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Villegas: Master of Guitar

Pablo Villegas

May 2 — May 4, 8:00 p.m.Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

Carlos Izcaray,  conductor
Pablo Sáinz-Villegas, guitar and curator
Daniel Binelli, bandoneon
Pacific Symphony

RAVEL: "Rapsodie Espagnole"
RODRIGO: "Concierto de Aranjuez"
PIAZZOLLA: "Libertango" for Guitar and Strings
ABREU: “Tico-Tico no Fubá” for Guitar and Strings
UNKNOWN: "Romance" from "Jeux Interdits"
PIAZZOLLA: "Sinfonía Buenos Aires" Op. 15

Spotify Playlist

Preview Talk with Alan Chapman at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:45 p.m.

Be swept away by the romantic charm of the guitar as Pacific Symphony embarks on a special celebration of this popular instrument. A festival curated by the “master of guitar” Pablo Sáinz-Villegas takes you on a journey to Spain with Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, inspired by the real-life royal Spanish palace.

Enjoy image magnification on our big screens during the concert for a closer look at the artists!

Don't miss the solo guitar recital with Pablo Sáinz-Villegas at 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 4 in the Samueli Theater. Tickets are just $15!


May 2 & 3 • 6:30 to 7:45 p.m.

Three guitarists from Cal State Fullerton — Cody Noriega, Brighton Plante and Daniel Monaghan —  will be performing on the Plaza stage. Admission is free!

May 4 • 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Marty Schwartz will be hosting and curating a 2-hour celebration of guitar in popular music on the Plaza stage.  Admission is free! 

Marty Schwartz is an acclaimed Guitar Teacher on YouTube with over one million subscribers that garners over eight million views a month. Marty is proud to be partnering with Pacific Symphony to present a celebration of The Electric Guitar. Marty and his band will be playing in a host of styles, including rock, blues, jazz, and country. The show will also feature four of Marty’s talented young students, along with special guest, American Idol finalist, Elliott Yamin. There may also be a few surprises in store for the show’s finale! Join us for an evening you won't soon forget.

Program Notes

Learn more about the music and the artists in the program notes.

Pablo Sáinz-Villegas

Guest Artist

Pablo Sáinz-Villegas

Praised as “the soul of the Spanish guitar,” Pablo Sáinz-Villegas has become a worldwide sensation known as this generation’s great guitarist. He has been acclaimed by the international press as the successor of Andrés Segovia and an ambassador of Spanish culture in the world. His “virtuosic playing characterized by irresistible exuberance” (The New York Times) make him one of the most
acclaimed soloists by prestigious conductors, orchestras and festivals.

Sáinz-Villegas is known for his passionate, emotive and open-hearted playing, whether he is performing at intimate recital halls, or playing to an audience of over 85,000 at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid with beloved tenor Plácido Domingo, who has hailed him as "the master of the guitar.” Together they have performed at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles as well as on a floating stage on the
Amazon River. They most recently released “Volver,” a duo album with Sony Classical.

Sáinz-Villegas has appeared on some of the world’s most prominent stages including the Carnegie Hall in New York, the Philharmonie in Berlin, the Musikverein in Vienna and the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing. He has played in more than 40 countries and with orchestras such as the Israel Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the National Orchestra of Spain. In 2019 Sáinz-Villega will make his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra playing the beloved Concierto de Aranjuez and as a solo recitalist he will perform for the first time at the Harris Theater in Chicago and at Boston’s Celebrity Series. He will also continue touring with his trio band along with a special presentation at the iconic Blue Note Jazz Club in New York.

Billboard Magazine named him “the global ambassador of Spanish guitar” and as passionate promoter of the development of new repertoire, he has made numerous world premieres including the first composition for guitar by five-time Academy Award winner John Williams.

