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Classical 101

The Natural Heir to Andres Segovia: Guitarist Pablo Villegas

Pablo Villegas
Courtesy of the artist
Pablo Villegas

Classical guitarist Pablo Villegas has been called the "natural heir" to Andres Segovia, the great Spanish guitarist of the 20th century who became the best-known ambassador for the guitar as a serious concert instrument.  

Pablo Villegas a is musical communicator who has performed for the Spanish Royal Family and the Dalai Lama.  He'll be my guest on the next Fretworks via telephone from New York City where he has lived for the past 10 years.

A native of La Rioja in the north of Spain, Villegas began playing the guitar when he was six years old after seeing Segovia on television.  He progressed quickly.  At the age of 15-year-old he won the Andres Segovia Award and won other prestigious awards as well.  The heart of the matter though, is his beautiful and soulful way of playing, communicating the essence of each piece he plays with great skill and artistry.  That has led to him performing around the world, and recently with some of the major orchestras in the United States to critical acclaim.

Pablo Villegas is a very fine interpreter of the classical guitar repertoire, and that is amply demonstrated on his new CD titled "Americano."  In addition to great works for the guitar from North and South America by composers such as Heitor Villa-Lobos, Antonio Lauro, Agustin Barrios, and Leonard Bernstein (hence the title of the CD), there's a world-premier written for him by film composer John Williams as well.  We'll hear some selections from "Americano" on Fretworks.

In 2007, Pablo Villeagas founded the Music Without Borders Legacy, a program created to bridge cultural and social boundaries with classical music.  To date, it has reached more than 15,000 at-risk children and youth.  It was at a related event in Spain called "Compassion Without Borders" that Villegas performed for the Dalai Lama of Tibet, who was the main speaker.  Villegas said that, "I've always believed in the power of music to erase borders, to go beyond borders and to connect people from any background."

Pablo Villegas is also the cultural ambassador for the Vivanco Foundation and Museum, which combines a winery and museum of wine culture in the region of Spain where he grew up.  Villegas said that it's all about promoting the appreciation and the beauty of life, including, art, culture, dining and music.     

 Join me for the next Fretworks Saturday at 7 pm and Wednesday at 7  on Classical 101 for music and conversation with Pablo Villegas.  On the program, I'll also have music of Vivaldi with Angel Romero and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields and Paul O'Dette with lute music from 17th century England.