Pablo Villegas

Live at Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 7:30pm
About The Artist: 

Pablo Villegas is hailed by critics as one of the world’s leading classical guitarists and celebrated as a natural ambassador of Spanish culture with performances in more than 30 countries since his auspicious debut with the New York Philharmonic under Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos at Avery Fisher Hall.

The soul of the Spanish guitar runs in Pablo Villegas’s blood. Born and raised in La Rioja, Spain – the country uniquely and deeply linked to his chosen instrument – Villegas is praised for performances as charismatic as they are intimate. With his his singing tone and consummate technique, Villegas offers interpretations that conjure the passion, playfulness, and drama of his homeland’s rich musical heritage, routinely drawing comparisons with such legendary exponents of his instrument as Andrés Segovia. Indeed, at just 15 he won the Andrés Segovia Award, launching a succession of international wins that include Gold Medal at the inaugural Christopher Parkening International Guitar Competition. The first guitarist to win El Ojo Crítico, Spain’s top classical music honor, Villegas also became the youngest of his generation to appear with the New York Philharmonic, in an auspicious debut under the late Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos at Avery Fisher Hall. He has since performed for both the Dalai Lama and the Spanish royal family, and it was he who gave the world premiere of Rounds, the first composition for guitar by five-time Academy Award-winner John Williams. A born communicator, the guitarist explains: “Music is a social tool, and opening people’s hearts, and helping them connect to the inner life of the emotions, is my mission.”

Villegas enjoys an increased American presence this season, making debuts with no fewer than seven U.S. orchestras. For his first appearances with ensembles including the Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Oregon Symphonies, he plays Rodrigo’s soul-stirring Concierto de Aranjuez, a signature work that also serves as the vehicle for his collaboration with Spain’s National Radio & Television Orchestra (RTVE), and the centerpiece of his forthcoming recording with the National Orchestra of Spain. In recital, he appears at Carnegie Hall, the New York City Classical Guitar Society, the Guitar Foundation of America Convention, Puerto Rico’s Festival Casals, and Italy’s Merano Festival, as well as in duet with violinist Augustin Hadelich at Indiana’s Linton Music Series and Germany’s Rheingau Music Festival.