Spanish Classical Guitarist Pablo Sainz Villegas to Perform at Smothers Theatre

January 31, 2017  | 2 min read

The gold medalist at the inaugural Parkening International Guitar Competition, Spanish classical guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas will return to Smothers Theatre in Malibu on Thursday, February 2, at 8 PM.

Villegas has become a worldwide sensation known as this generation’s great guitarist whose interpretations conjure the passion, playfulness, and drama of his homeland’s rich musical heritage. Villegas is known for his emotive and openhearted playing—whether he is performing at intimate recital halls, or playing to an audience of over 85,000 at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid.

Routinely drawing comparisons with such legendary exponents of his instrument as Andrés Segovia, Villegas has already appeared on some of the world’s most prestigious stages, such as Carnegie Hall in New York, the Berliner Philharmonie in Germany, and most recently at the Concertgebouw in the Netherlands.

Known for a sound so rich and full that it does not need amplification, his concerto performances regularly inspire new invitations and immediate reengagements as a featured soloist with orchestras in more than 30 countries. He made a series of important debuts under the baton of Frühbeck de Burgos, and has enjoyed fruitful collaborations with conductors including Juanjo Mena, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Carlos Kalmar, Micheal Francis, Gustavo Gimeno, and Cristian Macelaru.

At just 15 years old, Villegas won the Andrés Segovia Award, launching a succession of international wins. The first guitarist to win El Ojo Crítico, Spain’s top classical music honor, Villegas has since performed for both the Dalai Lama and the Spanish royal family, and it was he who gave the world premiere of “Rounds”—the first composition for guitar by five-time Academy Award-winner John Williams.

In 2015 Villegas released his solo album Americano, which marked his debut on the Harmonia Mundi label. Exploring the multiple guitar traditions of the New World from tango to bluegrass, this colorfully eclectic selection features the world premiere recording of Williams’s “Rounds;” music from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story; preludes by Brazilian master Heitor Villa-Lobos; and the popular standard “Granada” by Mexico’s Agustin Lara.

Born in 1977 in La Rioja in Northern Spain, Villegas was inspired to take guitar lessons after seeing Segovia on television. He gave his first public performance at just seven years old, and went on to graduate at the top of his class at the Royal Conservatoire in Madrid. In 2001, after several years in Germany, he relocated to New York City, where he studied for his master’s and doctorate degrees with David Starobin at Manhattan School of Music.

Sponsored by Ellen and Doug Weitman, Villegas' performance at Pepperdine University will focus on this Americana material, which is a beautiful mix of both familiar and new works to the American ear.

Ticket prices range between $10 and $40, and are required for attendance. For additional information about the performance, and to purchase tickets, visit the Center for the Arts page on the Pepperdine University website.

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