Season

Jason Vieaux

Jason Viaux

Jason Vieaux
March 12 & 13, 2022

Fort Worth: Sun Mar 13, 2022 7:30pm
Kimbell Art Museum – Renzo Piano Hall
3333 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76107
Dallas: Sat Mar 12, 2022 7:30pm
Venue TBA – 

NPR describes Grammy-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux as, “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation,” and Gramophone magazine puts him “among the elite of today’s classical guitarists.” His most recent solo album, Play, won the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo. In June 2014, NPR named “Zapateado” from the album as one of its “50 Favorite Songs of 2014 (So Far).”

Vieaux has earned a reputation for putting his expressiveness and virtuosity at the service of a remarkably wide range of music, and his schedule of performing, teaching, and recording commitments is distinguished throughout the U.S. and abroad. His solo recitals have been a feature at every major guitar series in North America and at many of the important guitar festivals in Asia, Australia, Europe, and Mexico. Recent and future highlights include returns to the Caramoor Festival, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and New York’s 92nd Street Y, as well as performances at Argentina’s Teatro Colon and Oslo, Norway’s Classical Music Fest. Vieaux’s appearances for Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Music@Menlo, Strings Music Festival, Grand Teton, and many others have forged his reputation as a first-rate chamber musician and programmer. He collaborates in recitals this season with Escher Quartet, acclaimed harpist Yolanda Kondonassis, and accordion/bandoneón virtuoso Julien Labro. Vieaux’s passion for new music has fostered premieres of works by Dan Visconti, David Ludwig, Jerod Tate, Eric Sessler, José Luis Merlin and Gary Schocker.

Jason Vieaux has performed as concerto soloist with nearly 100 orchestras, including Cleveland, Houston, Toronto, San Diego, Ft. Worth, Santa Fe, Charlotte, Buffalo, Grand Rapids, Kitchener-Waterloo, Richmond, Edmonton, IRIS Chamber, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Chautauqua Festival, and New Hampshire Music Festival. Some of the conductors he has worked with include David Robertson, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Jahja Ling, Stefan Sanderling, Michael Stern, David Lockington, Steven Smith, and Edwin Outwater.

Vieaux continues to bring important repertoire alive in the recording studio as well. His latest album Together, with harpist Yolanda Kondonassis, was released in January 2015. Of his 2014 solo album PlaySoundboard Magazine writes, “If you ever want to give a friend a disc that will cement his or her love for the guitar, this is a perfect candidate,” while Premier Guitar claims, “You’d be hard pressed to find versions performed with more confidence, better tone, and a more complete understanding of the material.”

Vieaux’s previous eleven albums include a recording of Astor Piazzolla’s music with Julien Labro and A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra; Bach: Works for Lute, Vol. 1, which hit No. 13 on Billboard’s Classical Chart after its first week and received rave reviews by Gramophone, The Absolute Sound, and SoundboardImages of Metheny, featuring music by American jazz legend Pat Metheny (who after hearing this landmark recording declared: “I am flattered to be included in Jason’s musical world”);and Sevilla: The Music of Isaac Albeniz, which made several Top Ten lists the year of its release. Vieaux’s albums and live performances are regularly heard on radio and internet around the world, and his work is the subject of feature articles in print and online around the world, including such magazines as Acoustic Guitar, MUSOGramophone, and on NPR’s “Deceptive Cadence.” Vieaux was the first classical musician to be featured on NPR’s popular “Tiny Desk” series.

In 2012, the Jason Vieaux School of Classical Guitar was launched with ArtistWorks Inc., an unprecedented technological interface that provides one-on-one online study with Vieaux for guitar students around the world. In 2011, he co-founded the guitar department at The Curtis Institute of Music, and he has taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music since 1997, heading the guitar department since 2001.

Vieaux is a member of the Advisory Board of the Guitar Foundation of America, and is affiliated with Philadelphia’s Astral Artists. His primary teachers were Jeremy Sparks and John Holmquist. In 1992 he was awarded the prestigious GFA International Guitar Competition First Prize, the event’s youngest winner ever. He is also honored with a Naumburg Foundation top prize, a Cleveland Institute of Music Alumni Achievement Award, and a Salon di Virtuosi Career Grant. In 1995, Vieaux was an Artistic Ambassador of the U.S. to Southeast Asia.

Pepe Romero

Pepe Romero Classical Guitarist

 
Pepe Romero – February 20, 2022

Fort Worth: Sun Feb 20, 2022 7:30pm
Kimbell Art Museum – Renzo Piano Hall
3333 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76107
Dallas: Date Feb 19, 2022 7:30pm
Venue TBA 

There are very few true living legends in the world of classical music, few who have sustained greatness and grown throughout their lives. Pepe Romero is such an artist. He has been honored by kings, heads of state, and major institutions-the encomiums continue to pour in. But to Romero, his most important contribution has been reaching the common man. He has communicated the richness and beauty of the classical guitar to millions of people throughout the world. He has, indeed, become an ambassador of classical music, and, correspondingly, of the classical guitar.

But this gift did not just appear out of nowhere. Pepe is the second son of one of the greatest guitarists that ever lived—Celedonio Romero. And he is brother to two more musical phenoms—Celin and Angel Romero.  But perhaps we should start at the beginning…

Pepe was born in Málaga, Spain, in 1944. In those days, following the devastating Spanish Civil War (1936-39) and during the Second World War, Spain was in desperate economic straits.  Basic survival was the primary challenge. Yet, despite this, Celedonio Romero and his remarkable wife, Angelita, instilled in all three of their children a love of music that transcended the profound misery surrounding them.

By age seven, Pepe set foot on the concert stage for the first time, at the Teatro Lope de Vega in Sevilla. And now, more than sixty years later, he continues to mesmerize audiences throughout the world. During that time, he has given literally thousands of concerts worldwide, many with the remarkable Romero Quartet, and many as a solo instrumentalist. He has worked with almost every major conductor and has to his credit more than 60 recordings (among which are 20 concerto recordings with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, with both Neville Marriner and Iona Brown).

Pepe Romero has premiered works by some of the finest composers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Joaquín Rodrigo, Federico Moreno Torroba, Lorenzo Palomo, Padre Francisco de Madina, Paul Chihara, Enrique Diemecke, Ernesto Cordero, and, most poignantly, Celedonio Romero, have written compositions for Pepe. Always a champion of music by composers in earlier periods of music history, he has also delved into rare archives to re-explore lost pieces by Fernando Sor, (world premiere and recording of Fantasie in d minor), Mauro Giuliani (world premiere recordings of Concerto no.2 in A majorand Concerto no.3 in F major and Variations and Polonaise, Op.65), Francesco Molino (world premier recording of Guitar Concerto in E minor, Op.56), Ferdinando Carulli (world premiere recording of Guitar Concerto in E minor, Op.140), Johann Kaspar Mertz, Luigi Boccherini, (world premiere recording of all 8 guitar quintets) and others.

