The Providence International Plucked String Festival
June 18-20, 2004

A Celebration of Plucked String Music from Around the World

 

Jonathan "Juanito" Pascual has been called "one of the greatest American flamenco guitarists." He is a multifaceted guitarist, composer, and teacher who has performed in styles ranging from jazz and blues, to classical guitar, klezmer, as well as flamenco.

Based in Boston, Juanito tours frequently throughout the U.S. and has played for most of the country's major flamenco dance companies including those of Omayra Amaya, Ramon de los Reyes, Jose Greco II, Carlota Santana, La Repompa de Málaga, Inés Arrubla, and Susana di Palma. He has performed in major festivals around the country including the 2003 Tanglewood Jazz Festival, (broadcast live on NPR, National Public Radio), Festival Flamenco Internacional in Albuquerque, Yale's International Festival of Arts and Ideas, and New York City's Fringe Festival. As a soloist he has performed in venues including Boston's Museum of Fine Arts as a featured artist in their Art of the Guitar concert series in 2000 and has been seen and heard nationally on a variety of TV and radio programs including NPR's "Here and Now".

He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Contemporary Improvisation from New England Conservatory where he graduated with honors in 1997, and was Second Prize winner in the 1996 New England Classical guitar Competition.

Juanito first picked up the guitar at age eleven discovering flamenco music at age fifteen. This led him to Spain the following year where he was immeresed in the flamenco culture, studying with teachers including Adam del Monte, Parilla de Jerez, Manolo Sanlucar, and El Entri. While at NEC Juanito's teachers included classical guitarists David Leisner and Eliot Fisk and jazz guitarist Gene Bertoncini. Most recently, he has been mentored by the Boston based maestro Dimitri Goryachev.

In addition to a busy performance schedule, Juanito is very active as an educator, both as private instructor in the Boston area, as well as lecturer/performer, giving frequent presentations and workshops at colleges and schools throughout the country. As a teacher he is devoted to the pursuit of guitar as a means to reveal each individual's unique musical and personal potential, and to sharing the beauty, spirituality, and expressive power of the art of flamenco.

In 2003 Juanito completed his first CD "Cosas en Común" of all original flamenco compositions. The work is receiving critical acclaim and frequent radio play in the US. and abroad. In addition to touring with his group Juanito is currently collaborating on numerous other projects including a multimedia production with music by composer Shirish Korde, a guitar concerto with composer Lior Navok, and the chamber opera by Osvoldo Golijov which premiered the summer of 2003 at Tanglewood, with performances in the 2003-4 season at Lincoln Center and with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has recently co-composed and performed his first film score, for an animated short film about Southern Spain.

"One of the hottest flamenco guitarists to emerge in recent years" - National Public Radio

"One of the greatest American flamenco guitarists." Inés Arrubla, flamenco dancer, choreographer.

"...these guys rocked...when the musicians engaged in impassioned crossfire, the heat index broke all records." - The Village Voice

"A flamenco phenom....a rising star of the Spanish guitar form" -The Boston Globe

"...one of the bright young lights of the flamenco scene." -Boston Phoenix

"It is always a pleasure to hear Juanito Pascual perform" Flamenco USA

 

La Conja, one of Flamencos most versatile artists, has developed a substantial reputation for her startling ability and fire as a dancer, singer and a choreographer. Charles Jurrist of Daily News described her as a mesmerizing singer and demon dancer, and indeed, her dancing illustates a show of force which is Flamencos essence. Given her multicultural background (an American born of Egyptian parents with a Turkish surname) it is no wonder La Conja has so naturally melded both Arab and Indian musical disciplines into her work. Her masterful syntheses illustrate not only the unique and progressive directions of Conja's art form but also the essential Flamenco core. She weaves flamenco music and dance together with original music and movement to reveal classic forms. As such she has been widely acclaimed, both nationally and internationally, for her unique music and dance genre.

Together with her company Mimbre y Vareta, she toured India extensively in 1998 with acclaimed Indian dancers and singers in Flamenco Natyam. She also performed at the prestigious Guggenheim Work and Process Series, in a mosaic of Indian and Flamenco dance. In collaboration with New Yorks World Music Institute she created an inventive project, Andalucian Legacies, with such Arab music greats as the Ali Jihad Racy Ensemble. The unique collaboration was lauded at the shows premieres in Los Angeles, New York, Ashland, Oregon, and Philadelphia.

She has toured nationally and internationally with such artists as Jose Molina and Jose Greco featured as solo dancer, and has also appeared at Lincoln Center with Sarita Montiel.She recorded La Reina del Nilo and was featured Flamenco dancer and singer in the musical Matador produced by CBS Records.

As a choreographer her works have been premiered at The Teatro Albeniz in Madrid, Spain, The Joyce Theater in New York, Dance Theater Workshop and the Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Concert Series.

...The dancing of La Conja is artfully woven together with a powerful musical element to make an impressive debut.

Nefretete Rasheed, Attitude: The Dancers Magazine

...to watch La Conja move about the stage in flowing rhythmic traveling steps was comparable to hearing a single word drawn out luxuriously...

Jennifer Dunning, The New York Times

...a mesmerizing singer and a demon dancer.

Charles Jurrist, The Daily News

 

Gonzalo Grau comes from a very strong musical legacy. He began his musical studies at the age of five in Caracas, developing skills in many instruments. He has played with some of the most recognized artists of his country, has recorded over forty CD's, and has played in some of the most important theaters world wide.

In 1995, Gonzalo was awarded with a scholarship at Berklee College of Music, where he graduated in 1998 with the mention Summa Cum Laude as a Piano Performance Major. He began playing flamenco in 1997, working with flamenco dancer Omayra Amaya and guitarist Pedro Cortes. Since then he has played with some of the best flamenco artist, including Joaquin Encinias, La Conja, Chuscales, Juanito Pascual, Jesus Montoya, Jose Fernandez, Joaquin Escudero, Antonio Granjero, Olivia Rojo and Lluvia Flamenca, Rosa Mercedes, El Junco, Susana de Palma and Zorongo Flamenco, Rojo Flamenco, Pasion y Arte, Nelida Tirado, among others.

In June of 2002 and 2003, Eva Encinias and the National Institute of Flamenco invited Gonzalo to direct the opening concert of the Albuquerque Flamenco Festival with a "salsa-flamenco fusion" ensemble called Son y Soniquete. He also plays steadily with projects like Mango Blue, Golijov's Saint Marcus Passion, and leads his own project "La Timba Loca". Gonzalo Grau plays "La Peru" cajón by Schlagwerk Percussion.

 

For more information, email pmo@mandolin-orchestra.org.

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