Havana Pays Tribute to Guitar

(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Havana.- Every other year, Havana pays tribute to
the guitar, that wonderful and generous instrument which combines harmony and
melody. On Saturday, the latest edition of an event that began in 1982 with a
series of Festival-Contests rooted in Cuban music life, opened in the Cuban
capital. Founded and directed by Leo Brouwer, one of the world’s most important
living guitar composers, the Festival enlists renowned professors and national
and foreign guitarists. Havana guitar lovers take part in the lectures,
colloquiums, exhibits and concerts, which satisfy the most demanding audiences
and musicians. The contestants in the 12th International Leo Brouwer Guitar
Festival-Contest face hard tests, some obligatory and some optional, but all of
great technical complexity. The list of distinguished past participants includes
John Williams, Costas Cotsiolis,
de Lucía
, Jesus Ortega,
Robert Aussel, Alirio Diaz,

Vicente Amigo
, Ichiro Suzuki, Pepe Romero, Eliot
Fisk, Timo Korhonen, Pavel Steidl, Garreth Walter, Clerch, Alvaro Pierri, Eli
Kassner, Shin-Ichi Fukuda, Victor Pellegrini, Paolo Paolini, Eduardo Fernandez
and Guitar Quartet. Talented guitarist Robert Vidal commented: “Leo’s influence
has been like a lighthouse, a center of attention to concentrate in Havana
guitarists from so many countries
.” For his part, virtuoso Costas Cotsiolis
said, “I think the contest and festival, if not the best of the world, is, at
least, one of the most important. Celebrities of famous prestige and artistic
authorities in the guitar are here, Leo Brouwer is here
.” In that same line of
thinking, specialist Juan Helguera stated: “It is a biennial festival that
awakens our support, admiration and sympathy, and shows the moral strength of
the country organizing it
.” The draw took place Saturday, followed by the first
test Sunday. The second and third rounds are set for Tuesday and Wednesday. The
awards ceremony is scheduled for Friday May 14. Many of the past edition’s 36
winners are now world guitar greats.

[Photo: Paco de Lucia].