In 1992, Pepe Romero performed on a groundbreaking laser disc of the Concierto de Aranjuez with Neville Marriner and the Academy of St-Martin-in-the-Fields. He played a prominent role in the major film documentary Shadows and Light: Joaquin Rodrigo at 90, which received numerous plaudits worldwide (including the Chicago International Film Festival, International Emmy Awards, and San Francisco International Film Festival). In 2005 the Romero Quartet recorded Concierto vasco para 4 guitarras y orquesta by Francisco de Madina (written for the Romeros) with the Basque National Orchestra on a Claves release (entitled Aita Madina). A prominent recording entitled The Romeros: Generations, features premieres of works by Jorge Morel (such as El Maestro, dedicated to Celedonio) and by Pepe himself, Recuerdos del pasado. In the spring of 2005, a solo recital release called Corazón Español became available on the CPA Hollywood Records label. Shortly thereafter, on the same label, came Classic Romero, another invaluable recital recording. In the summer of 2008, Pepe Romero recorded a splendid solo guitar-vocal work by Lorenzo Palomo, with internationally recognized Spanish soprano Maria Bayo. It includes the song cycles Mi jardín solitario (with texts by Celedonio Romero) and Madrigal and Five Sephardic Songs and was released on the NAXOS label in 2009 along with Palomo’s Concierto de Cienfuegos with the Romeros Quartet and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos conducting the Seville Royal Symphony Orchestra. Celebrating their 50th anniversary and released in 2009, is a recording by the Romeros for Sony´s RCA Red Seal Label entitled Los Romeros: Celebration. In November 2011, Deutsche Grammophon released Christmas with Los Romeros featuring the Romeros and Christmas favorites.  A new Spanish solo guitar CD Spanish Nights performed by Pepe Romero includes a premiere recording of Suite Madrileña No.1 by Celedonio Romero and was released June 2012 by Deutsche Grammophon.  In November 2012 Pepe Romero received a Latin Grammy Nomination for “Best Classical Album” for his recording of Concierto festivo by Ernesto Cordero. Celebrating his 70th birthday DECCA released an 11 CD set of recordings entitled “Pepe Romero: Master of the Guitar.” Recent recordings include a CD entitled Aloha España featuring guitar and ukulele performances with Daniel Ho. Released in October 2016 by Dacapo Records is a historic live performance DVD of Concierto de Aranjuez with his great life-long collaborator and friend, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos conducting the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Among his recent releases are Torroba: Guitar Concertos Vol I and Vol II, both CDs are part a series of recordings (shared with guitarist Vicente Coves and conducted by Manuel Coves) for NAXOS of the complete guitar concertos by Federico Moreno Torroba.

Maestro Romero’s many accomplishments include: world premieres of Rodrigo´s Concierto andaluz (with the Romero Guitar Quartet), Concierto madrigal (with Angel Romero), and Concierto para una fiesta (written for Pepe Romero); Federico Moreno Torroba’s Diálogos entre guitarra y orquesta (Pepe was personally chosen by Torroba and Andrés Segovia for the world recording premiere of this work dedicated to Segovia with an extended guitar cadenza written especially for Pepe), Concierto Ibérico by Torroba (written for and performed by the Romeros), Concierto en flamenco by Torroba was premiered in Málaga (performed by Pepe with Angel Romero conducting); and Lorenzo Palomo’s Concierto de Cienfuegos (with the Romero Quartet) and Nocturnos de Andalucía (both released on the Naxos label). Of the many guitar concertos by his father, Celedonio Romero, Pepe has performed the world premieres of Concierto de Málaga, Fiesta Andaluza and El Cortijo de Don Sancho. Other premieres include Troubadour Music for four guitars and orchestra by Morton Gould, Concierto vasco and Concierto flamenco by Francisco de Madina, Concierto festivo by Ernesto Cordero, Christmas Suite for four guitars and chamber orchestra by Massimo Paris, Concierto a Celedonio by Enrique Diemecke, Concierto Mariachi by Michael Zearott and the guitar concerto, Zareh, by Loris Tjeknavorian. He also revived the great orchestral work Metamorfosi de concert by Xavier Montsalvatge, with Gianandrea Noseda, and premiered as well as recorded the Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra with Trumpet Obbligato by Paul Chihara, with Neville Marriner and the London Symphony. In April 2014 Pepe Romero performed the German premiere in the Berlin Philharmonic of a new work by Lorenzo Palomo – Fulgores – for violin, guitar and orchestra. Upcoming projects include premieres of new guitar concertos by the wonderful Italian composer, Massimo Paris and by the imminent Spanish composer, Jose Peris Lacasa.

In the United States, he has appeared with leading symphony orchestras in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, Houston, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, New York, and Los Angeles, as well as with the Orpheus Chamber Ensemble and Boston Pops.  European ensembles with which he has appeared include the Academy of St-Martins-in-the-Fields, Dresden Philharmonic, London Symphony, la Accademia Santa Cecilia di Roma, Monte Carlo Philharmonic, I Musici, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Hungarica, Solisti di Zagreb, Hungarian State Orchestra, Spanish National Orchestra, Spanish National Radio Television Orchestra, Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Hamburg Philharmoniker, L’Orchestre de la Suisse-Romande, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, New Moscow Chamber Orchestra, American Sinfonietta, and Bournemouth Symphony—among many others.

In addition, he has collaborated with such distinguished conductors as Sir Neville Marriner, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Jesús López-Cobos, Eugene Ormandy, Antoni Ros-Marbà, Josep Pons, Arthur Fiedler, Lawrence Foster, Enrique Jordá, Andre Kostelanetz, Leonard Slatkin, Phillipe Entremont, Odón Alonso, Morton Gould, Michael Palmer, Guillermo Figueroa, Michael Zearrot, Miguel Ángel Gómez Martínez, Pedro Halffter, and Christoph Eschenbach.

Pepe Romero has always felt, along with his father and brothers, that the sharing of one’s art is a personal responsibility. Mr. Romero has served as Professor of Guitar at the University of Southern California, University of California at San Diego, Southern Methodist University, and the University of San Diego. Every summer at the Celedonio Romero Guitar Institute, currently held at Oklahoma City University, the Romeros conduct an intensive guitar workshop including master classes, private lessons, student concerts and a final concert featuring the students performing with the Romeros. Pepe has conducted master classes at the Salzburg Summer Academy, Córdoba Guitar Festival, and the Schleswig-Holstein Festival. In 2004 he was appointed Distinguished Artist in Residence at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. His newly revised guitar method “La Guitarra” was published and released by Tuscany Publications in 2012. Currently he is finalizing a teaching video that discloses the principles of the Pepe Romero guitar technique.

