Before Esteban became Esteban, he was a Pittsburgh kid named Stephen Paul, a steelworker’s son who discovered the guitar at the age of 3, when his uncle played a classical guitar record “through his big stereo system.”
Esteban has topped the Billboard charts many times with his numerous albums, videos and DVDs and has had first-time music history successes never before accomplished by any guitarist. He has been on the front page of the Wall Street Journal for his famous appearances and record-setting album sales on Home Shopping Network and QVC. The guitarist will perform at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center on Saturday, Aug. 23.
Flamenco and more
While studying in Spain with Andres Segovia, one of the greatest guitarists of all time and major contributor to the modern-romantic repertoire, Esteban immersed himself in the local flamenco clubs. From his experiences, he creates a truly unique style that has brought him accolades from around the world. Esteban’s passion and explosive style of playing is a must-see live, and accompanied by his daughter, violinist Teresa Joy, they weave a beautiful mosaic of music from their hearts to yours.
“What I’m doing is introducing a lot of love in my performance, and half the time I don’t even know what I’m going to do up there. So (laughs) the secret’s out,” he says in a post on the Kats Report Blog. “I don’t even rehearse with the band. I mean, I’ll do a basic rehearsal, just to get a format down. But I improvise 50 percent of the show. I just let it be guided, just let it happen. It can get very magical.”
Esteban would have kept playing solely classical flamenco if not for a near-death experience in 1980, when he was 32 years old and a renowned classical artist. While living in Phoenix and driving his mother home from the airport, a drunken driver heading the wrong direction on a one-way street slammed head-on into him. The guitarist suddenly couldn’t play. He suffered nerve damage in his spine, left arm and left hand. The reason he wears mask-like sunglasses today is for the loss of vision in his left eye.
He slowly regained his health and diversified his style, which he describes as, “from Bach to rock. Six thousand years ago, man wrote his first scale, and I have a copy of that. I took it and wrote a song out of it, so I’ll be performing music from 6,000 years ago up to today.”
Joy, a talented violinist, will join Esteban onstage. Since 2004, she has toured the country and performed live on television with Esteban, notably in the PBS Special “Flame Flamenco and Romance.” She has also recorded more than a dozen albums with Esteban, charting more than 100 times on the Billboard in various categories.
Also playing at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center on select dates from Thursday, Aug. 28, through Saturday, Sept. 6 is “Shrek the Musical.” Featuring a cast of 45 professional actors and enthusiastic amateurs ranging in age from 6 to 60, this is the annual Labor Day extravaganza. Henry Award winner TJ Hogle takes on the role of Shrek. Carolyn Lohr, of last summer’s sell-out “Avenue Q” is Princess Fiona.
Both of these events are fundraisers for the Breckenridge Backstage Theatre. In May 2015, the theater is getting an extensive upgrade, including an expanded lobby, more seating and a raised roof. Attendance at these events helps support the theater while it is “on the move” during the six to nine-month construction period.
“What I’m doing is introducing a lot of love in my performance, and half the time I don’t even know what I’m going to do up there. So (laughs) the secret’s out.”