Back to South Texas

4/26/2011 Tuesday 8:08 pm

This afternoon I returned from my last trip for April.  This one was back to South Texas – to Edinburg and UT PanAm – to perform as part of the UTPA Guitar Festival run by my friend and colleague Kurt Martinez.  The festival includes a competition and a week of concerts.  I was particularly excited, because my concert (last night) was split between me and my dear friend Grisha, an unbelievable flamenco wizard who I think must be one of the most remarkably talented people I’ve ever met.

Here I am warming up the hall! I played Albeniz, Mertz, Domeniconi, Brouwer and York.

Then Grisha took the stage in the second half and did what he always does: Blow everyone's mind!

And here's Kurt, Me and Grisha after the show. Kurt did a phenomenal job, and the UTPA staff put together some great marketing materials. We enjoyed a great audience and had a fabulous time.

Here we are later on at a great Mexican place. If you look closely you can see the steam rising from Grisha's Fajita plate!

Today began with breakfast at the hotel with Grisha and then a shot over to UT PanAM to teach a master class.  I had four great students and really enjoyed the teaching.  Then it was a drive to Harlingen to catch a flight back to Austin.  In the security line I ended up right in front of Dr. Juliet Garcia – President of the University of Texas at Brownsville!  This was fun, because I spent quite a bit of time with Juliet and the Chancellor at the Romeros’ concert in Brownsville just two weeks ago.  We caught up a bit and talked about, of course, guitar things.

Reviews are in!

4/23/2011 Saturday 8:40 am

The reviews are in from my workshop in California (I can’t believe it was a week ago!).

My favorite quote is from the director himself, Daniel Roest:

The Sacramento Guitar Society hosted a gathering of western guitar societies April 16th 2011, led by the most capable person in the country to do so – Dr. Matthew Hinsley, Executive Director of the Austin Classical Guitar Society in Austin, Texas. The West Coast Guitar Societies Roundtable was conceived after I met Dr. Hinsley at the 2008 Guitar Foundation of America Festival and Competition in San Francisco. In Matt Hinsley I met such talent, inspiration and positive energy that I knew we in Sacramento had to get him to consult for us.

But you can see them all online here.

I also wanted to share two fun pictures from my Brownsville Texas trip (these pics are from TWO weeks ago today!).  I actually head back to south Texas tomorrow (Easter Sunday) to play a concert at UT PanAm on Monday night and teach a class Tuesday morning.  I’ll fly back Tuesday afternoon.  Other fun upcoming performing things are the debut of my trio with Steve Kostelnik and Tom Echols (Lyriko is our working “band name”!) at the Long Center on Sunday, May 1st at around 5:45PM!  We’ll play one piece as part of a marathon performance set run by Michelle Schumann at the Austin Chamber Music Center.  And then the following Friday, May 6th, I’ll perform a set at the convention center for Austin’s 20th year celebration luncheon of it’s “Live Music Capitol of the World” moniker.  I’ll be representing classical music at the luncheon!

Here is a great picture of Pepe Romero with the UT System Chancellor Dr. Francisco Cigarroa. Dr. Cigarroa is a good friend, and guitar player, and we get together most weeks to talk guitar. On the Wednesday night before this picture was taken, I told the Chancellor I was heading down to Brownsville to see the Romeros on the weekend, and he decided to come too! They had met before several times, including last summer when I had asked Cigarroa to introduce Pepe Romero at our giant international festival and welcome everyone on behalf of the UT System. We were at the incredible home of Dr. & Mrs. Roberto Robles following the Los Romeros concert.

And here a great shot, from much later in the evening, where Pepe - center in the back - started talking flamenco with a flamenco dancer who was present. Before I knew it they were clapping and singing and counting as they discussed particulars of flamenco! In the foreground center (dark jacket) my dear friend and festival director Dr. Michael Quantz. The three gentlemen to his right are Isaac Bustos (facing away), Alejandro Montiel, and Jonathan Dotson. All tremendous guitar players and UT grads who have professorships around the state of Texas. They also are 3/4 of the Texas Guitar Quartet that will be appearing in Austin for us twice in May. May 12th at the Cactus Cafe and May 14th for our "Austin Guitar Salon" series.


4/20/2011 Wednesday 9:54 pm

California was fabulous.  I’d like to begin by saying a huge thanks to David Chapman for bringing me to Modesto to play and teach last Thursday – and his colleague Travis Silvers for taking such good care of me – and a huge thanks to Daniel Roest of the Sacramento Classical Guitar Society for his vision in developing the West Coast Guitar Societies Roundtable and asking me to lead the sessions.

Last week was a massive week for guitar in Austin. The Assads played, Adam Holzman Played. Pepe Romero played nearby. The Minneapolis Guitar Quartet was up in Waco. We (at ACGS) presented the ChromaDuo, pictured here at Taco Deli (Tracy Smith and Rob MacDonald), in 10 community concerts, and we presented another super popular Classical Cactus featuring Michael Gratovich and Kim Perlak. Whew! It was wonderful meeting Rob and Tracy, even if only briefly, and enjoying a taco along with, of course, some Houndstooth Coffee from next door!