Pepe Romero holds honorary doctorates in music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the University of Victoria, British Columbia. In June 1996, he received the “Premio Andalucía de la Música,” the highest recognition given by his native land for his contribution to the arts. In addition, His Majesty, King Juan Carlos I of Spain, has knighted Pepe and his brothers into the Order of “Isabel la Católica.”
In June 2018 he received the Medalla de Honor from the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de Granada for his lifelong achievement in performance and pedagogy.

A biographical documentary about the Romeros appeared on PBS in 2001 entitled “Los Romeros, the Royal Family of the Guitar.”  Following this production, German television released another brilliant documentary about the Romeros entitled ¨Los Romeros, the Dynasty of the Guitar.”  In 2007, the Romeros received the President’s Merit Award from the Recording Academy, producers of the Grammy Awards, for their significant contributions to the music world and professional career achievements.

Christopher McGuire
Bach, Brazil, and the Beatles


Christopher McGuire
Bach, Brazil, and the Beatles 
– November 6 & 7, 2021

Fort Worth: Date TBD
Kimbell Art Museum – Renzo Piano Hall
3333 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76107

Dallas: Date and Venue TBD

Manuel Barrueco

Manuel Barrueco
Manuel Barrueco
April 9 & 10, 2022

Fort Worth: Sun Apr 10, 2022 7:30pm
Kimbell Art Museum –
Renzo Piano Pavillion Auditorium

3333 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76107
Dallas: Sat Apr 9, 2022 7:30pm
Venue TBA –
  

Manuel Barrueco is internationally recognized as one of the most important guitarists of our time. His unique artistry has been continually described as that of a superb instrumentalist and a superior and elegant musician, possessing a seductive sound and uncommon lyrical gifts.

His career has been dedicated to bringing the guitar to the main musical centers of the world. During three decades of concertizing, he has performed across the United Sates from the New World Symphony in Miami to the Seattle Symphony, and from the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic to New York’s Lincoln Center.

He has appeared with such prestigious orchestras as the Philadelphia Orchestra and with the Boston Symphony under the direction of Seiji Ozawa, in the American Premiere of Toru’s Takemitsu’s To the Edge of Dream. In addition, he appears regularly with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and with San Francisco Performances.

His international tours have taken him to some of the most important musical centers in the world. Highlights include the Musikverein in Vienna, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Royal Albert Hall in London, Philharmonie in Berlin, Teatro Real in Madrid, and Palau de la Musica in Barcelona. In Asia he has completed a dozen tours of Japan and made repeated appearances in Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, China, and Hong Kong. Barrueco’s tours of Latin America have included performances in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama and Puerto Rico.

He has also performed as a guest soloist with other international orchestras, such as the Russian State Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, New Japan Philharmonic, Auckland Symphony in New Zealand, Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Sao Paulo (OSESP), in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the radio symphonies of Munich and Frankfurt.

This coming season 2016-2017 includes solo recitals in the United States, Canada, Germany, Spain, and Italy, an appearance with the Puerto Rico Symphony and conductor Max Valdes, performances with the Cuarteto Casals in the United States, and the Beijing Guitar Duo in the United States and Europe. He will continue being an Artist-in-residence for the University of Alicante, Spain. In the 2017-2018 concert season, Mr. Barrueco will offer two solo tours in Europe (November 2017 and March 2018).

Barrueco’s commitment to contemporary music and to the expansion of the guitar repertoire has led him to collaborations with many distinguished composers such as Steven Stucky, Michael Daugherty, Roberto Sierra, Arvo Pärt, Jonathan Leshnoff, Gabriela Lena Frank, Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky, and Toru Takemitsu, whose last orchestral work Spectral Canticle was a double concerto written specifically for Manuel Barrueco and violinist Frank Peter Zimmerman.

Manuel Barrueco has appeared on a wide array of television programs including “CBS Sunday Morning”, A&E’s “Breakfast with the Arts”, and “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” on PBS. He was featured in a Lexus car commercial, and his work in music inspired Michael Lawrence’s biographical documentary: “Manuel Barrueco: A Gift and a Life” which has been aired by PBS stations around the United States. Barrueco’s performances have been broadcast by television stations around the world such as NHK in Japan, Bayerische Rundfunk in Germany, and RTVE in Spain.

Barrueco’s recording catalogue includes over a dozen recordings for the EMI label. His recording of Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with conductor and tenor Plácido Domingo and the Philharmonia Orchestra was cited as the best recording of that piece in Classic CD Magazine. His Koch Classics release, Concierto Barroco, with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia and conductor Víctor Pablo Pérez, received a Latin Grammy nomination for “Best Classical Recording.” His early recordings, available on VOX, have become a classic amongst guitar recordings.

In 2007 Manuel Barrueco received a Grammy nomination for the “Best Instrumental Soloist Performance” for his Solo Piazzolla, which was the first recording to be released on the exclusive Manuel Barrueco Collection on Tonar Music. Tango Sensations and Sounds of the Americas came out subsequently in collaboration with the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, the latter received a Latin Grammy Award for “Inca Dances” by Gabriela Lena Frank for “Best Classical Contemporary Composition.” Virtuoso Guitar Duos was released in 2009 and includes the most breathtaking guitar duos from the Spanish and Latin-American repertoire. In 2010 he released a solo recording, Tárrega!, which includes works and arrangements of the Spanish composer Francisco Tárrega and which received a Latin Grammy nomination for “Best Classical Album.” His latest release Chaconne–A Baroque Recital came out in 2012.

This past season he released two recordings: Medea, which includes Barrueco’s arrangement of the ballet by flamenco guitarist/composer Manolo Sanlúcar recorded with the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra and Víctor Pablo Pérez conducting, and China West, a recording of guitar trios in collaboration with his protégés, the Beijing Guitar Duo (Meng Su & Yameng Wang).

Manuel Barrueco began playing the guitar at the age of eight, and he attended the Esteban Salas Conservatory in his native Cuba. He immigrated with his family to the United States in 1967, as political refugees.  Later, he completed his advanced studies at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where he now shares his love for music with a small number of exceptionally gifted young guitarists from all over the world.

In 2011, Manuel Barrueco received the United States Artist Fontanals Fellowship for Artistic Excellence.

