Edge Flutes. Ms. Cartagena also performs regularly with her colleague, Tom Mueller, performing flute and organ recitals around Southern California. Aside from all music related things, she loves to hike, travel, and explore coffee shops in her spare time.