Sáinz-Villegas thrives over a continuous search of innovative ways to inspire communities since he considers that “music is an ideal tool to humanize this world.” As a lifelong dreamer, educator and philanthropist he has reached more than 35,000 children and youth through his non-profit “The Music Without Borders Legacy” and through his various Artist-In-Residence collaborations with orchestras and festivals.

Carlos Izcaray

Guest Artist

Carlos Izcaray

Carlos Izcaray is music director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and of the American Youth Symphony. Praised by the international press, he won top prizes at the 2007 Aspen Music Festival and later at the 2008 Toscanini International Conducting Competition. Since then he has appeared with numerous ensembles across five continents and is now firmly established as one of the leading conductors of his generation. Throughout his career Izcaray has shown special interest and prowess in tackling some of the most complex scores in the symphonic repertoire, while also championing the historically informed approach to works from past eras.

On the symphonic platform he is leading ensembles such as the St. Louis, North Carolina, Grand Rapids and Kitchener-Waterloo Symphonies, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio, Orchester der Komischen Oper Berlin, Malmö Symfoniorkester, Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini, Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música, Orchestra Regionale dell’Emilia-Romagna, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Macedonian Philharmonic, Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, Kwazulu-Natal Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia, Bahia Symphony Orchestra, Salta Symphony Orchestra, Venezuela Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica Municipal de Caracas, and Orquesta Filarmónica Nacional de Venezuela, among others. For a forthcoming release on the Orchid Classics label Izcaray recorded Max Richter’s Recomposed: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and violinist Francisco Fullana.

A distinguished instrumentalist himself, Izcaray has featured as concert soloist and chamber musician worldwide, and served as Principal Cello and Artistic President of the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra prior to dedicating his career fully to the podium. Increasingly active as a composer, Izcaray’s orchestral work Cota Mil was premiered by the Orquesta Sinfónica Municipal de Caracas, and a new composition, Yellowhammer, will receive its world premiere with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra conducted by the composer in February 2018.

Izcaray was born into a family of several artistic generations in Caracas. At the age of 3 he was enrolled in Venezuela’s public system of youth orchestras, continuing at the Emil Friedman Conservatory, where he was a boy chorister as well as an instrumentalist. He studied conducting with his father since he was a teenager, and went on to become a distinguished fellow at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen. Izcaray is an alumnus of the Interlochen Arts Academy, New World School of the Arts, and Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. He is a dual citizen of Spain and Venezuela, and divides his time between Birmingham (AL) and Berlin.

Daniel Binelli

Guest Artist

Daniel Binelli

Internationally renowned composer, arranger and bandoneón master, Argentine Daniel Binelli tours extensively in concert and recital. Binelli is also widely acclaimed as the foremost exponent and torchbearer of the music of Astor Piazzolla. In 1989 Binelli joined Piazzolla´s Sexteto Tango Nuevo, touring internationally. He has appeared as guest soloist with the orchestras of Philadelphia, Atlanta, Virginia, Sydney, Montreal, Ottawa, Saint Petersburg and Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra, to name but a few. Some of the conductors Binelli has worked with include Charles Dutoit, Lalo Schifrin, Franz-Paul Decker, Robert Spano, JoAnn Faletta, Gisèle Ben-Dor, Isaiah Jackson, Michael Christie, Lior Shambadal and Daniel Schweitzer. Binelli conducted Piazzolla´s operita, "María de Buenos Aires" in Sicily with Italian singer, Milva in the title role. Binelli’s collaborations include duo performances with pianist Polly Ferman and guitarist Eduardo Isaac, as well as with the Binelli-Ferman-Isaac Trio. Binelli is the musical director of Tango Metropolis Company, featured in the PBS Documentary “Tango, the Spirit of Argentina” and in a BBC documentary on Astor Piazzolla’s life. A seasoned composer in his own right, Binelli has created and arranged music for solo instruments, quintet, chamber and symphony orchestras, and has also written dance and film music, including soundtracks for the Argentine films, “Tango Baile Nuestro” and “Tango Shalom.”