Praised as “the soul of the Spanish guitar,” Pablo Sáinz Villegas has become a worldwide sensation known as this generation’s great guitarist. With his “virtuosic playing characterized by irresistible exuberance” as described by The New York Times, his interpretations conjure the passion, playfulness, and drama of his homeland’s rich musical heritage. Villegas performs Tuesday, October 3 at 8:00 p.m. at the Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville.
Villegas is known for his emotive and open-hearted playing, whether he is performing at intimate recital halls, or playing with beloved tenor, Plácido Domingo, to an audience of over 85,000 at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid, where Mr. Domingo hailed him as “the master of the guitar.”
The guitar was brought by the Spaniards to the New World during the colonial period and Villegas takes audiences on a world journey that combines the emotions of sensual Brazilian music, the nostalgic tango, vivid Venezuelan rhythms, and even colorful American bluegrass.
According to the San Francisco Classical Voice, Villegas’s playing is characterized by “subtlety, passion, technical command, and dramatic flair.” His combination of soul and skill have afforded him a place on some of the world’s most prestigious stages such as Carnegie Hall in New York, the Philharmonie in Berlin, and most recently at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. As a recording artist, Billboard Magazine recently named him “the global ambassador of Spanish guitar” after his latest solo album, Americano, quickly made its debut to the top 15 on their charts under the PIAS | Harmonia Mundi USA label. Pablo is now an exclusive Sony recording artist.
Born in La Rioja in Northern Spain, Villegas was inspired to take guitar lessons at age six and gave his first performance at just seven years old. He went on to graduate at the top of his class at every school and university he attended. Over the years, he has garnered an impressive collection of more than 30 international awards, including the Segovia award which he won at age 15 and the coveted Gold Medal at the Inaugural Parkening International Guitar Competition. After receiving his Doctorate at the Manhattan School of Music, he has continued to live in New York City while traveling the world.
After wrapping up a thriving 2015-2016 season, including a performance on a floating stage on the Amazon River with Plácido Domingo, the 2017-2018 season is taking Villegas to many new places, including his stop in Asheville. Villegas’ other concerts throughout the United States will include his debut at Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra at the Millennium Park in Chicago, Napa Valley’s Lincoln Center, and South Miami-Dade Cultural Center. He will also travel to Oslo, and be featured on the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, and to Orquesta de Minería in Mexico City.
Villegas continuously searches for ways to communicate with young audiences and to inspire them with music. A born communicator, the guitarist explains: “Music is among things we cannot touch and that is what makes it most powerful.” Over the last decade, he has created projects that bring music beyond the performance halls, reaching more than 15,000 children and youth through volunteering his time, establishing music programs, visiting schools and creating unique community activities around the globe. His efforts have granted him invitations to play for both the Dalai Lama and the Spanish Royal Family.
Pablo Sáinz Villegas’ October 3 performance at the Diana Wortham Theatre is made possible by Mainstage Music Series Sponsors Bank of America, JAG Construction, Merrill Lynch, Mosaic Realty, Signarama, Henry LaBrun, and Dianne & David Worley; with additional support from Media Sponsors The Laurel of Asheville magazine and BPR/WCQS 88.1 FM.
The Diana Wortham Theatre is located at 18 Biltmore Avenue. The intimate theatre seats just over 500 and boasts exceptional acoustics and sightlines, making it the premier performance space in Western North Carolina. The Mainstage Series 2017/2018 Season Sponsors are 67 Biltmore Downtown Eatery & Catering, the Asheville Citizen-Times, Blue Moon Water, Buncombe County TDA, Creative Energy, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Renaissance Asheville Hotel.
For more information on the October 3, 2017 performance by Pablo Sáinz Villegas at the Diana Wortham Theatre (Regular $35; Student $30; Child $20; Student Rush, day-of-the-show with valid I.D. $10), call the theatre’s box office at (828) 257-4530 or visit www.dwtheatre.com.