Chus Alonso – Short Bio (600 words)


Chus Potaje at San Jose Jazz Festival 2 738x1024 - Shorter Bio

   Photo by Aengus McGiffin

Chus Alonso is a musician with over 30 years of experience performing, composing, leading musical projects and teaching.


As a composer his focus has been on creating contemporary music rooted in flamenco, Spanish folk, Latin American traditional genres and jazz. Alonso has composed for a wide range of ensembles, including symphony orchestra works, compositions for small chamber groups and various types Latin ensembles, as well as piano solo pieces.



Alonso founded Potaje in 1992 with the objective of exploring musical connections between Spain and Latin America. Since that time the ensemble has created and performed a blend of contemporary Flamenco, Latin and jazz music, , developing an original style, both innovative and traditional: respectful of the old musical forms, but open to contemporary ways of expression. In the framework of this ensemble, Latino American, Flamenco and jazz artists of the highest caliber have collaborated to build musical bridges, linking Spain with the Americas.


Alonso plays flute with Orquesta La Moderna Tradición since its creation in 1997. The group is one of the most significant charanga ensembles in the movement to recover and modernize the Cuban Danzón and Cha-cha-chá.


Current projects include Fandangueros, a quartet dedicated to traditional and contemporary original music from Philippines, Latin America and Spain; and Mark Taylor/Chus Alonso duo, playing flamenco and Spanish music.



Alonso’s main instrument is the flute and he also plays the laúd (Spanish lute). He has played throughout the United States, including at The Lincoln Center in New York, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, The Ford Theater in Los Angeles, the Alaska Center for Performing Arts in Anchorage, the Telluride Jazz Festival in Colorado, and most major venues and festivals in the San Francisco Bay Area.  He has also toured Spain five times.



Music education has been an important part of Alonso’s professional activity. For twenty years (1994-2014) he taught at the Community Music Center in San Francisco and was the Program Director of this institution for ten years (2002-2012). In addition he has given scores of residences in elementary, middle and high schools. He has worked with art education organizations such as LEAP (Learning through Education in the Arts Project), California Arts Council (Artist in Residency Program), SF Symphony (Adventures in Music), La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley, Young Audiences of the Bay Area, California School Leadership Academy, Arts Education Founders Collaborative, and San Francisco, Oakland, Alameda, and Berkeley Unified School Districts. Alonso has also given numerous workshops in music schools, universities and conservatories in the United States and throughout Spain.



Chus Alonso was born in Spain where he received an eclectic musical education. During his childhood he played guitar, laúd (Spanish lute), piano, and sang in folkloric groups. At age 18 he moved to Madrid to study flute and percussion in the Conservatory. Looking for an alternative education he studied with Pedro Iturralde, probably the first Spanish musician who explored the fusion between flamenco and jazz. Later, in Barcelona, Alonso continued his education in the recently created, Taller de Músics. There he became in contact with jazz composers such as That Jones and Chuck Israels. He also began playing Latin music guided by Chilean composer and pianist, Mario Lecaros. In 1981-82 he studied classical flute technique with Ellen Toettcher in Berlin, Germany. After moving to San Francisco in 1984, Chus studied with Jazz musicians such as Mark Levine, Eddie Marshall and Jon English. Soon he entered the flamenco and Latin music scene of the Bay Area. His training continued through the contact with seasoned musicians of this artistic community.


2011Chus flute2 300x300 - Shorter Bio

  Photo by Maite Klein