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Segovia Classical Guitar Series Features Audience Favorites

Acclaimed international virtuosos and young stars part of six-concert series

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January 9, 2013 | by Judy Moore
The 2013 Segovia Classical Guitar Series begins Feb. 10 and runs through April 13.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Hopkinson Smith, Alvaro Pierri, the Paco Pena Flamenco Dance Company, Vladimir Gorbach, Jason Vieaux with Julien Labro and Sergio and Odair Assad with Paquito D’Rivera are outstanding internationally renowned and up-and-coming artists from around the world. All will be featured in Northwestern University’s 2013 Segovia Classical Guitar Series, which celebrates 20 years of world-class performances this season.

Presented by Northwestern’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music and the Chicago Classical Guitar Society, the series begins Feb. 10 with a Bach recital by acclaimed baroque and early music specialist Hopkinson Smith. It concludes April 13 with a program of classical Latin dances from the new world performed by guitar virtuosos Sergio and Odair Assad, who will be joined by Grammy Award-winning clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera.  

Segovia events will take place in Lutkin Hall, 700 University Place or Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus.

Hopkinson Smith will open the Segovia series at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, in Lutkin Hall. Considered one of the world’s great lutenists, Smith has recorded more than 20 solo albums on a variety of plucked instruments, and is in demand as both a recitalist and educator in Europe and the Americas. He currently teaches at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland. In this concert, Smith will explore the works of Bach, including his cello suites, using a German bass lute called the theorbo. His concert is made possible in part by the Oldberg Visiting Artist Fund. Tickets are $18 for the general public and $12 for students.

• World-renowned Uruguayan guitarist Alvaro Pierri will perform works by Paganini, Ponce and Ginastera during his Chicago-area debut at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, in Lutkin Hall. Pierri’s approach to the guitar has inspired com­missions from composers Leo Brouwer, Astor Piazzolla and Terry Riley and collaborative performances with Piazzolla, Eduardo Fernandez and the Turtle Island String Quartet. Pierri’s many awards include the coveted Canadian FELIX award for the best classical CD of the year and first prize awards in many prestigious classical guitar competitions. Pierri’s concert is made possible in part by the Oldberg Visiting Artist Fund. Tickets are $22 for the general public and $12 for students. 

Paco Pena’s Flamenco Dance Company will perform the program “Flamenco Vivo” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 1, in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. One of the world’s leading traditional flamenco players, Pena has toured the globe performing at New York’s Carnegie Hall, London’s Royal Albert Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and other leading venues. Pena has collaborated with musicians from an array of genres, including classical guitarist John Williams, and has recorded nearly 30 albums during his 45-year career. Pena’s latest program explores the realms of modern flamenco through dance, song and guitar, while capturing its traditional style. The concert is made possible in part by the Evelyn Dunbar Visiting Artist Fund. Tickets are $30 for the general public and $12 for students.

Vladimir Gorbach will perform works by Giuliani, Scarlatti, Piazzolla and more at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 10, in Lutkin Hall. He has performed as soloist and with ensembles at festivals in the Americas, Europe, Australia and his native Russia. Gorbach is the winner of 10 international first-prize awards, including the 2011 Guitar Foundation of America prize, which includes a recording opportunity with Naxos and a 50-city tour. This concert is made possible in part by the Oldberg Visiting Artist Fund. Tickets are $20 for the general public and $12 for students.

• Guitarist Jason Vieaux will join bandoneon player and accordionist Julien Labro for a program of works by Piazzolla, Albeniz, Pat Metheny, Gnatalli and Leo Brouwer at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Vieaux, the youngest winner of the Guitar Foundation of America International Competition, has performed as concerto soloist with more than 50 orchestras. He has also been a soloist on every major guitar series in North America as well as key festivals in Europe, Asia, Australia and Mexico. Vieaux is the head of the guitar department at the Cleveland Institute of Music and, in 2011, co-founded the guitar department at the Curtis Institute of Music. Toronto-based accordion and bandoneon player Labro has performed with artists ranging from Brazilian pianist Joao Gilberto to Israeli jazz clarinetist Anat Cohen. He has released seven albums as a soloist, an ensemble member of the Hot Club of Detroit and as a guest artist on 15 other albums. Labro is also a composer and arranger, working with A Far Cry chamber orchestra, Ensemble Vivant and other groups. This concert is made possible in part by the Dorothy and Carl Johnson Visiting Artist Fund. Tickets are $22 for the general public and $12 for students.

• Brazilian guitar virtuosos and two-time Latin Grammy Award winners Sergio and Odair Assad join forces with Cuban clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 13, in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Their program of Latin classical music includes tangos, sambas and boleros by Lecuona, Jobim, Copland, Piazzolla and D’Rivera. The Assad brothers have commissioned works by Astor Piazzolla, Terry Riley and Brazilian composer Radames Gnattali, and have collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Dawn Upshaw in both the recording studio and on stage. Odair Assad is based in Brussels where he teaches at the Ecole Superieure des Arts, and Sergio Assad resides in San Francisco where he is on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Paquito D’Rivera has countless awards to his name, including four Grammy and six Latin Grammy awards, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and a National Medal for the Arts presented at the White House. The 2012-13 Segovia series final concert is made possible in part by the Oldberg Visiting Artist Fund. Tickets are $28 for the general public and $12 for students.

Construction alert

Due to construction on the south end of campus, Arts Circle Drive is currently closed to traffic. Free parking is still available on weekends and after 4 p.m. weekdays in the two-level lakefront structure located on Campus Drive. Turn onto Campus Drive from Sheridan Road and enter the parking structure on the right by way of ramps leading to the upper and lower levels. For vehicles with handicap placards, reserved spaces are available on weekends and after 4 p.m. weekdays in the lot directly west of Louis Hall. For more construction and parking information, visit www.pickstaiger.org/construction.

Subscriptions for this year’s six-concert series -- which includes prime reserved seating and a savings of 15 percent off single-ticket prices -- are $119 for the general public and $60 for students. Northwestern faculty and staff who present a valid WildCARD receive a 15 percent discount off the general-public price for single tickets only.

For more information, call the Pick-Staiger Concert Office at (847) 491-5441 or visit www.pickstaiger.org. To order subscriptions or single tickets call the Pick-Staiger Ticket Office at (847) 467-4000; to order single tickets online, visit www.pickstaiger.org.