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Live music: Classic guitar duo returns to its birthplace

by Cyndi Palmer
Sky-Hi Daily News

The Grand County Concert Series presents its first winter concert of the 2007 season with master guitarists Masakazu Ito and Jeff LaQuatra and tickets are going fast.

Ito and LaQuatra return to Grand County for the second year to delight audiences with their enchanting classical guitar duets.

Ito said, in a way, GCCS was responsible for the birth of the “Ito-LaQuatra Duo.” Last year, President Joyce Engel expressed interest in having multiple guitars in this year’s concert and he “immediately thought of Jeff.”

“GCCS has a great following with a very sophisticated audience,” he said. “We were lucky in the sense that people liked us enough to bring us back for the second consecutive year. Plus, how can we not come back to our birthplace?”

Ito appears with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and is an international award-winning artist. He is “recognized as one of today’s top guitarists, acclaimed by musicians, composers, conductors and critics for his mastery of the instrument and its repertoire.”

“He has it all,” said guitarist Ricardo Iznaola. “Virtuosity, musicality and flair. He is certainly a name to watch.”

Ito’s solo career is notable for including works by Japanese composers such as Takemitsu, Yoshimatsu and Yocoh; but he is also an admirer of guitar music from Spain.

LaQuatra has been described by Classical Guitar Magazine as “a guitarist of enormous talent, both musically and technically.”

He divides his time equally as a performer and teacher and appears regularly as a soloist and as a member of various chamber music ensembles.

The duo will perform works by classical and modern composers, consisting of works written by such composers as Johannes Brahms, Astor Piazzolla, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Paulo Bellinati.

“It really is a great lineup and if this concerts wouldn’t succeed, it’s on us,” Ito said. “We just want everybody to have a great time and come away happy (and bring us back next year.”

Individual tickets are available at the door for $15 for adults, and $8 for students.

Share in the growing popularity of classical music in the county by becoming a member. The Grand County Concert Series is a volunteer nonprofit 501(c)3 organization helping to bring world-class performers to the county. The season ticket cost of $70 for seven concerts is a deal, even if you cannot attend every concert.

Future concerts include the Arundo Winds Quintet Dec. 7 and the Rodriguez-Vega Duo Jan. 25, 2008.

The group also hosts complimentary receptions after each concert at the Church of The Eternal Hills in Tabernash and offers outreach programs for local students.

In addition to season tickets, music lovers may make donations to support the concert series and receive season tickets and tax deductions at three different levels. To order tickets and make donations, send checks payable to Grand County Concert Series or GCCS to P.O. Box 576, Tabernash, CO 80478. Include your name, address, city, state and zip code, as well as a telephone number and e-mail address. All tickets may be picked up at the door on concert evenings.

For more information call Joyce Engel at (970) 726-9669, Mairi Nelson at (970) 726-5015, Helen Williams at (970) 887-3005, or visit http://www.grand-countyconcertseries.org.


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