Beijing Guitar Duo

Beijing Guitar Duo
Beijing Guitar Duo
May 8, 2022

Fort Worth: Sun May 8, 2022 7:30pm
Kimbell Art Museum –
Renzo Piano Pavillion Auditorium

3333 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76107

Composed of guitarist Meng Su and Yameng Wang, the Beijing Guitar Duo has performed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. This past season took them to countries such as Germany, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Poland, China, Panama, and the United States. The duo has toured extensively with their mentor Manuel Barrueco, appearing in such countries as Germany, Finland, Spain, Russia, as well as the United States.

The Beijing Guitar Duo’s performances and recordings have impressed the public with “an ability and artistry that exceeds their years.” Their debut CD Maracaípe, received a Latin-GRAMMY nomination for the titled piece, which was dedicated to them by renowned guitarist/composer Sergio Assad. Their second CD, Bach to Tan Dun, has been widely noted for the world-premiere recording of Tan Dun’s Eight Memories in Watercolor, specially arranged for the duo by Manuel Barrueco. A recording in trio, China West, with Maestro Barrueco was released in May 2014.

Meng Su and Yameng Wang were born in the coastal city of Qingdao, China. They came to the partnership with exceptional credentials, including a string of competition awards. Ms. Su’s honors include victories at the Vienna Youth Guitar Competition and the Christopher Parkening Young Guitarist Competition, while Ms. Wang was the youngest guitarist to win the Tokyo International Guitar Competition at the age of 12, and was invited by Radio France to perform at the prestigious Paris International Guitar Art Week at age 14. Both young artists had given solo recitals in China and abroad, and had made solo recordings before they formed the duo.

In addition to concertizing, the members of the duo share a love for teaching which brings them to major conservatories in the world for master classes and to judge competitions. Since 2011 they have been Artists-in-residence for the San Francisco Performances. This four-year residency program brings them to the Bay Area every year for community outreach, performances, and master classes in public schools as well as for the San Francisco Conservatory.

The Beijing Guitar Duo is proudly supported by the Maryland State Art Council’s Touring Artists Grant program since 2014.

MENG SU

Born in the coastal city of Qingdao, in the province of Shandong, China in 1988, Meng Su demonstrated her artistic gifts as an exceptionally talented guitarist from an early age.

Embarking on an exciting guitar career as one of the most outstanding guitarists of her generation, Meng Su began her training in classical guitar with renowned Professor Chen Zhi at the age of nine, where she quickly began attracting attention as a remarkable young talent. Before graduating from the High School of the Central Conservatory of Music of China in 2006, Ms. Su had already won many awards, including the 5th Vienna Youth Guitar Competition, the 48th Tokyo International Guitar Competition, the Christopher Parkening Young Guitarist Competition, and the 2nd Iserlohn International Guitar Competition in Germany.

As a performing artist, she has performed solo, duo, and quartet concerts across the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Austria, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Finland, Croatia, Korea, Japan, and China, in which she has impressed audiences with an ability and artistry that exceeds her years.

Ms. Su performs regularly in chamber music setting, both with orchestras as a soloist, this past season she performed the Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo and Osvaldo Golijov’s Ayre for a chamber music ensemble.

Meng Su obtained her Performer’s Certificate and the Graduate Performer’s Diploma from Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, USA, and is currently continuing her studies with guitar virtuoso Manuel Barrueco in the chamber music program.

Ms. Su’s discography includes a live CD and DVD release of a 2005 guitar concert in Korea as well as a release of “Four Angels.”

YAMENG WANG

Born in Qingdao, China in 1981, Yameng Wang fell in love with the classical guitar at a young age and began studying with the leading guitar professor in China, Professor Chen Zhi, when she was 10 years old.

She became the youngest winner of the Tokyo International Guitar Competition at the age of 12. She went on to win second prize in the “Michele Pittaluga” International Guitar Competition in Italy at the age of 13, and at the age of 14 she was invited by Radio France to perform at the Paris International Guitar Art Week and won second prize in La Infanta Doña Cristina International Guitar Competition in Spain. Classical Guitar magazine noted that at the age of 14, she already played like a seasoned professional.

After graduating from the Central Conservatory of Music of China in 2006, Ms. Wang enrolled in the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland. There, she finished her Masters of Music degree in 2008 and is currently in the Graduate Performance Diploma program, studying with Maestro Manuel Barrueco.

Ms. Wang has given acclaimed recitals across the US, France, Italy, Holland, Germany, Ireland, Finland, Croatia,, Britain, Austria, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Poland, Australia, Japan, and Malaysia both as a soloist and in chamber music setting.

Her first album, “Caprice” was recorded when she was 16 years old. “A Very Special Album” was released in 1999, and in 2003 she contributed GHA’s album, “The Best of Classical Guitar.” In 2005 she released “Classic Guitar – Aquarelle, Un Sueño en la Floresta.”

A Tribute to Andrés Segovia

A Tribute to Andrés Segovia

A Tribute to Andrés Segovia
March 2, 3 & 4 2017

 

 

Fort Worth: Thu Mar 2, 2017 7:30pm
Kimbell Art Museum –
Renzo Piano Pavillion Auditorium

3333 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76107   
click for tickets
Dallas: Fri Mar 3, 2017 7:30pm
Montgomery Arts Theater
Booker T. Washington High School
2501 Flora St, Dallas, TX 75201 
click for tickets

Virginia Luque – Tribute to Andrés Segovia

Virginia Luque

Virginia Luque – Tribute to Andrés Segovia  March 2 & 3, 2017

Fort Worth: Thu Mar 2, 2017 7:30pm
Kimbell Art Museum –
Renzo Piano Pavillion Auditorium

3333 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76107   
click for tickets
Dallas: Fri Mar 3, 2017 7:30pm
Montgomery Arts Theater
Booker T. Washington High School
2501 Flora St, Dallas, TX 75201
click for tickets

Virginia Luque plays classical and flamenco music in a Spanish romantic style, combining extraordinary technical virtuosity with beautiful tone and musicianship.

Ms. Luque has recently recorded Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with the London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios. She has been awarded First Prize at several international competitions, including the “Manuel de Falla” Competition for Classical Guitar in Granada, Spain, and has received the Lincoln Center Scholarship among other awards.

Concerto performances have included the Concierto de Aranjuez with the New York Virtuosi Orchestra, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, the North Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Riverside Symphony, the Seoul Symphony Orchestra, the Izmir Symphony Orchestra, Antalya Symphony Orchestra and she has premiered her own concerto with the Alexandria Symphony.

Recitals have included Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, The Metropolitan Opera House, The Frick Collection in New York City, and numerous concert halls throughout the United States. She was also invited by Christopher Parkening to do a special guest recital at the Christopher Parkening International Master Class at Montana State University.

