Internationally Known Orchestra Plays MC

Original: April 26, 2011 Issue 15

By: Tim Stewart

Staff Writer


19 guitarists perform on stage for audience
Orquesta de Guitarras de Barcelona (Guitar Orchestra of Barcelona) delivered a magical performance to a full house April 18 at the Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center at Montgomery College. Segi Vicente, founder and director of the group, was accompanied by 19 of Spain’s most gifted guitarists in delighting the diverse crowd. Vicente’s first stroke of magic was “Danza de las Hachas,” composed by Gaspar Sanz. From that point on, the pace and tempo was masterfully controlled by Vicente. Touched by the sounds of Orquesta de Guitarras de Barcelona, fans flocked to purchase their self-titled CD and DVD during intermission.

The lights dimmed once again as the orchestra put on a magnificent display of a piece by composer Manuel De Falla.

“I am big fan of Manuel De Falla and have spent many years studying De Falla’s life and work,” said Vicente. At one point, two amazing classical Spanish dancers who played castanets and filled the room with energy, accompanied the orchestra.

“The dancers were magnificent,” said Konrad Noben-Trauth, a guitar student at Montgomery College. “The show was fabulous,” said Noben-Trauth who plans to follow Orquesta de Guitarras de Barcelona’s work.

“I am very happy with the group, we are all friends,” said Maite Rubio, the concert master who has been with the orchestra for 15 years.

“The music flourishes. It’s so natural,” said Rubio. With their chemistry on stage, every string plucked evoked a feeling of dancing in the streets of Barcelona, with wine flowing and smiling people.

Ticket prices were $30 for regular admission and $28 for seniors and students. It was well worth it as Vicente and Orquesta de Guitarras de Barcelona played three encores and received three standing ovations. With this being their last stop on their American tour, after nine concerts in two weeks, they will return to Spain. According to Vicente, the group averages 30 concerts a year.

Vicente formed an ensemble with eight of his students in late 1989, with the intention of enriching their academic studies. In time, the ensemble became more ambitious and developed into the 25-chair guitar orchestra it is today. So far, more than 70 guitarists have passed through the orchestra’s ranks, many of whom go on to impressive careers as soloists.

The orchestra recorded their first CD, “Orquestra de Guitarres de Barcelona,” in 2001. The CD received enthusiastic praise from both the public and the press. A self-titled DVD of the ensemble performing at Palau is distributed by Sony Classical in Europe.

Orquesta de Guitarras de Barcelona plan to release a new album by July comprised of original work, certainly worth a listen after Vicente and Orquesta de Guitarras de Barcelona put on a magical performance well deserving of a standing ovation.