Living in the land of guitar music |

Living in the land of guitar music

Mike McKibbin
Colorado Mountain College
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
The Santa Fe Guitar Quartet L-R: Chris Dorsey, Eric Slavin, Mariano Fontana, Miguel Piva will perform two concerts at Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs - Spring Valley and Aspen. Photo Diana Molina

A love of guitars and the music of Latin America have united two North Americans and two Argentines since 1989.

The Santa Fe Guitar Quartet from Santa Fe, Argentina, has been lauded and applauded at sold-out houses throughout North and South America, including Lincoln Center and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.

“We all went to Argentina to study with the guitar masters,” said group member Eric Slavin. “I was in graduate school at the time in Washington, D.C., and had arranged to spend three months in Argentina. I ended up staying six years and just figured living in the land of guitar music and studying with these masters would be more of an education than I could get in grad school.”

In South America, Slavin studied guitar with Abel Carlevaro and Guido Santorsola. Mariano Fontana, Miguel Piva and Chris Dorsey were also studying the guitar at the same time; the four musicians eventually formed the Santa Fe quartet.

“I think, in the back of all our minds, we wanted to do something new with the guitar,” Slavin said. “So we ended up playing some classical guitar pieces, some tango and some rhythms.”

For two days in mid-March, the innovative guitar ensemble will perform their repertoire, which ranges from Baroque works to modern tangos, at two Colorado Mountain College campuses. Slavin said the music never gets old.

“No matter how many times we perform a piece, there are subtle differences,” he said.

Their full sound is said to be similar to a small string orchestra, and was praised by the Washington Post as “big, warm, round and clear.” In 1997, the Argentinean Institute for Excellence (Instituto Argentino de la Excelencia) awarded the Santa Fe Guitar Quartet the prestigious First Prize of Excellence.

The March 16 concert is underwritten by Liz Armstrong and honors Hal Sundin. The March 17 concert is underwritten by Charles Cunniffe Architects and honors the late Henry and Jessica Catto. Both concerts are presented by the CMC ArtShare program and CMC Foundation.

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