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Classical Guitar Festival showcases instrument’s evolving repertoire

Tantalus Quartet will perform at Keller Hall as part of the New Mexico Classical Guitar Festival.

Tantalus Quartet will perform at Keller Hall as part of the New Mexico Classical Guitar Festival.

The repertoire of the classical guitar has evolved over four centuries.

The beauty of the instrument has captivated many musicians, which is why Guitar New Mexico celebrated the instrument by hosting the New Mexico Classical Guitar Festival annually.

The festival will be held from Thursday, June 16, through June 19 at the University of New Mexico.

“The classical guitar is a very intimate instrument,” says Justin Muehlmeyer, board member of Guitar New Mexico. “I think in New Mexico, particularly because of its Spanish roots, it has a big draw. We have a very active group of classical guitar players. It’s one of the reasons we’re able to bring in global performers, because there is a lot of support here.”

This year’s featured guests are Jorge Caballero, Tantalus Quartet and Anthony Mariano.

At age 19, Caballero became the youngest musician and the only guitarist to win the Naumburg International Competition Award, one of the most prestigious and coveted awards given to performers of any instrument, and comparable to the Pulitzer Prize for musicians.

Meanwhile, the Tantalus Quartet specializes in music by living composers, and actively pursue new works for guitar quartet.

The quartet includes Lynn McGrath, Stephen Mattingly, Kristian Anderson and Sungmin Shin.

And New Mexico native Mariano has played solo performances in Europe and Canada.

He studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

In addition to the concerts will be a finale concert featuring the participants in the festival.

“There are about 70-150 guitarists who attend the festival,” Muehlmeyer says. “The showcase concert gives the players a chance to get on stage and perform.”

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