A native of Algeciras (Cadiz), Spain, Ms. Luque began playing the guitar when she was four, started formal training when she was six, and gave her first concert at the age of seven. After hearing her play, Ms. Luque was invited by the legendary Spanish guitarist Andres Segovia to study privately with him.

She received her Master’s degree in Spain and at Segovia’s suggestion came to America where she also received a Master’s degree from the Juilliard School in New York City.

Ms. Luque’s other pursuits have garnered her a First Prize in the International Competition of Poetry based in Puerto Rico and she has also graduated as “Chef” from the French Culinary Institute of New York.



P R O G R A M

Gigue (In the Style of Weiss)
Manuel María Ponce Cuéllar (1882-1948)

Spanish Dance # 5
Enrique Granados Campiña (1867-1916)

Choro 1
Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959)

Waltz Op. 64 # 2
Frédéric François Chopin (1810-1849)

Verano Porteño
Astor Pantaleón Piazzolla (1921-1992)

Taquito militar
Mariano Mores (1918-2016)
(arrangement, Jorge Morel)

                   Intermission

Rumores de la Caleta
Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y Pascual (1860-1909) 

Granada  

Sangre gitana
Virginia Luque (Timeless) 

Nostalgias de mi tierra
Virginia Luque 

Buleria “La romería”
Virginia Luque

Gran Jota
Francisco de Asís Tárrega y Eixea (1852-1909)   

(Presenter’s note: We used the full names of composers in the program tonight for general interest.) 

 

The Assad Brothers

The Assad Brothers February 16, 17 & 18 2017

The Assad Brothers


Fort Worth:
Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:30pm
Kimbell Art Museum –
Renzo Piano Pavillion Auditorium

click for tickets

Dallas: Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:30pm
Montgomery Arts Theater
Booker T. Washington High School
click for tickets

 

 

Their exceptional artistry and uncanny ensemble playing come from both a family rich in Brazilian musical tradition and from studies with the guitar/lutenist Monina Távora (1921-2011), a disciple of Andrés Segovia. In addition to setting new performance standards, the Assads have played a major role in creating and introducing new music for two guitars. Their virtuosity has inspired a wide range of composers to write for them including Astor Piazzolla, Terry Riley, Radamés Gnattali, Marlos Nobre, Nikita Koshkin, Roland Dyens, Jorge Morel, Edino Krieger and Francisco Mignone.Brazilian-born brothers Sérgio and Odair Assad have set the benchmark for all other guitarists by creating a new standard of guitar innovation, ingenuity and expression.

Now Sérgio Assad is adding to their repertoire by composing music for the duo and for various musical partners both with Symphony Orchestra and in recitals. They have worked extensively with such renowned artists as Yo-Yo Ma, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Fernando Suarez Paz, Paquito D’Rivera, Gidon Kremer and Dawn Upshaw.

The Assads began playing the guitar together at an early age and went on to study for seven years with Dona Monina. Their international career began with a major prize at the 1979 Young Artists Competition in Bratislava. Odair is based in Brussels where he teaches at Ecole Supérieure des Arts. Sérgio resides in San Francisco, where he is on the faculty of the SF Conservatory.

The Assad’s repertoire includes original music composed by Sérgio Assad and his re-workings of folk and jazz music as well as Latin music of almost every style. Their standard classical repertoire includes transcriptions of the great Baroque keyboard literature of Bach, Rameau and Scarlatti and adaptations of works by such diverse figures as Gershwin, Ginastera and Debussy. Their touring programs are always a compelling blend of styles, periods and cultures.

The Assads are also recognized as prolific recording artists, primarily for the Nonesuch and GHA labels. In 2001, Nonesuch Records released “Sérgio and Odair Assad Play Piazzolla,” which later won a Latin Grammy. Their seventh Nonesuch recording, released in the fall 2007, is called “Jardim Abandonado” after a piece by Antonio Carlos Jobim.  It was nominated for Best Classical Album and Sérgio went on to win the Latin Grammy for his composition, “Tahhiyya Li Oussilina.”

A Nonesuch collaboration with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg in 2000 featured a collection of pieces based on traditional and Gypsy folk tunes from around the world. In 2003, Sérgio Assad wrote a triple concerto for this trio that has been performed with the orchestras of São Paulo, Seattle and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.  In the summer of 2004, Sérgio & Odair arranged a very special tour featuring three generations of the Assad Family. The family presented a wide variety of Brazilian music featuring their father, Jorge Assad [1924-2011] on the mandolin and the voice of mother, Angelina Assad. GHA Records has released a live recording and a DVD of the Assad Family live at Brussels’ Palais des Beaux-Arts.  In the 2006-2007 season, the Assad Brothers performed Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Concierto Madrigal for Two Guitars” and Sérgio’s arrangement of Piazzolla’s “Four Seasons of Buenos Aires” with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl.   The Assads were also featured performers on James Newton Howard’s soundtrack to the movie “Duplicity,” starring Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. In the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, the brothers toured a project entitled “De Volta as Raizes” (Back to Our Roots) featuring Lebanese-American singer Christiane Karam, percussionist Jamey Haddad and composer/pianist Clarice Assad.

In February 2011, Odair Assad performed his first solo guitar concert tour in North America featuring concerts in New York and Montreal. Sergio Assad has written another concerto for his duo, called “Phases.”  It was premiered with the Seattle Symphony in February 2011. In the meantime he has been nominated for yet two more Latin Classical Grammys in the Best Classical Composition Category for his piece for the LA Guitar Quartet and the Delaware Symphony entitled, “Interchange” and for “Maracaipe” for the Beijing Guitar Duo.  In the fall of 2011, five of the members of the Assad family: Sergio, Odair, Badi, Clarice and Carolina – joined together again for another evening of new and favorite Brazilian works.  Their tour included stops in Qatar, Sweden, Germany, The Netherlands (to open the “Brazil Festival”) at The Amsterdam Concertgebouw and three concerts in Belgium with a finale at Le Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels.

The Assad Brothers collaboration with cellist Yo-Yo Ma is ongoing. In 2003 the Brazilian record “Obrigado Brazil” was released featuring Rosa Passos, Egberto Gismonti and Cyro Baptista. Sérgio arranged several of the works on the disc, which captured a Grammy in 2004.  In 2009, the brothers were featured on Yo-Yo Ma’s chart topping release, “Songs of Joy & Peace,” which features other guest artists as diverse as James Taylor and Dave Brubeck.  In the piece “Família” Yo-Yo plays Sérgio’s composition featuring mother, Angelina Assad, sister Badi and children Clarice, Rodrigo and Carolina.  The release topped both the classical and the mainstream Billboard charts and won a Grammy for Best Classical Crossover.  In April 2012, Sergio and Odair toured North America with Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott, in a program of Latin American works as arranged by Sergio as well as some of his original compositions, highlighted by concerts at the new Smith Center in Las Vegas and Chicago’s Symphony Hall.

