On September 11, Pablo Villegas kicks off the new season with the international release of Americano, which marks his first recording on the Harmonia Mundi label. To celebrate this debut, the charismatic Spanish guitarist performs selections from the new recording at Joe’s Pub in New York City on Tuesday, September 29, and upcoming Americano showcases in other cities will be announced shortly. Produced by two-time Grammy Award-winner Adam Abeshouse, Americano takes listeners on a musical journey through the myriad guitar traditions of the New World. Highlights include music from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, preludes by Brazilian master Heitor Villa-Lobos, the popular standard Granada by Mexico’s Agustín Lara, original bluegrass arrangements, Roland Dyens’s beloved Tango en Skaï, and the world premiere recording of Rounds, the first composition for guitar by five-time Academy Award-winner John Williams. (Click here to learn more about Americano, and see full track listing below.)
It was Villegas who first premiered Rounds in live performance; Williams comments:
“I feel privileged in having Pablo Villegas do the world premiere recording of Rounds. Also, it’s very exciting to see the appreciation of his exquisite artistry growing worldwide. It is a recognition that he so richly deserves!”
In the coming season, Villegas makes no fewer than seven orchestral debuts. For his first appearances with the Pacific, Grand Rapids, Hawaii, and Cincinnati Symphonies, he plays Rodrigo’s Fantasía para un gentilhombre, which is also the vehicle for his returns to the Pittsburgh and Oregon Symphonies, following triumphant debuts with both last season. It is with Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez – a signature work – that the guitarist makes his debut with Norway’s Bergen Philharmonic and returns to Alabama’s Mobile Symphony, where he pairs Rodrigo’s masterpiece with Concierto Popular do Rio, which was written for him by Grammy Award-winner Sérgio Assad; the Classical Guitar Review pronounced his world premiere performance of the new concerto at the Guitar Foundation of America Convention one of the “Top 10 Guitawesomest Events of 2015.” For debuts with the Edmonton and Santa Barbara Symphonies, Villegas plays Elmer Bernstein’s Guitar Concerto, and to round out the season he reunites with violinist Augustin Hadelich and pianist Joyce Yang to reprise their critically lauded “Tango, Song, and Dance” program in a pair of recitals in California.