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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Competition kicks off weeklong festival of guitar performances

    Rebecca Marie Sasnett
    Rebecca Marie Sasnett / The Daily Wildcat Ivar-Nicholas Fojas (left), third year doctor of musical arts, and Misael Barraza Diaz (right), second year masters degree in guitar performance, practices their guitar duo in the University of Arizona Museum of Art Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013.

    Julia Pernet remembers first listening to the Assad Brothers play to an audience of fewer than 30 people in a hotel room in Chicago.

    The world-famous Latin Grammy Award-winning guitarists return to Tucson to grace audiences of hundreds at the Fifth International Tucson Guitar Festival.

    The festival begins Sunday and will feature renowned guitarists Sérgio and Odair Assad and classical and flamenco guitarist Grisha Goryachev, along with competitions, workshops and master classes for students studying the instrument, said music professor Tom Patterson.

    The festival is a collaboration between the UA Bolton Guitar Studies Program and the Tucson Guitar Society. Both groups bring in guest artists and coordinate the master classes, which are open to everyone, said Tucson Guitar Society Chairman Julia Pernet.

    “Many people don’t know how exciting guitar music has become,” Pernet said. “The technique has changed a lot, and listening to a guitar concert is really full of drama and is really exciting.”

    The UA Bolton Guitar Studies Program is ranked as one of the top programs in the world with students from countries including Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Chile and China. The students have earned their prestigious reputation through winning nationally recognized competitions and going on tour, said Kathy Acosta, a guitar studies senior.

    The festival will begin with the Beeston Competition, which will honor the passing of Tom Beeston, a classical guitarist and luthier from Tucson. The competition will feature four finalists, all of whom have won international competitions, Patterson said.

    “We’re really unique here in that the guitar is extremely popular,” Patterson said. “It’s an upward spiral. The guitar is a strong symbol of Latin American culture and a lot of people are really attracted to that in Southern Arizona.”

    The festival will feature renowned guest artists throughout the week, beginning with Goryachev on Nov. 15, followed by performances from the Assad Brothers on Nov. 16 and 17. There will also be a concert by students in the program featuring Sérgio Assad’s music, Patterson said.

    “We have not only the very best of the best established stars, but also upcoming people who are going to have very long careers, like Grisha Goryachev,” Pernet said.

    The guest artists not only create a cultural experience for the community, but also provide an opportunity for students in the UA Bolton Guitar Studies Program to learn, Acosta said.

    “The artists are some of the best artists that are touring right now,” she said. “We develop a relationship with these artists that is a friendship and they see your progress, and that’s very rare from any other university.”

    The guitar festival continues through Nov. 17 and is open to the public for the price of $5.

    “Sometimes things are just a part of you,” Patterson said. “I love the instrument; I love the sound of it. My career path was to try to make our program here a model program for universities, and I think we’ve done a pretty darn good job.”

    What: The Fifth International Tucson Guitar Festival Beeston Competition
    When: 2:30 p.m. Sunday
    Where: Hosclaw Recital Hall, Music building
    Admission: $5

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