In October of 2012, Sérgio and Odair premiered a performance of a new duo guitar concerto written for them by Sergio’s daughter Clarice Assad, at the Pro-Musica Chamber Orchestra in Columbus, Ohio.  Soon after, the brothers returned to the University of Arizona in Tucson as visiting artists with support from the D’Addario Family Foundation.  They headlined the 4th International Tucson Guitar Festival with two performances at Holsclaw Hall and master classes for advanced guitar students.  In the spring of 2013, Sergio and Odair planned another tour of their much loved trio with the inimitable Paquito D’Rivera as well as a record release of their project, “Dances from the New World.” In 2014, the brothers began a Brazilian Tour that celebrates 50 years of their career. In 2015, the tour continues, spanning a total of 27 Brazilian cities.

A kind of wizardry lies within the playing of Sergio and Odair Assad… they produce a supple, flawless unified sound. – The New York Times

Because they have been performing together for most of their lives, and because they play from memory, there is a lively interaction between them that creates the impression that they are improvising like a couple of virtuosic, perhaps even telepathic, jazz players. – The New York Times

… the best two-guitar team in existence, maybe even in history… no amount of anticipation could have prepared me for the Brazilian brothers’ daringly flexible, eerily unanimous ensemble playing. – The Washington Post

As performers, these two play like the close brothers they are. They pick up instantly on the other’s cues, respond as if intuitively and seem to be wired in to the same operating system. What’s projected is a sort of ‘ëuber-guitar,’ two instruments and one brain. – The Washington Post

Call it one of the most engaging musical presentations of the season. Better yet, call it a stunning display of the music of the Western Hemisphere. – The Los Angeles Times

They aren’t just soloists but a two-man, multi voice band of soloists who play instinctively well together, with consistent rhythmic intuition and soul. – The Los Angeles Times

The Assads’ virtuosity left the many guitarists in the crowd, including me, awe-struck. Their speed, their gorgeous tone, their uncanny musical memories (not a page of music appeared on the stage), and their ability to play thousands of notes without a single clinker, click or buzz are the stuff of guitar gods…an inspiring concert that celebrated the swooping energy of musical phrases and the irresistible beauty of the sound of two guitars – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

…Sergio and Odair, two of the finest guitarists on the planet. – Journal Sentinel

The Brazilian-born Assad brothers…perform with almost telepathic unity – The Boston Globe

Throughout the concert, the brothers played as one… This was two persons, four hands, one mind. – Seattle Post-Intelligencer

…it’s not hard to imagine that acoustic guitar music, when in the hands of masters like Sergio and Odair Assad, is a musical window into the heart. – The New Jersey Star- Ledger

 

AN APPRECIATION
By Benjamin Verdery

It’s January 23, 1980. The phone rings. I pick it up only to hear my downstairs neighbor and dear friend Tom Humphrey’s voice.

Tom: Hey, you gotta come down now and hear these guys.
Me: Who?? I’m practicing, I’ll be down in a bit.
Tom: No, no, no, no, no …… Stop what you are doing and get down here, now!

Tom was on a path to becoming one the most celebrated guitar makers of his generation and of the world in general. His apartment, 120 West 72nd Street, #2C, had became a vortex for all things related to the classical guitar.

The Assad brothers had just arrived in New York to give their American debut at 92nd Street Y as part of the wonderful Classical Guitar at the Y series, sponsored by Augustine Strings. So it was a given that the Assad Brothers would visit Tom. In fact, Sérgio and Odair went on to record and perform throughout the world on Tom’s guitars as well as becoming very dear friends with him and his family.

I went down three flights to Tom apartment, as I lived above him in #5C. I entered, and there were the Brazilian brothers on the couch, each with one of Tom’s latest creations in their hands. Within no time they began to play Leo Brouwer’s Micropiezas from memory.

From that point on, my entire concept of the guitar’s sound, articulation expressivity and repertoire was turned upside down. I had never heard the classical guitar played in this brilliant manner and certainly never heard a duo remotely on the level of virtuosity and artistry they displayed.

The following evening was the actual 92Y concert. In short it was a game changer for all who attended. The audience and we guitarists in general experienced a concert the likes of which we had never before heard. All were completely inspired by the vitality and commitment they gave to the music.

Even The New York Times agreed, writing in its review that “…they play like twins, with an ensemble that is virtually perfect. And their technique is a marvel.” The Assads singlehandedly went on to make the concept of a guitar duo as a viable concert attraction in a way it had never been. All duos that have arrived since are in some way directly influenced by their life’s work.

The name Assad has become synonymous with the names of Segovia, Bream, Williams and Romero. Sérgio has become the most influential guitar composer since Leo Brouwer. Odair rapidly distinguished himself as one of the greatest virtuosi of his or any generation.

Together, they completely changed the landscape of the classical guitar and its repertoire. In addition to their playing, Sérgio and Odair are two of the warmest and most generous people any one could know. In a word, they are beloved. It is a great honor for all of us here at 92Y to present this concert celebrating their 50 years of concertizing. We can only bow to them and say a huge thank you for all the music they have given us. We do however have one request. Please brothers Assad, give us another 50 years at least!!

– Benjamin Verdery is artistic director of the 92Y Art of the Guitar series and chair of the guitar department at the Yale School of Music.

 

S É R G I O  &  O D A I R   A S S A D
PROGRAM

Fantasia, Op. 54
  F. SOR (1778-1839)
Introduction
Variations
Allegro dans le gendre Espagnol

Selections from Pièces de Clavecin (arr. Sergio Assad)
  J. RAMEAU (1683-1764)
Allemande
Rigaudon
Musette en Rondeau
Le lardon
Les tendres plaintes
Le rapel des Oiseaux

Tonadilla para dos guitarras
  J. RODRIGO (1901-1999)
Allegro ma non troppo
Minueto pomposo
Allegro vivace

Palhaço
  E. GISMONTI (b. 1947)
Baiao malandro

~~ intermission ~~

Interrogando
  J. PERNAMBUCO (1883 – 1947)

Abismo de Rosas
  A. JACOMINO “Canhoto” (1887 – 1928)
     Medley

A. SARDINHA “Garoto”
Jorge do Fusa
Gente Humilda
Lamentos do Morro

Tempo Feliz
  B. POWELL (1937-2000)

Jongo
  P. BELLINATI (b. 1950)

Tihhiyya li Ossoulina
  S. ASSAD (b. 1952)

Ben Verdery

Ben Verdery

Ben Verdery
December 8 & 9, 2016

Fort Worth: Thu Dec 8, 2016 7:30pm
Kimbell Art Museum –
Renzo Piano Pavillion Auditorium

3333 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76107   
click for tickets
Dallas: Fri Dec 9, 2016 7:30pm
Montgomery Arts Theater
Booker T. Washington High School
2501 Flora St, Dallas, TX 75201
click for tickets

Professor of Guitar at the Yale University School of Music and Artistic Director of the bi‐annual Yale Guitar Extravaganza since 1985, and Artistic Director of 92Y’s Art of the Guitar series (NYC) since 2006, Benjamin Verdery is hailed for his innovative and eclectic musical career.

