In Classical Guitar Program, Aperio Beautifully Blends the Old and New

In Classical Guitar Program, Aperio Beautifully Blends the Old and New

Alejandro Montiel and Isaac Bustos (photo by Lynn Lane)

HOUSTON’S NEW-MUSIC stalwarts Aperio, Music of the Americas distinguished itself in its early years by tracking down and performing the music of North Central and South American composers who engaged in musical dialogue across and beyond their respective geographies. Now in its 18th season, Aperio continues that spirit of innovation and cross-cultural conversation with Strings and Hammers, a concert of contemporary and modern music by Latin American composers for various and unusual combinations of (unplugged) guitar, violin, cello, and piano. Strings and Hammers takes place on Jan. 26 at Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (MATCH). If you love the classical guitar, this is a can’t-miss concert.


The program includes three contemporary works: Brazilian American composer Clarice Assad’s Three Sketches for two guitars and violin; Mexico City-born composer Samuel Zyman’s expansive and panoramic Suite para dos cellos y dos guitarras; and the world premiere of Argentinian composer Pablo Borras’s Four Pieces for guitar and piano. All three composers blend musical elements drawn from their respective homelands with popular musical styles, including jazz, and contemporary compositional techniques. Complementing these recent works is Manuel María Ponce Cuéllar’s 1926 composition Sonata for Guitar and Harpsichord, which is often performed on guitar and piano, and blends the impressionistic harmonies Ponce encountered while studying in Paris, with contrapuntal lines that evoke the music of the Baroque era. Fans of Ponce’s music should know Houston is home to The Ponce Project, which was founded by pianist Omar Herrera in 2019 to perform the repertoire of modern, Latin American composers, including Ponce, who was Herrera’s great-grandfather.

Performing all of this varied and challenging repertoire are guitarists Isaac Bustos and Alejandro Montiel, both masters of the instrument. They are joined by violinist Sasha Callahan, cellists David Dietz and Daniel Saenz, and pianist and Aperio president and artistic director Michael Zuraw.

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