World-class guitarist to perform in Breckenridge |

World-class guitarist to perform in Breckenridge

Aniello Desiderio is a wildly gifted musician and one of the strongest interpretive voices on the classical guitar. He has performed around the world extensively as a soloist and chamber musician, leaving critics and audiences in awe throughout Europe, Asia, North and South America, and Southeast Asia. His performances include many prestigious venues, including Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Konzerthouse in Vienna and Mercadante in Naples. In 2014 he toured America, and made his debut at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Desiderio will perform a classical guitar concert at the Riverwalk Center this Saturday, July 29 at 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit
Courtesy Breckenridge Music Festival |

The renowned classical guitarist Aniello Desiderio makes his Colorado debut at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge on Saturday, July 29, where he will solo with the Breckenridge Music Festival orchestra under the baton of the festival’s highly acclaimed artistic advisor, David Danzmayr.

Widely considered “one of the strongest interpretive voices on the classical guitar,” the Italian virtuoso guitarist began performing at age 8, and has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician with many of the best orchestras in the world, making his U.S. debut in 2014 at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Known for his creative interpretations, Desiderio spent many years working with the Cuban guitarist, conductor and composer Leo Brouwer.

“He told me once, ‘the work of the composer is finished when he writes the last note; then you start your own work,’” Desiderio said. “I always try to put into the pieces my own interpretation because I cannot imagine playing without using my culture, experience, life, et cetera.”

Danzmayr was eager to invite Desiderio to Breckenridge after playing with him in Europe, and because classical guitar is less often heard by Breckenridge audiences.

The July 29 concert will feature Brouwer’s “Tres Danzas Concertantes,” Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” and Shubert’s “Symphony No. 3 in D Major” after intermission. The concerto, in particular, strikes a chord with Desiderio, who recounted an early memory in which his father played him two vinyl LP’s — Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” and “Concierto de Aranjuez” — and told him to choose between them. At 6 years old, he chose the concerto.

Desiderio returns to the stage on Aug. 1 for a second Breckenridge performance — this time to the Breckenridge Theater on Ridge Street for a chamber concert entitled “Tango and Fandango” with concertmaster Nathan Olson on violin, accompanied by a second violin, viola, cello and flute.

“Aniello offered to do a chamber concert to collaborate with some of our musicians in a more intimate performance,” said Tamara Nuzzaci Park, executive director of the Breckenridge Music Festival, which has been branching out to smaller venues to provide audiences with unique, personal experiences as part of its new strategic direction. “That’s a lot of talent in a small room,” she said.

The Aug. 1 program starts with a transcription of the Argentinian composer Piazzolla’s “Histoire du Tango” for violin and guitar, comprised of movements telling the history of tango from a bordello in 1900 to a café in 1930 and a nightclub in 1960, explained Michael Linville, who teamed with Kathryn Hatmaker to program the concert.

Both Linville and Hatmaker took on the shared role of artistic partners of chamber music last year as part of the BMF’s move to decentralize artistic programming and make better use of its musicians’ expertise.

Linville, who has been a pianist with the BMF for 24 years, also serves as dean of chamber music at the New World Symphony in Miami; violinist Hatmaker runs her own music organization in San Diego called Art of Élan.

The partners programmed “Tango and Fandango” in keeping with the loose thematic thread around dance in classical music that ties the 2017 festival together.

“A lot of our programming this year draws attention to the inherent relationship between dance and music; the music is like a heartbeat, that rhythmic pulse live musicians provide to dancers,” Park explained.

The concert continues with selections from “Romeo and Juliet” for flute and guitar, followed by Bartok’s “Romanian Dances” transcribed for violin and guitar, and concluding with Boccherini’s “Fandango,” a quintet for guitar and strings.

“Bartok was one of the first pioneers in collecting folk music, starting in his own country of Hungary, from which he went on to Romania and Bulgaria,” Linville said. “He would go into small towns and take these themes — these folks songs — and incorporate them into his own music with his own language. That was the beginning of the nationalist movement of the 20th century, which is about celebrating the uniqueness of each country’s culture.”

“Guitar tends to be an instrument of folk music around world,” he added, noting that it can also be used in an abstract way. “There’s something melancholy about guitar when it’s being melodic, but when it’s strummed it has a percussive quality. You can be a guitarist and a driver of rhythm.”

Desiderio says he feels “lucky” when he’s playing guitar. “By playing the instrument, it gives you the possibilities to express what you have inside without using words,” he said.

He looks forward to the upcoming concerts “because it is always a big pleasure to play with other musicians,” and also for the opportunity to reunite with Danzmayr. “We really have an incredible connection and similar feelings for the music,” he said.

Danzmayr’s other upcoming concerts — including “Serenade for Strings” on July 27 and “All Mozart” on Aug. 5 — make use of the dance motif with pieces such as Marquez’ “Danzón No. 2,” Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade in C. Major, Op. 48” and the overture to Mozart’s ballet, “The Abduction From The Seraglio.”

The July 27 concert also features harpist Elizabeth Hainen, a longtime guest artist with the Breckenridge Music Festival who also happens to be one of Park’s colleagues from her days with The Philadelphia Orchestra. Hainen, her husband David DePeters — who now serves as executive director for the National Repertory Orchestra — and Park all started their careers together in the Washington, D.C., area, before moving on to Philadelphia and eventually Breckenridge.

“It is a privilege to draw on such a talented, tight-knit community of musicians and conductors in order to deliver an outstanding slate of performances for our audiences,” said Park. “We are particularly thrilled to be able to host the Colorado debut of Aniello Desiderio right here in Breckenridge.”

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