Since 1980 he has performed worldwide in theaters and at festivals, including Theatre Carré (Amsterdam), Maverick Concerts (NY), the International Guitar Festival in Havana, Wigmore Hall (London), Festival Internacional de Guitarra de Taxco (Mexico), the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Metropolitan Opera in New York. His tours regularly take him throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Asia. He has recorded and performed with such diverse artists as Andy Summers, Frederic Hand, William Coulter, Leo Kottke, Anthony Newman, Jessye Norman, Paco Peña, Hermann Prey and John Williams.

Ben Verdery has released more than 15 albums, his most recent being Happy Here with William Coulter; and Branches, featuring works of Bach, Strauss, Jimi Hendrix, Mozart and the traditional Amazing Grace. His CD, Start Now, won the 2005 Classical Recording Foundation Award, while other recordings of note include Some Towns & Cities and his collaborations with John Williams (John Williams Plays Vivaldi) and Andy Summers (First you Build A Cloud). Future

recordings include one featuring Yale composers and one featuring his classical guitar arrangements: Randy Newman, Neil Young, Prince, Hendrix, John Lennon, Eddy Vedder, The National, Cream, Elvis and others yet to be arranged.

Many of the leading composers of our time have created music for Ben, including Ezra Laderman, Martin Bresnick, John Anthony Lennon, Anthony Newman, Roberto Sierra, Van Stiefel and Jack Vees. Of particular note was the commission by the Yale University Music Library of a work by Ingram Marshall for classical and electric guitars. Ben Verdery and Andy Summers premiered the work, Dark Florescence, at Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra. In 2012, the two guitarists appeared at the annual Amsterdam Electric Guitar Heaven.

Benjamin Verdery is also a prolific published composer in his own right with many of his compositions having been performed, recorded and published over the years. In 2012, he was commissioned to compose two works: Penzacola Belongs To All, commissioned by the Pensacola Guitar Orchestra in celebration of their 30th Anniversary (premiered in Pensacola October 2012) and Stand in Your Own Light for guitar and koto, commissioned by the Kyo‐Shin‐An Arts with funding from the New York State Council for the Arts (premiered in New York City November 2012). In 2010, The Assad Duo premiered Ben’s work, What He Said. Commissioned by the 92 St Y, the work is dedicated to the late luthier Thomas Humphrey. Other recent works have included Now and Ever (for David Russell, Telarc), Peace, Love and Guitars (for John Williams and John Etheridge, SONY Classical), Capitola (John Williams, SONY Classical) and Give (for eight guitars). This last was composed specifically for Thomas Offermann and the guitar ensemble of the Hochschule for Music and Theatre (Rostock, Germany) and dedicated to the memory of U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy. Ben’s Scenes from Ellis Island, for guitar orchestra, has been extensively broadcast and performed at festivals and universities in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Europe, and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet included it on their CD, Air and Ground (Sony Classical). Doberman‐Yppan (Canada) is currently publishing his solo and duo works for guitar, and Alfred Music distributes the solo pieces from Some Towns & Cities as well as instructional books and video. Other compositions are available at Ben’s web site. Most recently, Wake Forest University asked Ben to compose a new solo guitar work based on a poem by Pablo Neruda for its homage to Pablo Neruda in September, 2014 and later in 2014 Ben finished scoring the documentary film Corida Goyesque, an art film about, among other things, the role of the bull in art.

In 2007 Ben was appointed an honorary board member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, and the summer of 2015 marked the 16th anniversary of his annual Maui Master Class on the island of Maui, Hawaii.

 

PROGRAM

Dec 8 & 9, 2016 – Fort Worth – Dallas

Prelude & Wedding Dance (2004)                                                               Benjamin Verdery (b.1955)
For Rie

Satyagraha (2001)                                                                                               Benjamin Verdery (b.1955)
For Guri

Joaquin is Dreaming (Joaquin Soñando) (2008)                                  Martin Bresnick (b. 1946)
Joaquin Imagines a Part of His History                                                                  (written for Benjamin Verdery)
(Joaquin Imaginarse una Parte de su Historia)
ii. Joaquin Foresees a Future (Joaquin Preve un Futuro)
iii. Joaquin is Sleeping, Joaquin is Dreaming (Joaquin Durmiente, Joaquin Soñando)

Soepa (1999)                                                                                                                  Ingram Marshall (b. 1945)
For digital delay and loops                                                                                   (written for Benjamin Verdery)

 

Intermission

 

Now and Ever (2007-8)                                                                           Benjamin Verdery (b.1955)
For David and Marie
(In 2 movements)

From Eleven Etudes:                                                                                 Benjamin Verdery (b. 1955)
Worry Knot
Let Go
Now You See It, Now You Don’t, Now You Do
Start Now

Adagio. K 540                                                                                                    WA Mozart (1756-1791)
arranged by Benjamin Verdery

Three North American Songs                                                                 arranged by Benjamin Verdery
1- Kiss                                                                                                                      Prince (1958-2016)
2- In Germany Before the War                                                                           Randy Newman (b. 1943)
3- Purple Haze                                                                                                       Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970)

Special Non-Season Gala:
Vicente Amigo
March 20, 2016

Special Non-Season Gala Concert
Vicente Amigo

Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:30pm
Irving Arts Center – Carpenter Performance Hall
3333 N MacArthur Blvd, Irving, TX 75062
click for tickets

Hailed as “the Sultan of Duende” and already an international sensation, Spanish-born flamenco guitarist Vicente Amigo won the Latin Grammy in 2001 for Best Flamenco Album for his BMG debut City of Ideas. Like Amigo’s first three albums, it has won him new fans in his homeland and across Europe, as well as in South America and Japan. Windham Hill/RCA will introduce the guitarist to American audiences on August 6 with the first U.S. release of City of Ideas, an expansive East-meets-West affair that combines the solea rhythm of puro flamenco with elements of buleria, bolero, rumba, tango and alegria.

