Photo of

Jose Luis Puerta

Assistant Professor of Practice

Music Bldg, Room 246

Dr. José Luis Puerta, DMA
Assistant Professor of Music
The University of Arizona
Fred Fox School of Music


José Luis Puerta received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in guitar with a minor in Ethnomusicology from the University of Arizona as well as a Master of Music, and a Bachelor's degree in guitar performance from the Conservatory of Music in Puerto Rico. He also graduated from the prestigious Escuela Libre de Música Ernesto Ramos Antonini in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

As an ethnomusicologist, Jose Luis's emphasis has been in Latin American music, focusing on plucked strings ensembles such as the rondallas, trios, guitar quartets, and on their use as a pedagogical tool. He has presented his research at the Ciclo Sonoro in Universidade Federal da Integração Latino-Americana in Foz do Iguaçu, Brasil; Osher Lifelong Learning Institute; the Fourth International Symposium on Latin American Music in Tucson, USA; and the Society for Ethnomusicology Southwest Chapter in Flagstaff, USA. He collaborated at the Society for Ethnomusicology 61th Annual Meeting as session chair in Washington D.C. He has contributed two entries for the Sage International Encyclopedia of Music and Culture (2019),” Reguetón,” and, “Lute Chordophones.” Also, he contributed guitar arrangements for the textbook, The Course of Mexican Music, Routledge.

As a guitarist, he has performed in Puerto Rico, Festival Alfonso Ortiz Tirado in Mexico, Canada, Spain, and throughout the United States. He’s been featured in the University of Arizona Alumni Magazine (Spring 2016), Acoustic Guitar (Fall 2017) and in Tucson Guitar Orchestra Strings Along, for Arizona Public Media. He has been invited to perform for the Treasure Coast Guitar Society and for the Sundays in the Garden concert series at Tohono Chul Park on numerous occasions as a duo, ensemble, and conductor. He is a founding member of  Grupo Riken, a Tucson ensemble that specializes in folkloric music from the Caribbean and Latin America. Their repertoire includes genres like the Cuban bolero, Puerto Rican jibaro music, Latin jazz, and bossa nova. The group's unique sounds come from folk instruments like the Puerto Rican cuatro, guitar, Peruvian Cajon, Afro-Caribbean percussion bongos and congas, accompanied by the guitar.

In addition to his teaching, José Luis is currently the conductor and director of the Tucson Guitar Society Orchestra. The TGSO has performed throughout the state in Green Valley, Phoenix, and Flagstaff, and at the Phoenix Regional Symposium for the Guitar Foundation of America. José Luis has been an active board member for the Tucson Guitar Society since 2010.

In 2019 He founded the Tucson Guitar Quartet In Spring 2020 they release the album Latin American Soundscapes, which includes. two performances and recording world premiers. An American in Bahia by Sergio Assad, and Costa-Tucson by Edwin Guevara. The group focuses on Latin American Music, and contemporary music.

José Luis joined the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music faculty as Assistant Professor of Music in General Music Education and Ethnomusicology, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses related to Latin American Music.

Past Courses:


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20 hours ago
Arizona Arts

We asked The University of Arizona School of Dance alumna Erina Ueda (BFA ‘21, Dance) ...

What have you been up to?

I’m currently a professional dancer with the Giordano Dance Chicago, America’s original jazz dance company in Chicago, Illinois. It has been a magical experience so far being a part of their legacy, representing as their first Asian dancer, performing at Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Harris Theater and the Auditorium Theatre, and touring around the state & country. This spring, I was invited to be interviewed by the Consultant General of Japan in Chicago.

Not only I work as a professional dancer, but I work as a social media consultant and a videographer for the GDC. I also teach dance classes: ballet, jazz, tap and acrobat, at many different studios in the city, as well as being invited to teach at summer intensives and master classes from other states.

It has been a whole new world, a dream come true, and I cannot wait to continue learning and growing, become stronger, and perform with the incredible Giordano Dance Chicago, who I call my family, as we enter our 60th season!

It is such an honor to be recognized by you. Thank you so much for reaching out; I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the experience I had at UofA ❤️💙

Images by @toddrphoto.

> Including a New Yorker ad, featuring Erina and a poster with both Erina and Skyler Newcom (BFA '19).

The University of Arizona Arizona Alumni
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1 day ago
Arizona Arts

Another gorgeous mural in Tucson by School of Art alumna Jessica Gonzales (BFA '12, 2D Art).[📸: This Is Tucson 🎨: Jessica Gonzales Art] This stunning piece presently adorns the side of Amazing Discoveries Tucson near Broadway and Tucson Boulevard! City of Tucson - Government Pima County, AZ Why I Love Where I Live Vamos a Tucson #visittucson #tucson #arts #artistsoninstagram #publicarts #color #love #photography #travel #murals #freeyourself #520 #mexico #borderlands ... See MoreSee Less

Another gorgeous mural in Tucson by School of Art alumna Jessica Gonzales (BFA 12, 2D Art).
2 days ago
Arizona Arts

Here's Assistant Professor of Practice Darnell T. Roulhac in his "The Room Where it Happens: Guide to Auditioning Successfully" workshop at the International Thespian Festival 2022!

"The Room Where it Happens" is a masterclass-style workshop to better prepare young singers as they are auditioning for schools and shows. Participants get tips on how to pick impactful songs as well as how to get the attention of the panel one's performing for. They will also discuss 32-bar cuts and what else one should have prepared.

Hosted at Indiana University, the festival is a celebration of school theatre and gathers thespians from around the globe for performances, workshops, and college auditions!
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