Esteban captivates audience with passion and romance |

Esteban captivates audience with passion and romance

Kimberly Nicoletti

BRECKENRIDGE – The most moving music is often born out of hardship. Just when guitarist Esteban gained nearly everything he’d dreamed of musically, he lost it when he was severely injured in a car accident. Now, two decades later, his passionate music captivates audiences, and his albums consistently top the Billboard charts.

Esteban grew up as Stephen Paul in Pittsburgh. He fell in love with the guitar at age 9 and dreamed of studying with Andres Segovia. He spent two years in the early 1970s sending notes, which read, “My life is meaningless unless I study with you,” to every hotel where the renowned classical guitarist stayed. However, he never signed his name.

Then, in 1973, he snatched his roommate’s messenger uniform and bluffed his way into Segovia’s Los Angeles hotel room during a tour. With his guitar stashed under the stairwell, he revealed he was the anonymous note sender and asked simply, “Maestro, can I play for you?” A year later, Segovia accepted him as a student and named him Esteban, Spanish for Stephen.

“(He taught me) every note is not just an exercise in mechanics,” Esteban said. “Every note is an exercise of the heart and a combination of feeling and expression. You play every note from within rather than from the outside.”

After Esteban spent five years perfecting his craft, a drunken driver hit him, leaving him blind in one eye and unable to feel his left hand. When traditional music didn’t heal his spinal injury, he turned to alternative medicine, and 10 years later, after extensive emotional and physical healing, his nerve damage healed, allowing him to play again with new fervor.

“When you come from a real hard place like that … a special kind of spiritual thing happens to you,” Esteban said. “The music comes from that special, deep place in your heart. When I pick up that guitar, I give tribute to my ability to come back from a very, very deep place.”

His big break came in 1999 when a shopping-network merchandiser heard him play at the Hyatt in Atlanta and convinced him to sell CDs on television. His first appearance on QVC – at 1 a.m. midweek – drove late-night watchers to buy his music, and within six appearances, he sold more than 50,000 albums.

Since then he has appeared on hundreds of television and radio shows nationally and was named top new age artist by Billboard Magazine in 2000. His albums and performances blend the classic style Segovia taught him with jazz, classic rock, flamenco, love songs and middle Eastern music.

“It’s a mosaic of music from all walks of life,” he said, “a journey through musical time.”

Advance tickets are $22, $24 day of the show, and may be purchased by calling (970) 547-3100. For more information about Esteban, visit his Web site at

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User