Over the past decade, Amigo’s incredible global appeal has given him the opportunity to perform in many parts of the world, from the Far East to Cuba, Morocco and Tunisia to South America. From his childhood in the little village of Guadalcanal, Spain, the guitarist has been a great student of culture. His exposure to a wide range of musical expression and rhythmic possibility has allowed Amigo to expand beyond his trademark “roots of flamenco” approach to incorporate a mix of what he calls “other feelings, outside roots.” As its title implies, City of the Ideas finds Amigo expressing an open heart to a dynamic “world of mixes.” “Studying” in this ciudad led him to discover that, as a race, we are about more than just one thing – in all ways, but especially musically.

“I love flamenco music as a foundation because it allows me to tell a story in a very different, non-linear fashion,” says Amigo. “The organization of that tale is less important than the feeling of it. I can start at the end or the beginning and explore and insert many themes upon the main theme, adding little messages along the way. There can be many hidden meanings within the main storyline as I change melody and harmony. There doesn’t have to be a specific ending. It’s just a matter of following my soul when I find something good to express in the song.”

In the early stages of recording, Amigo became enamored of a classic Greek poet named Kavafis and especially a poem entitled “The First Step.” “The piece is about an old poet in conversation with a young poet. The youngster brags that he’s written a masterpiece that can never be surpassed, but the older man puts him in his place and tells him he has so much to learn, that such talk is foolish. The young man eventually realizes the wisdom of this and says thank you. With City of Ideas, I related to the young poet, opening myself up to new experiences and new influences. Each song is like a big ‘thank you’ to all the life experiences I’ve had to draw from. I see music as a realm with no frontiers and each project allows me to explore even further.”

While Amigo’s strings are always front-and-center, City of Ideas features many notable outside performers – vocalists Khaled, Pedro Aznar, Dieguito “El Cigala” and Montse Cortes (with Amigo peforming some himself); bassist Alfredo Paixao; drummer Mino Cinelu and percussionists Tino di Geraldo, Chaboli and Echegaray Street. Recorded at the Filigrana Studios in Cordoba (Amigo’s adopted hometown) and mixed in Madrid, the collection is orchestrated and conducted by Joan Albert Amargos.

The first international single from City of Ideas was “Tres notas para decir te quiero” (“Three Notes To Say I Love You”), a folksy, loping romance with a few splashes of subtle brass. To Amigo, these three notes carrying all of his music are the rhythm, the melody and the indefinable spirit he simply terms “the natural flow.” “La Tarde es caramelo (Alegrias),” or “The afternoon is sweetness,” is happy, upbeat and intensely percussive, blending elegant strumming and dreamy vocals with irresistible handclaps and a lush harmonica solo by Antonio Serrano. “Ojos de la Alhambra” (“Eyes of the Alhambra”) is a soulful, Eastern-influenced meditation on the Spanish city of Alhambra, the last Arab enclave in Spain, located in the larger city of Granada. “It’s a magical place for me, where I could imagine the eyes of the city watching as I composed the song in its honor,” says Amigo.

Amigo’s guitar swirls with a call-and-response pattern of voices on the joyful tribute song “Compare Manuel (Tangos)” (“Manuel My Brother”), which is dedicated to a close friend’s godson. Amigo makes a special dedication also to his son, Vicente Jr., on “Bolero de Vicente” (“Vicente’s Bolero”), a playful improvisational number played solo with the occasional percussive slap. “Tata” is a meringue flamenco piece that begins with sparse guitar and handclaps and comes to incorporate tribal drumbeats, breathy wordless vocal passions and increasingly manic string explosions. The fiery, energetic fiesta “Cordoba” is Amigo’s showcase of the intricate, quick copla flamenco style. “This is a very personal vision of my home, letting everyone know that this place is united with my heart,” he says. “I am there in every old street, where I feel a pulse and inspiration in my soul. It’s a place that I always draw great comfort and new ideas from.” The title track closer plays like a graceful film score from a dusty romantic Western. Amigo’s laid-back playing is enhanced by the gorgeous, lonesome harmonica longings of Antonio Serrano.

Vicente Amigo has been called by some fans “the natural continuation of Paco de Lucia,” and indeed it was a television performance by the legendary flamenco master which inspired Amigo, all of three years old, to visualize his future playing that instrument in that style. Still, he says, “I believe that flamenco has always been something for adults, not just for children. To understand flamenco, you need maturity. You can play the guitar as a child. You understand the technique. But the essence of flamenco is something that requires maturity.”

Amigo draws that notion from experience. He began playing at age eight, after falling in love with the sound of a beloved neighbor playing the guitar. He learned from several legendary performers, including Juan Munoz and Merengue de Cordoba, and by fifteen, he was attracting attention as the protogee of Paco Peña. He spent six years playing in a band with Manolo Sanlucar and then worked with the legendary Camaron de La Isla. Towards the end of the eighties, Amigo was receiving various awards from the flamenco world for his solo performances; his breakthrough came in 1991 when he shared the stage with de Lucia during the international guitar festival “Leyendas de la Guitarra” in Seville. Other participants were Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, Phil Manzanera, Joe Cocker, Jack Bruce and Richard Thompson. That same year, Amigo recorded his debut solo album De Mi Corazon al Aire, which received two media awards. Pat Metheny quickly called him the greatest player of the Spanish guitar, and Guitar Player magazine named him Best International Flamenco Guitarist.

In Martinica ’92, he shared the stage with Stanley Jordan, an international collaboration led him to work with artists such as Milton Nascimento, Wagner Tiso, Al DiMeola, João Bosco and John McLaughlin. His second recording, 1995’s Vivencias Imaginadas, included a refined effort with de Lucia as a homage to Pat Metheny. Two years later, his recording Poeta received the flamenco awards given by the “Premios de la Musica,” the Spanish equivalent of the Grammys. In addition to his acclaimed solo performances, Amigo has also accompanied numerous vocalists, including El Pele and Luis De Cordoba and various Spanish dancers.

“Making music for so many years has carried me deep into the heart of myself, to the place where I have come to understand what it means to be a fully realized human being,” says Amigo. “Music plays a very important part in the world today, and it’s wonderful to be a part of bringing that joy to people. When people listen to me play, they know it’s coming from a very real and truthful place inside me.”

“Vicente Amigo has conquered a well deserved place of honour in the difficult world of the flamenco soloist guitar. During the presentation in Madrid of his last album “Ciudad de las ideas”, he poured out a musicality in which his flamenco style is open to other sensibilities. The ideas that Amigo brings to the flamenco really magnify it.”