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Pro Musica presents classical guitar festival

By Kathleen B. Lowenstein

Pro Musica presents our first classical guitar festival on January 18, 19 and 20 at St. Paul’s Church, calle Cardo 6. Music lovers will be treated to four performers in three concerts, each one an exploration of distinct parts of the vast classical guitar repertoire.

Pro Musica presents classical guitar fest
Fri & Sat, Jan 18 & 19, 5pm
Sun, Jan 20, 4pm
St. Paul’s Church
Cardo 6
300/200/100 pesos

The opening concert on Friday, January 18, at 5pm features award-winning Canadian guitarist Jérôme Ducharme. Winner of the 2005 Guitar Foundation of America International Competition, Ducharme also holds a diploma from the Conservatoire de musique et d’art dramatique de Montréal and a doctorate degree from Université de Montréal. He is currently a guitar instructor at the Schulish School of Music at McGill University in Montreal. Ducharme will present a varied program, including renowned Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Five Preludes for Guitar. These preludes show how the composer was influenced by both Brazilian music and classical titans like J.S. Bach. Ducharme will also play pieces by two contemporary Canadian composers and one of the most significant guitar works, Variations on Folias de España and a fugue by Mexican composer Manuel María Ponce.

For the Saturday, January 19 concert, 5pm, we present a guitar and voice duo, Roberto Limón and Chérie Hughes, with an eclectic program that ranges across centuries. Limón and Hughes have performed throughout Mexico and were selected in 2008 for a residency in the Jack Straw Artist Support Program. Hughes is both an accomplished violinist and award-winning vocalist, who currently teaches at the University of Puget Sound. Limón has performed throughout Mexico as well as in the US, Russia, South Korea, Cuba and the Czech Republic. His recording of works for guitar and orchestra, Tango mata Danzón mata Tango, was nominated for a Latin Grammy award.

This concert will open with songs by English baroque composer Henry Purcell followed by Bach, Schubert and a few playful compositions by modern American composer Dominick Argento, written in the style of these two great classical masters. Our ears will then travel to Valencia to hear the sad, beautiful sounds of Sephardic songs composed by Matilde Salvador Segarra. We are especially pleased that Roberto and Chérie will also be performing six songs composed by Canadian guitarist and San Miguel resident Bryan Townsend. The lyrics of these songs are poems by such luminaries as John Donne, Philip Larkin, Robert Graves and Victor Hugo. This will mark the Guanajuato premier of Townsend’s songs, which were first performed in Mexico City late last year.

The final concert in our guitar fest, Sunday, January 20, 4pm, (note earlier start time), features the renowned Mexican virtuoso Enrique Flores on the 10-string guitar. Flores introduced this challenging instrument to Mexico and is a master of it. First developed by Spanish guitarist Narciso Yepes, the 10-string guitar enhances and enriches the lower registers of the instrument, making it particularly well-suited to baroque music originally written for the lute or vihuela, which both had more bass strings than modern six-string guitars. The program for Flores’ concert features many beloved works in the guitar repertoire, starting with a smorgasbord of Renaissance composers: Alonso de Mudarra (Spanish), Tielman Susato (Dutch), Josquin des Prez (Franco-Flemish) and Domenico Scarlatti (Italian). The program also includes pieces by famed 19th and 20th century Spanish classical guitar composers Fernando Sor and Salvador Bacarisse. After intermission, Enrique will explore more 20th century music by Heitor Villa Lobos, Erik Satie, Manuel María Ponce, Isaac Albeníz and others. Flores has performed all over the world, including the White House, and has given several sold-out concerts for Pro Musica. The New York Times lauded him for his “musicality, sensitivity and clean technique”—don’t miss hearing this talented musician and his unique instrument.

You can purchase tickets at 300, 200 and 100-pesos donation each for all three concerts on Friday January 18, 5pm, Saturday, January 19, 5pm, and Sunday, January 20, 4pm, at our ticket sales outlets: La Tienda in La Biblioteca, Insurgentes 25; Solutions, Mesones 57; St. Paul’s Church, calle Cardo 6, Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm, and at the door, half an hour before concert time.

Details of all our concerts and Patron Membership are on our website:

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