UNLIKE its predecessor, Guitarra 2011 featured an all-Thomasian display of musical expertise as the Conservatory of Music’s students, faculty, and alumni took to the stage at the UST Museum from September 13 to 15.

Last year, the festival featured renowned guitarists from all over the globe. Aside from participating in the concerts, the foreign instrumentalists also held master classes at the Conservatory to impart their knowledge and expertise to students and faculty alike. They shared the stage with other Filipino guitar masters such as Joseph Mirandilla, Angelito Agcaoili and Manuel Cabrera.

Guitarra 2011 was led by Guitar Department coordinator Ruben Reyes.

“There’s this happy moment when you would like to keep on going the whole time,” he said. “There’s nothing like a real performance where a real person communicates with you and you communicate something back.”

The concert that kicked off the three-day affair featured a duet between Leo Nebrija and Joseph Ramos. A solo by award-winning guitarist Alberto Mesa followed.

“L’Encouragement,” is composed of three musical movements: the soothing “Cantabile,” the melancholic “Theme and Variations,” and the virtuosic “Valse.”

Mesa captivated audiences with Benjamin Britten’s “Nocturnal for Solo Guitar, Op. 70.” Regarded as one of the foundations of the classical guitar repertoire, the nine-movement piece exuded a haunting aura.

The second concert featured a duet by outstanding guitarists Sixto Carlos and Arthur Eskine Basilio for the first segment. The second part was a performance by soprano Elisanta Cortes accompanied by Ruben Reyes.

The concert ended with Manuel de Falla’s seven-movement piece, “Siete Canciones Populares.”

The festival was concluded by a large ensemble concert featuring popular pieces such as Johann Pachelbel’s “Kanon” and Carlo Domenicon’s “Malmatina” rendered by the UST Guitar Quartet and the UST Guitar Ensemble. A. A. Dimatera and Marianne S. Lastra

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