Present Members

Kitty Lopez

Kitty Lopez founded Mariachi Corazón de Phoenix together with Richard Haefer and is the music director for the ensemble. She has been playing violin and flute in mariachi for over 25 years.

       Kitty Lopez began playing mariachi in 1984, when Arizona State University first offered a mariachi class while she was completing her Bachelors Degree in Music Education and Spanish. When told "who ever heard of flutes in a mariachi?" she accepted the challenge, and brought in so many examples of mariachi flute recordings that Dr Richard Haefer had no choice but to let her into the class. Since then she has never left, and when Mariachi Continental Azteca invited her to become a member, she started her professional mariachi career performing with that group while simultaneously helping to teach in the ASU Mariachi Program. Currently she is the music director and arranger, working with Dr Haefer to teach and expand the ASU Mariachi Program.
       In 4th grade In Trotwood, Ohio Kitty began playing the clarinet, but changed to flute at her mother's insistence. The excellent music programs in the Ohio Schools instilled a great love of music in Kitty, who took up the viola in 6th grade, abandoning it for string bass in 7th grade. Throughout high school she performed in band and orchestra until her high school graduation at age 16.
       When Kitty decided to return to school to complete her Bachelor's degree she first studied at Mesa Community College where Grant Wolf and Don Bothwell introduced her to jazz and she added saxophone to her list of instruments, performing in the jazz band and learning percussion while completing an AA at MCC. At Arizona State University Kitty was able to combine her love of music and the Spanish language by studying both, and performed her senior music recital program including both classical music and mariachi, accompanied by Mariachi Continental Azteca.
       While traveling in Northern Mexico Kitty learned to play by ear and began to branch out to perform with different types of Mexican and Latin music ensembles, including conjuntos, salsa, and Mexican trios plus flute. She also added violin and voice to her instrument list to increase her versatility.
       While studying flute, Kitty was fortunate to have several demanding teachers who were critical to developing both a love of music and the skills necessary to perform. Dianne Gilley of Dayton Ohio, Edwin Putnik at ASU and later Joe Corral were incredible flutists and teachers who have a special place in her heart.
       In 1992, Kitty was one of the founding members of Mariachi Corazón de Phoenix, and she is the current music director of the group. Mariachi Corazón de Phoenix has accompanied Kitty 3 times to perform and present at National Flute Association conventions, first in 1998 in Phoenix, Arizona then in 2001 for a workshop on Flutes in Mariachi in Dallas, Texas, and most recently in 2007 for a workshop and concert performance of the the NFA Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
       Kitty also is the author of an article on Flutes in Mariachi published by the Flutist Quarterly in summer 2001, and shortly after that she was invited to be an instructor in the San Jose Mariachi Conference in 2002, working for the first time with Mariachi Cobre. Since 2002 she has also been instructing flute and violin with Mariachi Cobre in Las Cruces, New Mexico at the Mariachi Conference.
       In Summer of 2008 Kitty and Dr Richard Haefer presented a week long course on "Mariachi Education in the USA" in Mexico City at the Escuela Nacional de Música (part of UNAM, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico) in Mexico City. In 2009 Kitty again taught workshops in the ENM mariachi course, and following research conducted by Dr Haefer and Kitty for several years in Mexico City presented a workshop and paper on Mariachis in Plaza Garibaldi, the birthplace of the urban Mexican mariachi, at the 2009 meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology.
       Kitty would also like to thank Dr Richard Haefer for his never ending support and mentoring as he encourages her to pursue her music education. Hopefully she will be able to complete a masters degree in ethnomusicology before the year 3000!




Upcoming Events

No Upcoming Events at the moment.