New York Guitar Festival
Los Sonidos de Espana/The Sounds of Spain
5/18 – 5/19
12:30pm & 7:30pm
This spring, the New York Guitar Festival and Arts Brookfield will present two days of performances devoted entirely to the classical and flamenco guitar music of Spain at Brookfield Place.
In recent years, the Festival has focused on taking the guitar into unlikely spaces, such as a day and night of ragas, or within the medieval ambiance of The Met’s Cloisters Museum, or casting it as the new “voice” of silent films. It’s been more than a decade, not since the 2006 Spanish Marathon, that the Festival has specifically concentrated on the country most listeners think of when they hear classical guitar.
Los Sonidos de Espana/The Sounds of Spain casts a fresh glance at the standard classics and flamenco roots. Joining us are two legendary guitarists, Sharon Isbin and Pepe Romero, who will perform solo and in duos with special guests in the evening concerts. For our afternoon matinees, we welcome to artists who blur the lines between folk, pop, and classical – Adam del Monte and Marija Temo. Expect some singing and dancing during their sets!
Friday, May 18, 12:30 PM: Marija Temo
Triple threat Marija Temo does it all: she sings, dances, and fiercely plays flamenco guitar. Praised for her formidable chops, Temo plays a guitar specifically tailored to the nuances of both classical and flamenco; she co-designed this unique instrument with luthier Tom Rodriguez. Although immersed in flamenco tradition, Temo also plays pop crossover and solos with symphonies. Composer Loris Ohannes Chobanian wrote the Concierto del Fuego especially as a showcase for Temo’s synthesis of classical rigor and Spanish style. She performed in Fuego Ibérico, a flamenco musical inspired by cabaret. Currently, she serves as Guitar Chair at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. Temo received a Master’s degree from the Peabody Conservatory, where she studied with Manuel Barrueco. Her solo recital at this year’s NYGF marks her first appearance at the Festival since Audible Cloisters in 2016.
Friday, May 18, 7:30 PM: Pepe Romero
Classical guitar legend and Festival friend Pepe Romero returns to the NYGF for the first time since 2014. On that occasion, Romero gave an all-Bach recital. This time, the maestro will pay tribute to his father, Celedonio Romero, and the music of Spain, particularly that of his native Málaga. Romero will focus on flamenco guitar bringing with him a to-be-announced roster of special guests, singers, and dancers. Among his celebrated accomplishments, Romero has premiered works – composed especially for him – by Rodrigo and Torroba. He’s recorded more than 60 albums across his career, 30 of which were as part of a quartet with his father and brothers in The Romeros, an ensemble widely regarded as “The Royal Family of the Guitar.” In addition to championing new works for the instrument, Romero has also rescued previously lost concerti by Giuliani and Carulli, among others, bringing them out of the archives and into the light.
In truly flamenco fashion, joining Pepe in this concert will be his cousin Marieta Romero from Valencia, who trained in Spanish dance at the Escuela Superior de Arte Dramático y Danza de Valencia, danced for 8 years with Ballet Español de Martin Vargas and has been director of her own Ballet Español de Valencia for 15 years. His daughter, Angelina Romero Kressin, who is a trained classical pianist (first of the Romero dynasty to choose am instrument other than guitar), and his wife, Carissa S. Romero both of whom studied flamenco dance together with Juanita Franco (Sevilla), Manolete and Judea Maya (Granada) and Ivan Vargas (Granada) among other great masters and enjoy dancing at family gatherings.
Saturday, May 19, 12:30 PM: Adam del Monte, with special guests Sonia Olla and Ismael Fernández
Known for the introspective lyricism of his classical guitar style as well as the exuberant spontaneity of his flamenco repertoire, Adam del Monte delights and moves audiences with his mastery of both art forms. In addition to performing iconic works by Albéniz and Tárrega, del Monte has composed two concertos for flamenco guitar and orchestra. His most recent recording, Asi lo siento yo, features collaborations with other flamenco musicians in songs that integrate aspects of tango, jazz, and Gypsy soul. Del Monte has also made music for the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Osvaldo Golijov, and film composer John Williams. Joining del Monte for his afternoon program will be the flamenco dancer and choreographer Sonia Olla (described by the New York Times as “a furnace of earthy sensuality”) and her partner, the Seville-born cantadore Ismael Fernández.
Saturday, May 19, 7:30 PM: Sharon Isbin, with guest artist Romero Lubambo
New York Guitar Festival proudly welcomes back Sharon Isbin, whose performance last year was a major highlight of the 2017 Festival. This time, Isbin’s program will feature a combination of solos and duos with her guest, the Brazilian jazz guitarist Romero Lubambo. Isbin and Lubambo, who performed together in the award-winning documentary Sharon Isbin: Troubadour, share a lyrical sensibility that makes their duets a natural elision of improvisation, classical music, and cross-cultural exploration. A two-time Grammy winner and founder of the guitar department at Juilliard, Isbin has premiered works by Tan Dun, John Corigliano, and Christopher Rouse, among other composers, that were written especially for her. Isbin’s most recent recording, Alma Española, pairs her with the mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard for a set of Spanish art songs by Montsalvatge, Agustín Lara, and Lorca. Hailed as much for her “mesmerizing finesse” as for the range of her repertoire, Isbin has recorded everything from Baroque and Renaissance to contemporary classical to Latin American traditions in Journey to the Amazon.