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Chilean guitarist headlines festival

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The player Classical Guitar magazine called “A master guitarist with true star quality” will headline next weekend’s New Mexico Classical Guitar Festival at the University of New Mexico.

The Chilean guitarist Carlos Perez is “one of the best guitarists in the world,” festival organizer Paul Nielsen said. Perez will perform a salute to the Paraguayan composer and guitarist Agustín Barrios (1885-1944), along with music by Bach in the University of New Mexico’s Keller Hall at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Internationally known guitarist Carlos Perez will perform Friday as part of the New Mexico Classical Guitar Festival.

Internationally known guitarist Carlos Perez will perform Friday as part of the New Mexico Classical Guitar Festival.

The British guitar duo Eden Stell will follow on Saturday with a mixture of Baroque music, including works by both Couperin and Rameau, as well as Sergio Assad and Johannes Moller.

Comprised of Mark Eden and Christopher Stell, the pair are widely regarded as one of the world’s leading guitar ensembles.

On Sunday, Keller Hall will resonate with the strings of 30 guitars playing “Bow Chaser,” a commissioned work by composer Carlos Rafael Rivera.

“We asked him to write us a piece,” Nielsen said. “We wanted it in four parts; we wanted it about three minutes long. It’s a very lively piece. It has Spanish influences to it.

“Guitar orchestras are becoming more popular,” Nielsen continued. “People sign up to be in workshops and rehearse this for four days to be part of the orchestra.”

Participants range from high school students to professional adults, he added.

The award-winning Rivera composed the soundtrack to the upcoming crime drama “A Walk Among the Tombstones” starring Liam Neeson. He began a mentorship with composer Randy Newman while earning a degree in music composition at the University of California.

Rivera has written music for the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and performed as the opening act for The Who at the Hollywood Bowl. His music has been performed by the Miami Symphony Orchestra and the American Wind Symphony. He also served as composer-in-residence with the Miami Symphony Orchestra.

The festival opens on Thursday with a performance by Genevieve Leitner, who performs and teaches guitar throughout the United States and Chile. She was born in Chimayó.

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