On Wednesday last week I was on a place to Oakland, where I took the BART to Dublin/Pleasonton and met my friend David Chapman, who directs guitar studies at Modesto Junior college.  David asked me to come out and play a concert and teach a class as soon as he heard I’d be in the area to lead the nonprof workshop sessions I would lead later in the week!

Here is David putting up my concert poster on his wall of fame! This is a ritual that can only take place after you've performed there! The concert went very well that evening, as did the class I taught in the afternoon. Following the poster hanging, we spent a nice long night out having dinner and talking about all kinds of things. While in Modesto my host was guitarist Travis Silvers with whom I played pool Thursday night, and Tennis Friday morning, before he took me into Sacramento. I managed to beat him in pool, but I'd rather not talk about what happened on the tennis court Friday morning!

On Friday I went to a cool spot called the Urban Hive where Daniel Roest’s colleague Steve Roberts had arranged for me to give a talk on community arts advocacy.  The group was small enough that we had a nice long discussion, instead, that I think most everyone enjoyed.  Afterward we had dinner, where I met the very talented Armenian guitarist Gohar Vardanian before heading over to Sacramento State to hear the Pacific Coast Guitar Ensemble.

Here are some of the 7 members of the PCGE. I don't know everyone in the group, but David Tanenbaum, Lawrence Ferrara, and Marc Teicholz are heavy hitters in the classical guitar world. I was also impressed with a young man named John Mendle who I got to meet the next morning. Friday evening I also got to visit with Richard Savino, guitar professor at Sac State, it's always a tremendous pleasure to see Richard!

Saturday was my big action day.  I was to lead 5, one-hour sessions on Mission/Vision, Strategic Planning, PR/Marketing, Grants, and Development/Fundraising.  Whew!  What a day.  In the middle, my new friend David Lusterman, publisher of acoustic guitar magazine, led a session on collaboration, and interspersed throughout were performances by phenomenal young players in the area.

Here's the scene early on, with my host, Daniel Roest, introducing me! We had representatives from organizations all over California, one from Nevada, and even one from Victoria BC.

Several very talented young players performed during the day in between sessions. I already mentioned John Mendle. Pictured here is Matt Lyons - especially significant because Matt is an Austinite currently finishing his first year of college in San Francisco with Sergio Assad at the conservatory. matt is super talented, a former student of Steve Kostelnik, and it was tremendous to see him and hear him play again.

The Roundtable ended with a public performance by Jesse McCann of Oregon and Gohar Vardanyan. Both very talented indeed! I'd like to offer my deepest congratulations to Daniel Roest and his team for a fantastic and visionary event! I am honored to have been a part.

Hello from Brownsville

4/9/2011 Saturday 5:52 pm

I’m in Brownsville, Texas.  If you haven’t been here, you should come sometime!  Particularly to the UTB campus, which is gorgeous.  I always enjoy my trips here to participate in this amazing festival Michael Quantz has put together at UT Brownsville.  A testament to his work, the fest has grown this year in registrants by 40% bringing the total up to over 290.

I flew down Thursday and went directly to UT Brownsville’s fabulous new performing arts center where the college round of the competition was already in progress.  This is a guitar ensemble competition, so duos, trios, quartets and large ensembles are all competing in elementary, middle school, high school and college divisions.  I jumped into judging with several colleagues including my friend Tony Morris (host of the internationally syndicated radio show Classical Guitar Alive) and Jon Dotson (a UT grad and phenomenal player and teacher who is now a guitar professor right here at UTB!).  We listened to great groups from all around the country, did our judging thing, and then had just enough time for a quick dinner before returning to UTB for the Thursday night concert featuring Isaac Bustos.

Isaac is also a recent Ut grad, he is guitar professor at Texas A&M.  He’s a magnificent player, an incredible teacher and – I can now happily announce – he will be appearing on our (ACGS’) International Concert Series this coming November!  Needless to say, his concert was fabulous, and we all enjoyed a great hang afterward with friends including Jeff Cogan from Southern California who was the long-time director of the international competition of the GFA, and is guitar professor at Chapman University and president of the Orange County Guitar Circle.

It was a great night.  Made even better when I returned to my hotel and walked into – who else? – Pepe, Celin, Celino and Lito Romero!  It was great to see them all.  It’s been a little while since I saw all of them.  Of course last summer we had Pepe in Austin for our giant festival.  As it turns out, I’ve had the great pleasure these last few years of teaching Pepe’s nephew in Austin.  So we had a lot to talk about before retiring shortly after midnight.

You get the idea!  More of the same Friday – the highlight of which was a phenomenal concert by Denis Azabagic followed by sushi with the whole gang.  Today I did not judge, but instead I taught a master class to some wonderful students, had a few hours to practice, and soon I’ll head out to see Los Romeros!

I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with Kurt Martinez, a good friend, director of guitar at UT Pan Am who is hosting the festival I’m playing at in a few short weeks!

Here's a shot of Dr. Michael Quantz introducing the festival, and one of his fabulous University ensembles, before Bustos performed Thursday.